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Vail Daily column: ‘Colorado chocolate’ gaining attention

Temporarily leaving our increasingly popular and beautiful state has taken on entirely new levels of explanation now that pot is legal in Colorado.

No matter where I have traveled during these last 16 months, one of the first three questions I am always asked is, “What’s it like having pot legal?” (The other two usually have to do with snowfall totals and semi-sarcastic inquiries about the Broncos).

My instantaneous, though extremely casual, response, “Meh … it’s not really a big deal.”

From Squaw Valley, California, to San Antonio, Houston and Dallas, and down to Key West, Florida, the question and following answer have all been the same.

And here’s the thing: They always act surprised at my response.

“What?!” they ask with a look of shock. “Isn’t everyone just walking around stoned all the time now?”

In Texas I replied, “Yeah, sure, you bet, just like everyone here is in the oil and cattle business, hates the president and loves to carry a gun to bars and grocery stores.”

That usually gets the point across.

Elsewhere, I just shrug my shoulders and launch into a lame (but somewhat mentally prepared) speech about how we now have more pot outlets than Starbucks, the $100 million or so in extra taxes collected, the 16,000-plus new jobs created, the decrease in drug arrests and car accidents, thus enabling law enforcement to concentrate on real crimes, etc.

Other than those items the only thing that has really changed is social media’s perspective of Colorado, and to that end, it is far more positive than negative.

What in the world did people really expect? “Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!” (Thank you, Bill Murray).

I also enjoy revealing to people how I was never into pot in the first place, at all.

Never bought it once in my life.

Nope, although a few refused to believe I could own video and record stores and not sell pot out of the back door, I never was a stoner on any level (although I did have really long hair).

Don’t get me wrong though, I had no problem inhaling a toke now and then when offered, but from high school on was just too paranoid to take the risk, so I never purchased a single leaf.

Until last November that is.

Yep, I actually asked my oldest and his fiancee to escort me into one of our local retail pot outlets, admitting I was too naive to walk in alone and start asking stupid questions (I’m much more comfortable asking stupid questions with someone I know standing nearby).

Overwhelming, to say the least, but I walked out with a small chocolate bar containing ten tiny chunks, each about the size of an M&M.

Five months later, I still have five chunks left and gave two of the consumed five to friends, so I can safely report a complete lack of addictive hysteria on my part.

The entire issue is much ado about nothing, really, that is unless you try to leave the state with a forgotten piece of chocolate in your pocket.

That can cause problems.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.


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