A reporter returns to his hometown and confronts the new reality of legalized marijuana.
By Marshall Allen
ProPublica, April 7, 2014
This story was co-published with The Cannabist
I walked through clouds of marijuana smoke Friday night to get to the Denver Nuggets basketball game.
The sweet smell lingering in the air reminded me less of a family event and more of the time I saw AC/DC on “The Razor’s Edge” tour at the old McNichols Sports Arena.
I grew up in Colorado, but it’s been a while since I lived in the state. When I returned for a recent conference, I found that a place settled by the Gold Rush is now mad about reefer.
In 2012, Colorado voters became the first in the nation to approve recreational pot use. The good times rolled out Jan. 1, when stores started selling it.
I’ve never tried pot, but I graduated from the University of Colorado — Boulder, which is famous for its annual “4/20″ public pot parties. At CU, you can practically get a contact high walking to class.
But I saw more public pot use in my two-day visit to Lower Downtown Denver than in years spent at Boulder.
It’s supposed to be illegal to smoke or consume pot in public. But then the day after the game, while jogging down the Speer Boulevard bike path, I passed a guy lounging under a tree lavishing his affections on a joint.
Anyone over 21 can walk into a dispensary and load up on bud, marijuana baked goods and candy. Continue reading