Five Myths About Legal Marijuana in Colorado

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MYTH: Cannabis distribution centers are going to run out of weed!
They are not exactly running out of product so quickly that they will not be able to compensate for the crush. However, the “openers” – the 3 dozen or so original businesses selling cannabis on New Year’s Day – are understandably feeling the weight of non-stop foot traffic as about 450 people per day are processed through 3D Cannabis Center. Retail shops are giving their staff members a few days off by closing early or putting a cap on the amount of customers or the amount of cannabis they sell per day to compensate and recover so they can keep up with demand. Various media sources are reporting that between 160 and 300 additional retail applications are being processed, and an industry insider in Denver reports that “new shops are opening every day.”

MYTH: Everyone is totally cool with legal marijuana in Colorado!
Colorado Governor Hickenlooper recently said, “I hate Colorado having to be the experiment,” but Amendment 64 passed with a margin of 55% to 44%, so he has to deal with legalization.  Homeowner’s Associations in some areas are attempting to outright ban cannabis within the confines of their developments.

The Denver International Airport announced an outright ban on marijuana, posting warning signs and creating a fining system for offenders that took effect in the second week of January. While representatives from the DIA claim that the TSA rules do not allow passengers to fly with marijuana, conflicting reports from officials have left a gray area in terms of legality surrounding flying with medical marijuana from one medical state to another. The Colorado Springs Airport is somewhat more liberal than the DIA – while the airport forbids passengers from bringing marijuana onto planes, they have set up “Amnesty Boxes” where travelers can leave marijuana before flying without penalties or fines.

MYTH: The taxes on marijuana are too high!
Yes, the taxes are high, but the same Colorado voters who approved legalization also overwhelmingly approved the 25% state tax in a separate ballot measure. Local marijuana tax measures have also passed handily in many counties around the state.

As Ladybud reported earlier this month, it is likely that retail marijuana prices will drop over the coming months. There are many reasons for the high initial prices of legal marijuana in Colorado, including the high cost of licensure, property rentals for marijuana businesses, and legal risk for proprietors. Naysayers would do well to remember that while legal Colorado marijuana may be pricey (for now), the freedom offered by legalization is priceless.

MYTH: The roads are swarmed with stoned, underaged zombies!
“Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalization,” read the headline of a story that circulated widely online on January 2. Although the satirical tone of the ill-timed article is obvious to cannabis activists, the hoax article was widely believed to be factual by many readers, illustrating the continuation of Reefer Madness culture despite steadily progressing marijuana legislation nationwide.

Despite prohibitionist warnings, the sky did not fall the day marijuana sales were legalized in Colorado, nor has it fallen in the weeks since then.

MYTH: Prohibition is over!
The drug war is far from over. There is still much work to be done before all the kinks are worked out of Colorado’s taxed and regulated legalization system. No political victory is ever entirely solid; advocates must work to maintain the new status quo, and continue to ensure that policies will evolve to represent an ever more polished version of their predecessors.