Welcome to Weedville USA Part 2


I left the 15L bus in front of Papa Johns pizza, the one that flanks the 12 going out to 5 points. Denver officers were on hand and ready to address the gunman situation I left behind (like every other swinging dick with half a brain) on the L. Once on board the 15 it was mere moments before I was in the heart of the city, the crossroads of Colfax and Broadway. I called an acquaintance to look me up at the Shag Lounge, my newly adopted hangout in LoDo where the cheap beer and whiskey poured and the thumping tones of some killer gansta thumping, soul kissing rap and hip hop peel over the floor. Water vapor squirts out from overhead and the open patio leaks out right to the curb of 15th Street, people enjoying the night air while straddling a PBR Tallboy and a cigarette.

Not wanting to cause an issue I stand just outside the iron fence of the Shag’s patio and fill my pipe with some dope. No one really pays much attention, not even the police car cruising by but I’m still not clear on what the laws are about smoking pot in a public place. Is pot smoking treated like cigarettes, allowed only outside or in designated areas?. Fucking Christ, where’s my friend? His text say he’ll be here soon but I’m not buying it.  figure I might as well head down to Civic Center park to see what’s shaking there. Summers typically host concerts or other such events there so I begin hoofing it toward the park.

Jackpot – a concert in the park. Some local indie band is playing sweet tunes to let you enjoy the evening air, do the twirly dance and get fucked up, if you wish. The band area is a circular structure with pillars, bleachers and plenty of room for spectators to dance. I pull to the side of the arena for one more bowlful of weed and notice a tall middle aged gent looking around suspiciously, cupping items along the concrete ledge he stands next to; definitely a pot smoker but his paranoid behavior leads me to believe he’s new to this – probably new to town. Since Denver legalized marijuana a wave of tourists continue to walk about trying to find out what the customs are here in Weedville, USA. Can you just openly smoke? Is pot available at your local 7-11? Do you need some secret handshake to purchase the green?

Until state legislation is able to iron out the details behind local vs. federal laws I’m sure no official will stand up and give you a definitive on those type questions. No, you can’t buy pot at 7-11, designated shops are the distributors of marijuana which require a certification process in order to obtain pot. The pioneering shops that opened up as medical clinics issue red cards. Certain clubs are now being formed which require fees and registration to become buying patrons from their establishments. Then you always have the dealers in the park, the handshake boyz who line the walls at Civic Center willing to make you a quick deal, no card, no fuss. They’re like drug concierges offering you prime quality weed, with a moderate price hike and they get a ton of business out there. The funny thing is most people who scour the park and see these dealers probably fear them. They resemble a harsh criminal crowd but they always treat me right. We’re both out their for business, nothing else. Sometimes I will shoot the shit with them but for the most part it’s walk in, get the drugs and walk out.

I quelled the tall guys skittish behavior once he saw me openly smoking. He introduced himself and told me he was on a three day business trip from L.A. and needed to restock his supply of pot. I gave him the lowdown on the handshake boyz, guided him over and made sure he got what he needed. After we parted I began to reflect on how the social scene here has changed with the new legal stance on marijuana. The change seems to be coming about with ripples rather than roars, small baby steps from everyone watching how it all plays out. For decades I had dreamed of a time when pot would be legal and now that it is, I’m unsure how to react. I still catch myself going tense in situations that in the past could have landed me in jail with a five to ten year sentence. I can sit on my porch and smoke a joint, however I used to do that anyway – I was just more cautious about it. I will not smoke dope when children are present, just as I wouldn’t  crack open a fifth of Jack and start guzzling it in front of them. This trial period is being treated with respect (for the most part) from the ganja crowd because we are the representatives to society which will reflect how the public will deal with this in their own state. The law is slowly fading away and soon more and more states will follow suit but at the first signs of ‘wild in the streets’, the public perception of smoking weed will rain down on the masses with a huge helping of ‘I told you so’. No one here want that…except maybe the religious freaks of nature out there who still think the world writhes with abomination.

As of today, everything is good in Weedville USA. Life goes on pretty much the same here. The scenery changed a bit – large groups of smoke shops open in designated areas, magazines carry discount weed coupons, smoking a public venues is up, but for the most part it’s all the same.


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