Pubdate: Sun, 12 Jun 2016
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2016 Sun-Times Media, LLC
Author: Emily Gray Brosious
Note: Emily Gray Brosious is marijuana news editor for the Sun-Times Network.


As someone who writes about marijuana for a living, it recently 
started to seem a little strange I hadn't actually been to the 
promised land of legal cannabis that Colorado has become over the 
past couple of years.

So on Memorial Day weekend, I flew to Denver on a mission to buy weed legally.

I already knew the rules. Dispensaries close promptly at 7 p.m. You 
must be 21 or older to buy recreational cannabis; public consumption 
is a no-no. And so forth.

My first stop would be Pure Marijuana Dispensary. I expected to get 
carded at the door or during checkout, like bars and liquor stores in 
Chicago do.

Instead, I walked right in to what looked and felt like a spa waiting 
room - a spa waiting room filled with the pungent, unmistakable odor 
of marijuana. I was waved over to a pharmacy-style window, where a 
friendly employee asked for my ID and told me someone would be with me soon.

After a few minutes, I was ushered into the sales room, where jars of 
cannabis, pre-rolled joints and packaged edibles were neatly on 
display. I decided to buy a pre-rolled joint and some gummy edibles.

Next, I headed to Native Roots Dispensary. The well-known chain, 
which comedian Hannibal Buress amusingly toured last fall, was more 
crowded than the first dispensary. But aside from a somewhat longer 
waiting-room experience and longer sales line, the process was similar.

Outside Native Roots, the streets of downtown Denver were closed for 
an arts and music festival. I saw families and people with dogs and 
children dancing to music and browsing craft booths. Nobody seemed to 
mind or even notice the dispensary.

After living with marijuana prohibition all my life, Colorado's legal 
weed experience was terribly exciting and incredibly mundane.

Aside from the dispensaries and the cannabis-related gift shop wares, 
Denver felt like a normal American city. It has murals, an art 
museum, breweries, mountains and beautiful scenery. Marijuana doesn't 
appear to define the city. It's more like the billion-dollar cherry on top.

By most accounts, marijuana legalization has been good for Colorado. 
The booming industry is translating into substantial tax gains for 
the state, and that revenue is now being used to fund public schools 
and help homeless people.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom