Pot is legal. At least, in Colorado it is. By now you've heard about the lines outside of dispensaries, the eager pot vacationers, the concerns from Colorado's premier ski resorts about doped-up snowboarders, the PTSD-suffering Iraq vet's highly publicized purchase; it's been a big week for national weed news.
Reports say that dispensary owners in Colorado claimed $1 million in sales during the first several days of legalization. Now that there will be real, hard data on sales and consumption, we can expect to get a better idea of what the country's pot economy looks like. Rolling Stone already reported that the legal weed industry is expected to nearly double in size, from $1.43 billion annually to $2.34 billion.
People are trying to cash in all over the place. A company called Kush Bottles is marketing itself as the "official bottle of the marijuana industry," touting child-safe medicine-style bottles for responsible pot shoppers. Meanwhile, stocks of industry-related businesses — including transaction processers, pot tech and pharmaceuticals — are growing fast.
This week's cover story (see "This is What Legalization Looks Like") lays out some of the possible effects of legalization on Humboldt County. As the prices that growers command are predicted to sink, there's another economic effect that might make marijuana consumers cough: NBC News reported last week that the first day of legal weed sales in Colorado came with huge spikes in the price of bud. Retailers were charging up to $400 for quality pot — up from the typical $250 that medicinal users were paying before recreational legalization. That state's NORML executive director, Rachel Gilette, told NBC she expects prices to stabilize, but the open market clearly has the potential to swing prices wildly depending on supply and demand.
• Is this a time for marijuana culture to go mainstream? We are so steeped in the lingo, the fashion and the lifestyle in Humboldt County that we don't bat an eye. But are we the only ones? Nope. There are pot-friendly enclaves around the U.S., as evidenced by this quote from Pueblo, Colo., "bud tender" Joshua Borjon in the Pueblo Chieftain. "When you take an edible, it goes throughout your body. It's a relaxation. It's pure chill pretty much." The lingo is everywhere and nobody seems to expect a translation.
• Perhaps the U.S.'s lack of weed naiveté is no better evidenced than by the alarm raised by the unfunny, low-rent Onion knock-off the Daily Currant, which ran an article headlined "Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalization."
The New York Daily News was quick to call it a hoax, but pretty much everyone else ignored it. Was anyone fooled by the Currant's shtick? (The website routinely foregoes the social criticism and humor aspects of satire.) In a world where pot crosses socioeconomic and cultural boundaries, it's farfetched to believe most people didn't see through the smoke.
• Finally, an online commenter claiming to represent the "Eureka Christians United Against Marijuana" posted a link to the following Craigslist post on the Journal's site last week. Real? Satire? Daily Currant audition? You decide:
Happy New Year!
2013 was a very exciting year for Christians in Eureka. There were more marijuana related arrests and convictions than anytime in the history of Eureka!
We are very proud of our Christian city counsel who has kept dispensaries out of Eureka.
We are also very proud of our Christian Sheriff and deputies who fight marijuana in the name of Jesus and keep stoners in prison.
The rest of the world can go to Colorado for their marijuana. Eureka is a place for people to find Jesus. Eureka is a Christian city and it is time to drive the marijuana users and growers out for good.
2014 for Jesus! Onward Christians soldiers!