Green Wednesday rung in and checked out, and various news reports recounted a rough estimate of $1 million taken in at local marijuana shops.
The rollout of recreational marijuana on Jan. 1 was accurately described as mellow. Those who were happy …
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The rollout of recreational marijuana on Jan. 1 was accurately described as mellow. Those who were happy to purchase legally at long last had no resemblance to revved up sports fans celebrating a championship. Instead they had satisfied grins and walked calmly.
While many locals have poo-pooed the idea that Colorado will become the country’s Amsterdam, we cringed when national news reports suddenly seemed to entertain the perspective.
That is not how we see Colorado.
We know there is much work to be done and much to iron out with recreational marijuana. In our circles, many of those who are not thrilled with the passage of Amendment 64, have conceded they are pleased law enforcement will not spend as much time with minor marijuana violations any longer. But it’s a consolation in a mix of concerns.
Those who support the passage say they are relieved to finally have the legal right to do something that is not that harmful and does have some medicinal benefits. They say it’s the American way of individual freedom to have the choice, and point out that the taxes collected will further benefit the state.
While there are countless legal and procedural wrinkles to iron out, we urge a focus on health and safety as a high priority. Now that marijuana has entered the realm of legal drugs, we look forward to more and more detailed research to outline the pros and cons of marijuana use.
Our friend Joe Citizen can break it down to say that marijuana is more or less harmful than tobacco and alcohol — an exercise with questionable value.
Marijuana categorically falls in the potentially harmful column. The bottom lines are that smoking is smoking, and people who smoke marijuana draw the smoke deeply into their lungs. Moreover, marijuana affects driving ability. And to say it plain, all three choices can bring great harm to teens in the throes of brain development and finding their way in the world.
As surely as secondhand smoke will be more prevalent, it follows that with marijuana — with its new legal status — will often more easily fall into the hands of the young teens.
So we ask that smokers smoke smart, all adults walk straight lines, and parents take further steps by talking and educating their children. A drug is a drug, so children should be encouraged to keep their “just say no” mindsets.
We are concerned. How will Colorado fare? Will this recreational diversion be a drag on the state’s reputation in clean energy and quest to improve its education system? Will the state strike the right balance? Will we work well with our neighboring states?
It will take a while for the best research to be distilled and crafted into spiffy, pithy messages along the lines of no smoking warnings we have experienced through the years. Messages that make the sobering dangers clear — just as the warnings about tobacco have done — is a wide-open public service opportunity.
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