Monday, November 8, 2010

Where Marijuana Is a Point of Pride

New York Times
November 7, 2010

Millions of Americans expressed their feelings about marijuana last week. In Colorado, 24 communities voted to ban or restrict shops selling legal medical marijuana. In California, voters wrestled with the question of legalization for recreational use — with issues of health, crime and taxes all coming into play — then voted no.

But here in Nederland, it was just another beautiful day high in the mountains.

Marijuana has been mainstream in this outpost of the counterculture, 8,000 feet in the Rockies and an hour northwest of Denver, since the days of Bob Marley’s cigar-size “spliffs” and the jokes of Cheech and Chong.

And to judge by the numbers, things have not changed all that much.

An explosion of medical marijuana sales over the last year in Colorado as well as the District of Columbia and the 13 other states where medical use is allowed has certainly brought a new element into the mix. Dispensaries like Grateful Meds, one of seven medical marijuana providers in Nederland, population 1,400, now have legal compliance lawyers on retainer and sales tax receipts in the cash drawer.