Three things I wish I had understood about Colorado cannabis culture before moving here.

By Spike Hope
The New SCENE Magazine

I love this state. Great weather, great schools, healthy lifestyle, excellent art and music scene, progress, healthy economy, and yes, legal weed.

We moved here last fall, and Colorado has turned out to be everything I had hoped for and more.

By almost any metric, things have gone well since legalization, but a couple things still need some ironing out. These are a few things I wish I had understood about Colorado cannabis culture before moving here:

Pot is legal here, but not everyone agrees with it.

Remember when gay marriage was justly ratified by the Supreme Court. It seemed like almost overnight, in my conservative community, it was just accepted. Awesome! The issues are clearly not the same, but the analogy my brain made was simply,“Cool. Unjust laws, with new understanding, are corrected. Let’s hear it for America!”

But people like to hold on to their outdated dogma. Logic be damned.

So if you’re coming out here, remember that the vote wasn’t unanimous. If you’re looking for a job in corporate America or government, let alone conservative businesses, better keep your pro cannabis P.O.V. on the D.L. for now.

 

There is still so much to learn about cannabis.

I believe cannabis to be a safe adult-use option for many, and the medical aspect is truly fascinating and encouraging. The stigma associated with pot, however, still lingers. No one likes to be marginalized. Calling someone a “pothead” seems to be one of the last socially acceptable derogatory terms for any user, medical or otherwise, yet the same people using that term would never think to use a derogatory term for people with visible disability or ailments. Someone using that term isn’t necessarily a bigot; they’re just not being as mindful as they could be. With this substance, it may be medical, it may be a preference, but it’s a legal, personal choice. My occasional choice to use legal cannabis, for my own reasons, makes me a “pothead” the way your occasional masturbation makes you a sex addict.

 

Cannabis companies seem to be treated like second-class citizens.

Legally, cannabis companies are not allowed to advertise the same as other adult businesses. It’s astounding to me that we are this many years into legalizing, and yet responsible cannabis companies aren’t able to promote their businesses and participate in the community as visibly as other companies. Perhaps this has to do with the still fuzzy understanding of cannabis in general, but it’s not right. I would argue that anywhere any other “adult” product, service, or activity is advertised, cannabis should be welcomed. Also, not being allowed to write off business promotions, let alone, usual operating expenses is unfair, and a real disservice. These companies provide groceries for families, have acted for the most part as responsible as any other industry, and deserve to be treated equally. Maybe if their businesses were as uniformly celebrated and displayed as other adult intended businesses, we would all understand their products better, and misunderstandings could better be addressed. Besides, regarding subject matter, if we can explain to our kids about what they see in media in general, I think we can eventually find ways to talk to them about cannabis ads. Better understanding is the goal of this column.

 

 

So, let’s have a few laughs, give and take, and continue the conversation around this topic. I still have a ton to learn about this topic, and maybe you do too. I look forward to exploring many of the questions yet to understand. Please feel free to reach out with questions, comments, and issues you’d like to know more about. We’re in this together.

I hope all of America eventually learns from Colorado’s leadership on this issue, and that Colorado continues to lead with its continued, forward-thinking efforts.

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