On January 1, 2014 Colorado, a state in southwest America, legalized the sale and use of recreational marijuana. The result of many years worth of voting battles. And although marijuana is still banned under Federal laws, as long as users abide by State laws concerning marijuana use, they haven’t much to worry about. And just what are those State laws and restrictions you may ask? Well, let us imagine taking a day to visit a mate in Colorado and see for ourselves….
As we land at Denver International Airport and exit the plane you can’t wait to roll your spliff that you somehow managed to get by Heathrow security. And just as you reach into your carryon bags secret compartment, your eyes are drawn to several rather obvious signage stating that marijuana possession in airports is illegal. And you think to yourself, ‘Did we land in the wrong state?’ The answer is no. It is just that airports are under Federal jurisdiction (FAA stands for FEDERAL Aviation Administration) and marijuana continues to be illegal under Federal law. So instead of risking having your trip cut prematurely and abruptly, you decide to keep your spliff hidden until the airport (feds) is in the rearview mirror.
So of course, we exit the terminal and hail a taxi to take us to our friends apartment. And after pleasant conversation with the driver and a few miles of journeying, you now decide to unleash your smoke. But then you see the taxi driver watching you admire your well rolled blunt and suddenly points to the signage on the glass in front of you, “No Smoking!”
Bloody Hell, you think. But the taxi driver, noticing you’re not from around here, decides to give you a tip. He then proceeds to tell you that use of marijuana on public transportation and taxis is illegal under STATE law. Great. But after the 12 hour flight and the stress of trying to exit the airport with your spliff intact, you decide that the anticipation and stress is unbearable and that you need a drink. You ask the driver to drop you off at a pub on the way and you will pick up another taxi later. And so the taxi drops you off where you ask.
As you enter the pub, you walk straight to the barkeep and order a pint. But before knocking it back, you choose to find a quiet corner to decompress and notice the pub has a cigar section.
Ah yes’, you think. You walk slowly over and find a seat on a very comfortable lounge chair, place your pint on the side table next to your seat and tighten the ends on your spliff. And you light. And just as you take one deep draw, it seems as though a record has scratched to a sudden stop and all eyes are on you.. And before you even exhale, the Barkeep rushes over to you in a ball of fury and asks if you are trying to deliberately get his business shut down and then points to the signage at the front of the entrance that says, “No Marijuana Use Allowed.” Just then, one of the cigar smokers offers you one of his cigar tube containers to store your blunt and the record continues to play and the patrons continue their conversations as though nothing happened. And although no one at this point is trying to make us feel uncomfortable, you drink your pint faster than you originally wanted to (while exhaling), pay your apologies to the barkeep, and exit.
So now we are outside and we realize from the address we have to our friends apartment, and the map on our mobile, that his apartment is in walking distance. We don’t have a lot of bags, so let’s find it on our own. While walking you feel like it must be okay to blow a smoke now since we are outside in the open, and since it is supposed to be legal to smoke marijuana in Colorado. So you pull out your cigar tube, and slide out the freshly lit spliff inside. You put it to your lips and light. Sweet Mary, finally a chance to say hello properly. BUT, just then a police car screeches beside us and barks to us, ‘What do you think you’re doing, put that up!’ And before we offer a rebuttal, he points to a street sign that says, “Public Consumption of Marijuana is Strictly Prohibited!” Boy oh boy. We apologize profusely, restore our blunt to dormant status, and continue on our journey, after having being put to public shame.
We finally find the apartment, knock on the door and are met with a thick cloud of weed smoke when the door opens. And when our friend asks us what look us so long and we tell him our ordeal, he says, ‘Why didn’t you call? I would have told you the do’s and don’ts.’ How in the hell were we supposed to know?! We thought legal, meant legal!! He says, ‘Welcome to America.’ Whatever. Just roll a fat one.
(FYI. there are no actual signs, so you better call your friend first!)