Rumor has it a prominent fast food chain is developing a new product for the Colorado market – code name McBuzz. It’s a hybrid mixture combining the best properties of “a certain mint flavored shake” with a sprinkling of buds. Beta testers are calling it the real Rocky Mountain High.
It comes as no surprise that Colorado is the first state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. A recent survey noted that 27.26 percent of Colorado adults ages 18 to 25 admit to smoking marijuana. Nationwide marijuana use for that age group is 18.7 percent. Must be something in the mountain air that makes people there want to go green.
Marijuana use drops significantly after people reach the age of twenty-five. Only 8.19 percent of Coloradans over age twenty-six regularly dally with the weed, compared to 4.8 percent nationwide for that same age range.
It’s still almost double the national average, but the number of adults admitting to using marijuana drops significantly after age twenty-five. Let’s call it the Stoner Quotient: The older you get, the less likely you are to admit to pollsters you like to indulge in an occasional smoke. With age comes great wisdom, and the cleverness necessary to hide your backstory, and your stash from your teenage children.
You might not realize it, but marijuana is big business. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper predicts sales of the wacky weed will soon top one billion dollars annually (that number includes medical and recreational sales). The state’s take isn’t too shabby either. Total taxes on recreational marijuana sales in Colorado are 27.9 percent. Here’s the way that breaks down –
15 %..........excise tax
10 %..........special sales tax
2.9 %..........regular sales tax
The house cut is estimated to be somewhere near 130 million dollars a year if Governor Hickenlooper’s predictions prove correct. That’s give, or take, a few million because partakers of medical marijuana receive a healthy tax break on their smoke.
Let me make a prediction of my own. When the other states get wind of the kind of moolah Colorado is raking in, all fifty states are going to rush to legalize marijuana, LSD, and every other hallucinogen you can name.
I hope VW is listening to this because we’re going to need a whole lot of Hippie Busses.
Of course, the privilege to smoke a little weed does come with a few legal qualifiers.
- Retailers need a state license to sell marijuana.
- Just like gambling and drinking, marijuana users who want to partake in the herb legally need to be at least 21 years old.
- In-state residents are limited to purchasing one ounce at a time.
- Out of state residents are limited to purchasing a quarter of an ounce at a time.
- Even though marijuana is legal to purchase and own, it’s not legal to use in public. Recreational drug use is strictly a home based activity at this time.
There are also a few sticky wickets marijuana users may find themselves entangled in from time to time.
We already mentioned you can’t walk down the street toking on a doobie, and it’s not going to be looked on favorably if you’re caught smoking a fatty during a routine traffic stop.
While it’s legal for out of state residents to buy and use marijuana while they’re visiting Colorado, that courtesy ends at the border. When you leave Colorado, you’re subject to arrest for smuggling or transporting drugs across state lines. Marijuana shops may want to set up buyback points on key highways leaving the state. They should be able to score a shitload of new product at fire sale prices.
Another touchy area is pre-employment drug screening. While it’s legal to take an occasional toke, most companies haven’t changed their stance on drug use. If you test positive for marijuana usage, businesses still have the right to not hire you, or to terminate your employment with them. The legalization of marijuana did not change this.
It should probably be noted that Colorado has experienced a few setbacks since legalizing marijuana.
- There have been a few deaths from people over indulging in pot-laced edibles such as donuts and brownies.
- Home explosions have tripled as amateur chemists experiment with trying to extract THC rich hash oils. A word to the wise: the key to success in this strange alchemy appears to be going light on the butane.
Not all the news is bad, though.
Violent crime in Colorado decreased 5.6 percent in the first three months since marijuana was legalized, proving once again that stoners are a pretty mellow bunch. Tax revenues are anticipated to rise by at least 100 million dollars this year alone. And, even though none of the news reports I’ve read have mentioned it, the sales of munchies must be skyrocketing.
This is an excerpt from my book, Life Without the BS: Rants, Raves, and Other Crazy Stuff. It's my take on life, politics, and all the other crazy stuff we deal with.