Potheads in Paradise

“And everybody’s high–ighhh–ighhhhh!!!” — John Denver, “Rocky Mountain High.”

When state legislators decided a few years ago that Colorado needed a state song, they chose “Rocky Mountain High.” When they later decided Colorado needed a state weed, they chose weed.

Yes, pot is now legal in Colorado. Even here in Aspen we’re infested with nearly a dozen seedy pot stores. I’ve wondered, is getting high on pot better than getting high on mountains?

To answer that question, I recently slipped into a Colorado pot shop. I imagined I was cool.

All hell broke loose. I thought maybe I’d walked in on a robbery. But no, it was just reefer madness.

Everyone was shouting. Toothless customers with long beards and smelly T-shirts scurried about the apocalyptic scene. Many wore baseball caps backward in that manner that somehow reduces the wearer’s IQ. Hell had apparently been loosed for some time.

Amid the din and stench, I realized that a woman with tattoos and nose piercings was yelling at me.

“ID, please!”

I handed her my Colorado driver’s license. She took it and looked at it. Then she shouted, “Do you have a driver’s license!”

“That’s what I just handed you,” I replied.

“Oh! Right!”

She handed it back to me. She pointed to an inner door as she handed me a slip of paper with a number. Then she shouted again.

“Here’s your number! When they call the number, go into that room through the door!”

I wondered to myself, why does she think it’s necessary to tell me to use the door when I enter a room?

As I pondered that question, someone shouted my number. I went into the inner room. As instructed, I used the door.

In the inner room was more shouting. Glass display cases were filled with pot candy, pot cookies, pot brownies, pot gummy bears and pot paraphernalia.

On the other side of a glass case was another brown-toothed shouter, also wearing a dirty T-shirt, beard and IQ-reducer. I realized that this get-up was their uniform of nonconformity.

“What can I get ya?”

“Pot. On which to smoke.” The mere anticipation had already impaired my synapses, it seemed, or at least my syntax.

“Well, do ya want something to relax ya, so ya just, like, tune out? Or do ya want something to give ya a buzz, so ya can, like, work?” His hands made air quotes when he shouted “work.”

I’ve always preferred relaxing over working, so I choose the first type. The dealer suggested something he called “Ogre Kush.”

He shouted, “How much ya want?”

I shouted back so that I wouldn’t look like an amateur, “One gram!”

For an instant, the place fell silent as several customers glanced and smirked. A nanosecond later, the cacophony resumed.

It came to $32. I paid cash. They don’t take credit cards, because pot sales are against federal law. The card companies worry, I suppose, that they could get shaken down for donations to the Clinton Foundation, or something, if the feds caught them in this government-sanctioned drug deal.

A little shaken, I went home and looked at the ingredients label on my tiny plastic canister of pot:

“Calcium nitrate, potassium nitrate, citric acid, potassium sulfate, magnesium nitrate, monoammonium phosphate, diammonium phosphate, tri potassium citrate, magnesium sulfate, dimethyl sulfone, sodium molybdate.”

Then I did some research on the look-alike, beard-faced, pot-headed shouters with the backward baseball caps who burn and inhale these chemicals while paying extra for “organic” strawberries.

They are numerous. As expected, pot consumption is up since it was legalized in Colorado, along with pot-related automobile accidents and emergency room treatment for toddlers who’ve ingested pot. (Toddlers usually won’t drink alcohol because it tastes bad to them, but pot candy, pot cookies and pot brownies taste normal.)

Much of the consumption is by heavy users who get very high several times a week. One in three pot users gets high daily.

Stoners tend to be uneducated and poor. Maybe it’s their habit that impoverishes them. At $32 a gram, the 454 grams in a pound would cost $14,498. It’s almost the price of gold.

Pot legalizers have evidently decided to help the poor by taking away what little money they have and then sedating them.

And lobotomizing them. A recent study by Northwestern University and Harvard Medical School found that even moderate use of pot is correlated with brain abnormalities.

Of course, correlation doesn’t equal causation. In the categories of stupidity, pot use, inhaling combustible chemicals, brain abnormalities, shouting and backward baseball caps, it’s hard to say which causes which. But to be on the safe side, I think I’ll avoid them all.con

You ask, did the pot have any effect on me? Yes, the effect on me was the same as the effect on our society. It gave me a headache and made me poorer.

(Published Sept. 16 in the Glenwood Post-Independent and Sept 18, 2017 in the Aspen Times at http://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/23944178-113/beaton-potheads-in-paradise)

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