OK... this might be a bit of a stretch for Q, Cheech is much more likely to have said, "Hey man, what's up?" - but I had to find some way to recognize the fact that today is 4/20, and here in Colorado, it's a bit of a big deal.
For those of you not "in the know" on these things, 4-20 is slang for marijuana culture. Why 4-20, you ask? I have no earthly idea, but ever since pot became legal here in Colorado, April 20th is practically a state wide holiday!
This year there was a bit of hub-bub over the big gatherings at Civic Center park. You might think that people were up in arms over the prospect of thousands of stoners gathering to smoke weed in public, but no - it was an issue of competing permits for the events, which basically boiled down to some deal about port-a-potties.
You know, it's been rather amazing the speed with which it's all been normalized. Seriously, the other day I turned on the local news and there was a story about a push to require testing of pot to ensure that it is free from mold and other contaminants, just like FDA testing of food items.
It's kinda like the earth has shifted on its axis or something - a few years ago they'd have been tossing pot smokers in jail and throwing away the keys, now they're stampeding to ensure their health and safety!
And while you might think that marijuana related crime was way up, that really hasn't been the case. There have, of course, been more citations given for smoking pot in public, and a few more for DUI, but marijuana DUI's still pale in comparison to the alcohol related ones. There has been a rash of burglaries at marijuana stores and grow houses, but that just seems a bit like an occupational hazard.
There is one brand new crime wave that took the Colorado Department of Transportation by surprise though. They were having a real problem with people stealing the 420 mile marker sign! Not kidding. Creativity prevailed though, and they came up with a solution.
|Seriously... this is real, not PhotoShopped|
There have also been a handful of idiots blowing up their houses by using butane to make hash oil. Sorta hard to blame the marijuana for that one though, since this sort of stuff really seems like it belongs in the Darwin Award category.
But the truly remarkable part about all of this is the lack of contentiousness with which the state legislature has dealt with it all. It's sorta like the people of Colorado stood up and decried that the emperor had no clothes.
And once that happened all of the polarizing political left vs right horse-pucky that has surrounded the issue of marijuana for soooo many years just fell away and people became downright reasonable.
Who'd a thunk it?
I guess it all gives me hope. I mean, regardless of what you think about legalized marijuana, the fact that a hot-potato issue like the war on drugs could be reduced to a rather hum-drum topic in such a short time tells me that once you get the emotional us vs. them BS out of the equation, we, as a society, really are capable of solving some of our problems.
In case you're curious, here are a few infographics with some statistics after a year of legal marijuana in Colorado:
So what do you think? Has marijuana (medical or recreational) been legalized where you live? Has your community seen any impacts, positive or negative? Should the federal government consider ending the marijuana prohibition? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic.