Colorado’s Experience With Legal Marijuana Gives Lessons For Washington

Colorado’s state boundaries are rural, with no big cities nearby. If people are willing to fly from Chicago to try legal pot, it seems likely that Portlanders and other tourists will be heading to Washington before long. And who knows: maybe tourists visiting Portland will add a stop in Vancouver to their itineraries, even though there’s no public place to smoke marijuana in Vancouver and they can’t legally transport the drug back to Portland. Or, some could find lodging in Vancouver — some short-term rentals on the website made mention that the short-term rentals in private homes were marijuana-friendly.

I wanted to hear opinions of people other than those frequenting marijuana retail sites, so I walked to a nearby park to see what people there had to say.

Denver resident Liz Griffith, 25, said concerns about Colorado becoming a magnet for marijuana tourism prompted her to vote against legalization. “I don’t want people to identify our state with marijuana,” she said. During recent travels outside the U.S., everyone she talked to seemed to identify Colorado with drug legalization.

“That’s not all the state has to offer,” Griffith told me. “Denver has a great culture, we have the Rocky Mountains. This state is about being in nature. There’s a lot more to us than pot.”

Her friend Megan Lloyd, 23, said she is also worried about Colorado’s reputation, and about the message sent by legalizing recreational use of the drug.

“Medically, I have no problem with it,” Lloyd said. “But when it comes to the pothead lifestyle, I don’t think it’s life-giving or great, and this law could open the door to that (lifestyle).”

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