I’ll admit it: I was a denier. Even after I was a part of the well-attended HempFest 2008 gathering in Boston, I still figured this whole “Legalize Marijuana” movement was a lazy, hazy fringe group I was just marginally a part of. There were minor steps of progress in the medical marijuana and decriminalization movements over the past several years, but nothing to really get stoked about. To be honest, I was never passionate about legalization since the magic grass would be only marginally easier to obtain if it were sold at gas stations. Seriously, how hard is it to score weed around here anyway? Spit up in the air and there’s a good chance whoever it lands on has some sweet herb for sale.
But my apathetic view of legalization was probably due more to my pessimism about drug policy reform happening before I become balding and fat and probably shouldn’t be eating nachos anymore—let alone smoking weed. I always imagined that full-on legalization of the Devil’s lettuce would take place when my generation started gaining power…you know, in like 35 years or so. But here we are, just four years after my original pessimism, and two states have straight up legalized marijuana—as in for full- on bong-pack-to-the-dome smoking purposes. Colorado, props, but listen: your responsibilities are just beginning here. You are America’s first-world super-baked guinea pig, and the fate of national and perhaps even international marijuana policy reform is heavily dependent on how good of an example you set.
The key is to minimize negative associations. As much as Mary Jane enthusiasts love to promote their individuality, the guy with the dreadlocks and a sublime t-shirt smoking a joint and playing three chords on his guitar outside of a coffee shop isn’t helping to convince people like that Fox News asshole Steve Doocy that people are responsible and respectable enough not to get “potted up and get behind the wheel,” as he so eloquently put it. As much as we like to believe we don’t need respect from ignorant tools for the legalization movement, they’re an unfortunately large demographic who need convincing. The anti-pot crowd will clutch at any negative impact that legalization brings, from public smokers to increased DUI arrests to people generally being more obnoxious.
So please: behave yourselves, Colorado. I understand the impulse to spread the smoky love, but try to contain yourselves.