06 March 2014

Colorado High

Cruising in Colorado takes on a whole new smell

I have lived in Colorado for 24 years. I thought I would stay for 6 months, but one job turned into another and one sport morphed into the next. There seemed reason to stay. Colorado is not my home state, I was born in Los Angeles County in a time when orange groves still filled much of the valleys and days were spent on sandy beaches with lively tidepools or at extremely cheap ski resorts in local mountains.

Over the twenty-four years I have resided in Colorado I have witnessed the changing environment and tremendous growth. With the sprawl of housing covering the landscape and the congested traffic clogging our streets. Yet recently a huge change has come to my adopted state. It has been in the news enough that you have likely heard that marijuana has been made legal in the state of Colorado.

This affects me in one simple way - the city of Denver now reeks of the stuff.

Last Saturday the temperature rose above 50 degrees in what has been a brutally cold winter. My joy rose to the point that I felt a cruiser bike ride was in order. I pumped the deflated tires and hopped on my bike. I was only blocks into my ride when I smelled that scent emanating from a home within my neighborhood. Wow, I used to smell the scent of barbeques, now it's pot, how times are changing, I thought.

Half a mile up the road at an intersection, a car passed me with that same scent billowing from its windows. Great, driving and smoking, I thought. I joined onto the bike path and began my cruise in the sunshine. As I rode the path towards downtown, I saw the familiar sight of homeless people. As I passed the scent wafted skyward. Well, homeless can now smoke it in public and afford it, I thought as I pedaled onward.

I was now about three miles from home when I saw a couple strolling together along the path, and you guessed it - the scent. Ok, what is going on here?, I thought. My city has totally changed. I feel like I am in Amsterdam, I thought.

It is one thing to hear about it in the news, or to understand that our local government is making millions off of sales tax, but the scent of marijuana is changing how my senses interact with my neighborhood and my state.

I am not really making a political opinionated statement here, I am simply stating an observed change in the everyday lives of citizens of this state. Although I would like to state my opinion that I need to be more aware of those scented-drivers while cruising along on my bike rides. They sort of scare me in an already unsafe for bicycles city scene.

Today it is expected to be in the high 60's in Denver. Finally more warmth and sunshine, and clean mountain air.  Make that a maybe on the clean air part.

We have lived up to our unofficial State theme song by John Denver - Rocky Mountain High. Did you know the Colorado State Flower is the Columbine? I hope it doesn't get replaced by some other leafy symbol.