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Marijuana as Usual

I have been a very strong believer in the legalization of marijuana for a few decades now. Back in my college days my friends and I would go to legalization rallies in Milwaukee to support the cause that was spearheaded by NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). It was always the same drill. The organizers would always say that smoking pot at the rally was completely verboten and, if you were stupid enough to bring any weed (even a seed), the cops would nab you. It’s basically the same idea as, “don’t jump into a shark pool covered in chum.” As a result, my friends and I would go to these rallies after basically putting ourselves through a group decontamination routine that would make the CDC proud. The rally would start and the first five things the people on the outdoor stage would say (again) would be, “If anyone has any pot, leave and, no matter what, do not light up.” But we would look around and half the crowd looked like the cast of Barney Miller and the other half had many fast times at Ridgemont High and then graduated to Pineapple Express. Chum. Chum. Chum. Some dumbasses would light up and the feeding frenzy would ensue.

There’s an image burned in my brain of an undercover cop in a brown trench coat walking out from a line of trees with a camera that had a lens made for football stadiums and, strangely enough, matched the size of the shit-eating grin he was flashing at me as I watched dumbasses get arrested. Yeah, so somewhere in a police archive there’s some very awesome pics of me not getting arrested that I would like to see for nostalgia’s sake. It was also that day where I turned to my buddy and actually said something quasi-intelligent: “Legalization will have to evolve past dreadlocks and badges to bankers and boardrooms before anything positive will ever happen.” In that moment I removed myself from any hope that I would see something as completely logical as marijuana legalization in my lifetime.

Now it’s no secret that Colorado is implementing a ground-breaking legalization of marijuana that literally has brought worldwide attention to the state. While being extremely proud that the place I call home is populated with enough logical people that something as obviously needed by society as the legalization of marijuana has been voted in, I have been silent, wary and mistrusting of the whole situation—cop, brown trench coat, camera. That is, until two days ago, when I read a news story that caused my very jaded, hope-unencumbered, view on humanity to seasonally-Grinch-like grow three sizes.

No, it wasn’t the caroling of the Whos that delighted my brain. It was the bickering, jaw-wobbling and flip-flopping of politicians. From the Denver Post: “The Denver City Council made a surprise move Monday, reversing an earlier decision that would have banned smoking marijuana on private property if it was in public view.” The word “surprise” is a bit much because what really happened was that Denver’s finest realized that the law, if taken seriously, would be an incredible drain on the force. Imagine if a similar law was applied to drinking beer on front porches. “Denver Police Chief Robert White said it would be difficult to enforce and would be the department’s lowest priority.”

The police and politicians used non-reactionary logic in this reversal: it will cost too much and can’t be enforced worth a damn. Hey, it will reverse again — they’re politicians; it’s like being a pro-wrestler. But I actually think we might be making positive headway as a society. That Denver Post has even recently added a pot editor, Ricardo Baca, formerly a music and entertainment editor who founded Reverb. It’ll be either the best or most lampooned job in US journalism, according to the New York Times.

So here I sit writing this, completely unintentionally, on Repeal Day (80 years to the day when prohibition was repealed) as coffee shops, delivery services, dispensaries, travel agents, tourist traps and adult recreational consumers all await the licenses to be issued and January 1st to arrive for taxed, regulated, and legal marijuana. All to the yim-yammering and flim-flammering of the local politicians trying to straighten their little star on top of the tree before Christmas break. Not to mention all the businesses scrambling to trademark and market their brand in hopes of becoming the next Xerox, Kleenex, or Coca-Cola of weed. If I live long enough to see the Coors of weed sponsor a huge event center I will die giggling.

Marijuana is now business as usual. So, as long as the feds don’t send in the tanks, I will hold on to this completely non-THC-induced warm fuzzy I am experiencing for a while longer.

Have wonderful holidays.

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