Many have asked if the reason I traveled to Denver was to smoke weed. The answer to that is yes. But more than that, I wanted to be a part of history. I want to be part of a cultural revolution. It's no coincidence that the natives of this land smoked the peace pipe. Partaking in marijuana is a peaceful experience. Unlike the dangerous pharmaceuticals of the West, marijuana is grown as a gift from the Earth. In fact, there are powerful lobbyists who oppose the legalization of weed because pharmaceuticals is a multi-billion dollar industry. However, it's ironic that alcohol and cigarettes are legal and weed is not.
Alcohol is particularly dangerous. Weed does not contribute to overdose, fights, assaults, domestic abuse, vehicular homicide and rape. Alcohol does. Get more facts regarding safer recreational drugs from saferchoice.org.
Weed is good for many purposes. It helps raise the consciousness, as people tend to achieve mellow states and become thoughtful while high. It helps with artistic ventures. The creative spirit runs wild when high. I love painting and/or writing while high. Sex is greatly enhanced, as is the most mundane movements. I love cleaning the house high and meditating on how complex our hand movements are. Hemp can greatly help improve the economy. Lotions, clothes and paper can be made economically from hemp. Meaning we no longer need to cut down trees.
For me there were added benefits during my vacation. As you know, I've been suffering with a strange illness for about five years. Most of the Western remedies used to treat the symptoms make me feel worse. I am always in pain, always nauseous, always feel dizzy and like I'm going to barf. Add to that severe heat and digestive problems due to myriad food allergies. While in Denver and high on the real stuff (since it's illegal in Ohio all we have is skunk weed, not worth the risk of getting in trouble nor the money), I felt none of these symptoms. When pain and nausea are a part of your everyday life, I cannot begin to tell you how euphoric it was to be free of these symptoms for even a short time.
On a more practical note, the U.S. is a capitalist society. And the populace made it clear recently - during the vitriolic universal health care discussions - that they are prefer profit-based models to those that are socialist and might actually help people. As a capitalist nation, we have a duty to provide a supply where there is demand. And there is definitely demand for weed. We have a great opportunity here for a new crop and cash flow.
Cleveland, for example, would be a perfect place to grow weed. There are tons of empty factories. There's the wind provided by the lake and plenty of precipitation. And oh yeah - a whole lot of unemployed people.
Those of us who would like to see this experiment succeed, must be smart and exercise common sense. Make sure to know the law and have plans in order if you are going to Denver. The media will jump on any story that is negative, so we must act with responsibility.
IF YOU'RE GOING TO DENVER TO SMOKE WEED:
1. DO practice common sense.
2. DO know the law. You must be 21 to use retail marijuana. Don't drive high. Don't smoke publicly.
3. DO find a friend or family's home to smoke. There are also lounges if you don't have any friend or family in Denver. Most hotels ask you to sign a form stating you will not smoke in your room. I was cool with that, because I don't want to force smoke on anyone else. I don't like breathing cigarette smoke.
4. DO NOT take any product or paraphernalia with you to the airport. It's still against federal law. This will land you in prison.
5. DO NOT take open containers on any roadway. When you buy your weed, it comes in a sealed container. Don't open it until you get to your destination. DUI laws apply.
6. DO NOT leave product in rental car or hotel. This is tempting, because you think the staff might want it. But this will only get them in trouble. There have also been cases of clean up fines levied for leaving it behind. I suggest buying small amounts from dispensaries. The stuff is so good, you won't need much. If you have any left before leaving, give it to someone on the street. There are plenty of people around who are smoking, and it's a nice peace offering.
7. DO NOT eat edibles. This is my own opinion, but it makes good sense for novice smokers. A teeny tiny candy bar can be 8 servings! Also, edibles don't really make sense, they are all about commerce. I don't trust the process. You take an herb from the Earth, and you add to it the poisons of the SAD (Standard American Diet). That is, flour, wheat, sugar, soy, lecithin, corn flower, etc. It's especially dangerous to drink wine with an edible. Too much sugar! In fact, I think Maureen Dowd suffered a sugar reaction. Any pot smoker will tell you that her writing is inauthentic. But that's a subject of another post.
8. DON'T do stupid shit. The cops fuck with people over stupid things - like jay walking - because they have been told to stand down when it comes to the tourist. That doesn't mean you should tempt them. They walk around looking like robocop and are itching to arrest people. They are clearly not happy. Keep a low profile.
9. DO behave with the utmost dignity, courtesy and respect. We all want to see this experiment succeed.
Want to know more about the law in Denver? See Marijuana Info. Denver. Want to know more about the benefits of legalizing marijuana? See NoMoreDrugWar. For a myriad of information regarding marijuana, including timely columns and current legislation see the Cannibist.
If you haven't seen my article, please see Parts 1-4 here. If you'd like to see more pictures, please see my urban photojournal here.
All words and images by Peggy.