Upon my return to Colorado for the first time in a year, particular things became immediately apparent—more traffic, lots more, new construction from Broomfield to Castle Rock to Golden to Aurora creating swaths of freshly graded earth awaiting concrete, steel and environmentally responsible building materials. A trip down South Broadway for my long anticipated dispensary visit revealed a more vibrant and burgeoning scene of shops, restaurants, bars and musical venues than I had ever seen during my residence in the mountains southwest of Denver where I lived from 1991 until 2003. My impression was that legalization had created an economic engine unlike anything since the industrial revolution.
The new reality is that the Front Range (indeed the entire state) is carving an ecstatic bombing run straight down Pallavicini in deep pow. So, thank you Ganja growers and sellers—and thank you residents for your courage to exercise our constitutional freedom to vote and smoke legally. As a (now) non-resident, the ability to walk into a dispensary and choose from AK-47, Gucci, Doc OG, strains of Kush and Northern Lights brings on a Lewis Carrol deja-vu that I have followed Alice down the rabbit-hole and subsist in a delightful alternate universe where the once unthinkable is reality..
There were certain ironies during my stay—such as the roaming security at Red Rocks at the MMJ show hassling folks for smoking and tossing them from their seats. I went to dozens of shows at RR when weed was illegal and not once did I see security go Seal Team 6 on anyone that was discrete. A fishing trip to the North Fork of the South Platte below Deckers on a Saturday was replete with endless flotillas of tubers screaming and splashing through runs that 10 years ago were serene. Pick up your trash, folks—with freedom comes responsibility . . .
From an outsider’s perspective, Colorado has created a brave new world from a naturally occurring panacea tweaked by bio-genetic engineering, capitalism and the mandate of the people. Huxley said of the fictional drug Soma “It has all the advantages of Christianity and alcohol with none of the defects”. Somebody took the clue and named a strain of Indica after it although I am not so sure about what the advantages of Christianity or alcohol might be.
My take is that Colorado exemplifies the new paradigm—as an economic magnet for high-paying tech and service industry jobs attracting well-educated people whose diversity in belief, race and sexual preference is enhanced by the astounding beauty of the Rockies and Plains, the exploding arts community, social and environmental grass-roots advocacy, the advantages of a well-endowed tax base on both the state and local levels and perhaps most importantly, the awareness that its’ citizens have taken a major step in the evolution of democracy. In the words of Thomas Paine, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”