Is America Going To Pot?
This article is about the current status of marijuana tourism in Colorado. It includes a description of a visit to a legal marijuana store located in Wheat Ridge, Colorado and some remarks made by the owner to questions posed.
Colorado allowed medical marijuana several years ago and followed by allowing the use of recreational marijuana September 9, 2013. If you are 21 years or older you have a constitutional right to possess and consume marijuana in Colorado. Residents and non-residents are allowed to possess up to one ounce of THC/ Cannabis/ Marijuana. Non-residents can only buy 7 grams at any store but there is no law against going to several stores in a day to acquire up to an ounce. A state issued picture ID showing your age as 21, or older is required. I used my passport as ID and that sufficed.
The taxes associated with this legalization of pot have been enthusiastically welcomed by legislators, educators, and since legalization, the crime rate had dropped in Colorado. In just one recent month, 19 million dollars was paid in taxes and 1.9 million was allocated to infrastructure repair and education.
At the time this blog was written, four states have recreational and medical marijuana. Those states are Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington. The city of Portland, Maine has similar laws. Ten other states have medical marijuana. A total of 25 states has some amount of marijuana legalization. Ohio and seven other states are close to enacting legislation about legalization.
Some Serious Pot Shopping
I visited Colorado in August of 2015. As I entered east Denver, I stopped at a large parking lot to call my friend who was giving me a place to stay for the weekend. After I parked and got out of my car, I noticed this sign over the parking lot.
I must confess that I was expecting some kind of Day-glow psychedelic paint job consistent with the old “head shops,” where smoking accessories were sold in the past. This store was quite clean and dignified and the emphasis seems to be put on referring to these establishments as “dispensaries.”. This was taken at 7:52 AM so few cars were present.
I made my call to my friend and he told me where he lived on the west side of Denver in Wheat Ridge and I headed that way. When I arrived, I couldn’t help noticing three 4′ tall pot plants growing in the residential residence garden in plain sight.
When my friend arrived, he took me to the local neighborhood pot shop.
We entered the store and I learned that the first room was a place where one must show identification for two reasons. First, to establish that you are old enough to be a customer (21) and, second, to establish if you’re a Colorado resident or from out-of-state. The out-of-state residents can buy less than Colorado residents. If you have a medical marijuana card you are entitled to a reduced price.
This is what the entry room looked like at the establishment we visited. There’s an ATM located in the far right corner for the customer’s convenience. The sales room is straight ahead and some magazines with catalog sales for accessories are in the display case to the right.
After establishing all the necessary criteria for shopping and purchasing with the store staff, the store staff allows a limited number of people to enter the showroom at a time. If the store is crowded, one waits in the reception area.
This is the salesroom at the store we visited. The owner was nice enough to allow me in with a camera and I agreed to avoid taking pictures of any employees. The display cases in front of the camera and to the left are various strains of marijuana in airtight containers, various paraphernalia including rolling papers, pipes, bongs, and to the right are edibles.
There are a number of different strains of pot available. Each strain is named and the THC percentage is recorded. The store in the picture featured something called, “Green Goat,” as their product with the highest concentration of THC, the “Goat,” had a rating of 23%. Other products were available with ratings from about 13 % on up to the Goat.
When asked about the supply chain, the owner advised me that 4,000 square feet of space in another part of the building was dedicated to growing their stock. That area was off limits to all but employees.
I asked about how the neighbors felt about the store being located in a residential area and was told the local municipality polled the neighbors before permitting the store to be located there. He added that some of the neighbors were very good customers and noted there had been no negative experiences at his store associated with the neighbors.
I asked if any of his customers had ever commented on how long they had been smoking pot before legalization and I was told that several of their “regulars,” claim to have 50 years or more experience.
This is the display case for edibles. For any purchase, the pot is put into a container resembling a prescription bottle with the name, percentage of THC, and amount of product, by weight, on the label. THC is the active agent in marijuana that causes intoxication.
Have any of our readers traveled to or through Colorado and taken advantage of this new kind of tourism? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.
This blog was posted for informational purposes. The author does not sell, or suggest anyone consume marijuana, but recognizes the legality of the substance where these pictures were taken, However, there is growing consensus that marijuana has medical benefits including seizure reduction, cancer treatment, glaucoma treatment, and a number of other medical and recreational benefits.
It should be noted that the states that surround Colorado do not have marijuana laws similar to Colorado. When one leaves Colorado, possession of either marijuana, edibles, or paraphernalia is not legal. It is additionally suggested that persons traveling to and from Colorado do not carry large sums of cash as some of the states that border Colorado interpret the possession of large sums of cash as “drug money” and have seized cash from a number of individuals en route to or leaving Colorado. Use of ATM’s located within Colorado is suggested or pre-paid credit cards.
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