How’s It Going? My Colorado Friends On Marijuana Legalization

img_3928How’s Legalization Working out in CO?

I moved from Colorado a little over two years ago and I have not been back so I wanted to hear from my friends how marijuana legalization is working out. I posted on Facebook: “Through conversations I have found that people in MA have no idea about the unintended/unforeseen consequences of commercialized marijuana. I have not been back to CO since we moved two years ago so I thought it would interesting to hear from you about your experiences and what you would tell voters in states proposing to legalize recreational pot.”

The responses:

“Hate it! Worst thing ever. I want to move and I have lived here all of my life.”


“Hate what’s has happened to colorado. Look out the rest of the nation.”

“This past summer we took the boys downtown to visit the art museum. The number of stoned “homeless” teenagers was astounding! In all the years that I have lived in Denver, I have never felt nervous walking around in the morning hours in downtown Denver. After the art museum we went along 16th street mall. My 12 year old son asked why there were so many strange people. These were mostly young people–late teens to early 20s–hanging around, “living the dream” with legalized marijuana. My oldest son (now 15) knew the smell of pot from age 13….meaning, he has smelled enough of it in the air that he can identify it– His high school counselor has commented on how many kids have lost their way because of the accessibility of marijuana. It is a dangerous road–it may sound fun to some to have this be legalized but there are many more hazards that come with it being legalized.”

“We have noticed huge increase in crime because of the transients moving to Boulder/Longmont and Denver area. There is also a larger number of people pan handling so they can buy pot. It is no bueno”

Edibles were a huge issue because they take longer to take effect. People think they haven’t consumed enough to get high, so they take more and then end up in the ER. There were a few high profile deaths related to too high a dose of edibles. They started hallucinating and jumped off buildings, one guy murdered his wife, etc. People sending marijuana laced goodies to school is another problem.”

“It has caused an alarming increase in teens using– they think marijuana is safe and organic”

“Legalize it please so some of our knuckleheads will disperse east.”

“The increase in dangerous opiates brings the question to mind, have the south of the boarder drug dealers seen a decline in revenue from marijuana and replaced those dollars with terrifying addictive Fentanyl.”

“In my opinion, for central Denver, it’s been a disaster. We moved in May, from the house I thought I’d always live in, to a different neighborhood. We frequently smelled and saw people smoking pot – in the park, on the sidewalks, in their cars, even behind the wheel. All this is illegal, but very common in our old neighborhood.

Our back yard, where my middle school kids played basketball all the time, frequently smelled like pot – from neighbors legally smoking in their yards. My kids hate the smell. Some of my neighbors rent out rooms in their houses on Air B&B, and let people smoke pot – so lots of pot tourism. All legal. I always called the cops on the people getting high behind the wheel (illegal) and they never did anything.

Since rec pot was legalized, our homeless population has exploded. Homeless people are moving here from other states because of legal pot.

Our hard drug use, and our homeless opioid-addicted population, have also increased greatly. Crime is up all over the city. The last straw for me with the old neighborhood was when my 2 neighbors, 2 men, got held up at gunpoint by my garage on a Sunday afternoon in early January. We started looking for a new house immediately.

Our old neighborhood is great, our house was nice, but a little small for a family of 4. (1,740 sq ft above grade.) We sold it for $690,000. It is within 5-1/2 blocks of 3 recreational marijuana stores. Too much. I wanted to raise my kids in that socioeconomically diverse neighborhood, with renters and owners, rich people and poor people, homeless people and hipsters and professionals. But it’s not ok to raise them where people get held up in the alley.

I sued the city of Denver a couple years ago, over a pot store near my office that claimed to be in a grandfathered location. I’m a zoning junkie, and it wasn’t. I lost – because I rent, not own, my office. The judge said I didn’t have standing. I’ve testified at 3 pot store hearings, and attended a number of others. We have almost 200 rec pot stores in Denver. Denver is the size of Seattle, which decided to cap it at 21. We have no caps.

The marijuana industry is running roughshod over the city government. We have so much legal pot for sale in regulated stores, but there’s still such a huge black market, and all the problems that go with that – 2 kids were shot last week for trying to steal some pot growing in someone’s backyard – one kid died.

We’ve had two teenage suicides from overdoses of marijuana edibles (one jumped to his death and the other shot himself), and possibly one murder – but the murderer didn’t overdose, so we’re not sure what happened there.

The regulations aren’t working – they’re supposed to keep pot out of the hands of kids, and within the state. They’re failing at that. And because we had medical first, kids, including mine, associate green crosses and terms such as “wellness” with pot. Such a mess.”

Another friend writes a blog asking for better MJ regulation. She eloquently relates the massive consequences of commercial legalization.