Sometimes, work just drops it in my lap, you know? One week after it became legal to sell recreational marijuana in Colorado, I was in Denver on a job. I'm not a pot smoker, but I am definitely against prohibition as I believe that the Drug War is not only a failure, but evil. Thankfully, I am hardly alone in that belief and it seems as though our insane drug policies are rapidly coming to an end. So of course, I had to go and see for myself and yes, I bought that joint up there just so that I could say that I did.
That is the storefront of 3D Cannabis, the store that made the first legal sale of recreational Marijuana in the US. I had read about it when that awesome picture was lighting up reddit and going viral, and so of course it's the place I chose to visit first.
There are of course some rules for recreational weed; it is not a free-for-all where people are getting high on every street corner... although having said that, I did smell the lovely odor on a couple of street corners in downtown Denver. Just not, you know, EVERY street corner. In any case, seeing legal pot stores and all of the attendant accoutrements was very, very weird. Here is what I assume is the preliminary governmental warning/official notice sign regarding rules of marijuana consumption.
I had to wait in line for about 15 minutes—a much shorter waiting period than what people apparently had to deal with on January 1st—and it was a strange 15 minutes. I was most likely projecting, but it seemed like a quiet, subdued line where everyone was waiting for the boot to drop. "Am I really doing this? This can't be legal! I'm standing in a room with ATMs (recreational dispensaries are having bank troubles and can only take cash) that smells heavily of marijuana, waiting to buy marijuana, which I will then put in the glove box of my rental car where I apparently do not need to worry about cops finding it if I get pulled over. What." As I said to someone else, it's like one of those things that college stoners have been sitting around eating pizza and fantasizing about for 60 years, but startlingly real all of the sudden.
Now, I've been to Amsterdam, Holland. There, the streets were lined with coffee shops and prostitutes in shop windows. You could go in a coffee shop, order a coffee and a joint or some hash and smoke it right there, and the smell was everywhere. Denver is not like Amsterdam, but, dam if it didn't feel like a step in the right direction. 3D's supply seemed to be a little low: understandable given the $5 million weed rush of the week before. But as I understand it, what they did have was still some... how do you say? Quality shit.
Jars on a counter... love it. The place was janky and claptrap; I suspect that in a few months or years time, once the industry figures out it's banking problem and collects many more millions of the dollars, their storefronts will begin to reflect a fancier approach to retail sales. But for now, for this glorious moment in time, you've got clapped together wooden counters and jars. The real draw for 3D (which stands for Denver's Discreet Dispensary, by the way), however, is that the hallway that you exit through after making your purchase serves as a viewing area. There are windows looking into the grow rooms. I don't have much to say about the next few pictures except, "pretty!" so here they all are.
Although, I'm reminded of a bit that David Cross does, where he rags on High Times magazine for fetishizing pictures of pot... well, as much as he's right, Colorado is winning the drug war! It's an historic occasion! So fetishistic pictures of pot are, I think, appropriate in this instance. I also went to check out another pot shop, Mile High Recreational Cannabis (because Denver is the Mile High City! And high is also the word used to describe the cognitive effects of marijuana!), and they had a handy whiteboard menu to help you with your ordering.
Clearly, Mile High Recreational Cannabis does not currently have the supply problem that 3D does. Although, I was interested to see what their edibles looked like but both places had completely run out of them when I was there. I suppose the demand for edibles is fairly high, because tourists face the problem of having nowhere to smoke: you can't smoke anywhere in public, or in hotel rooms, or while driving. I mean, I'm sure with a little ingenuity most potsmokers could figure something out, but edibles solve that problem.
With State-level decriminalizations in 20 or so States, and the first trickle of complete legalization just beginning, one has to wonder when the damn will burst entirely. Living in Pennsylvania, I don't imagine that we'll come around until pretty much last after everyone else, except for some southern states. Maybe once Colorado can show how much money they are able to put into school systems and keep out of the prison systems, some of us more conservative states will begin to wake up to the potential financial benefits naturally inherent in the Big Marijuana business.