My parents live in Boulder, Colorado.
News that causes eyes to light up. How awesome, people exclaim. I smile and say nothing. To me, it’s as if I said I went fishing and got mauled by a bear and they replied, “Fishing! I love fishing! What did you catch?”
Visiting Boulder regularly since 1973 gives me perspective on its changes. Growing mobs of fitness freaks, sprawling tracts of condos, more every year, crowding out the Rockies. I am never reluctant to come home to Chicago.
I happened to be in Boulder on Jan. 1, 2014, when Colorado legalized recreational marijuana and was struck by the newspapers standing on chairs, cheering. Every part of every paper was tossing fistfuls of confetti.
The Denver Post’s home section told readers how to cultivate pot gardens. How to bake pot brownies. Even the “fit!” section: “THC: The powerhouse behind your pot!” No aspect went unexplored: Your dog, could its parasites make your pot plants sick? Somehow the comics remained aloof.
Yes, it’s news. But the media then goes overboard and starts ballyhooing certain minor vices. Take the lottery. Much celebration of enormous payouts. Occasional dutiful whispers about remote odds of winning. When Powerball rolls over, rapt reportage of the astronomical jackpot. Few observe the rollover also means you could have bought every single ticket sold and still lost.
Now it’s marijuana’s turn. For the record, I’m glad Illinois legalized it. The federal government should, too.
Being on medical leave, letting my new titanium hip settle in, I’ve had time to read the coverage welcoming legal pot since Jan. 1. Numerous reports of eager customers lining up in the pre-dawn chill. Of the Chicago City Council bickering over divvying up the pie.
Every opinion expressed, except the one I formed after five years of legal pot in Colorado: It’s no big deal. People who already partake will pay more, get better product, and the state will get a tax bonanza that, being the state, it will mostly squander. A few folks will be emboldened to give it a try.
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