Life With Legal Weed…

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From The Atlantic

A conversation with middle-aged moms, homeless men, and college kids about post-prohibition in Boulder, Colorado

The most eclectic gathering spot in Boulder, Colorado, is the Pearl Street Mall, a pedestrian thoroughfare at the heart of downtown. Alongside its relatively pricey stores and restaurants, there is an outdoor concert venue, a children’s play area, and the seat of county government. Activists stand on Pearl Street seeking signatures; street performers treat its sidewalks as a stage; drunk collegians spill from bars to sit drunk on its planters; homeless people sleep nearby. Amid it all I spotted Texas Fred, a 68-year-old on a late-night stroll. A thin man with aviator eyeglasses and shoulder-length gray hair, he wore a floral-print shirt and held a guitar case like it was his most valued possession. It was almost 11 p.m. when I approached asking if I could talk with him about cannabis. Fred wasn’t surprised. “Everything about me screams, ‘He smokes marijuana!’” he said.

For more than a decade, Colorado residents have been able to buy or grow a limited amount of marijuana for medicinal purposes. More recently, the state’s voters sanctioned an entire marijuana industry, complete with licensed pot farms, retail stores, and a wave of tourist patrons. Fred was visiting from Chicago. Once a year, his wife lets him go off on the road to scrape by as a bohemian musician. He’d left home three weeks earlier with $100, stopped in St. Louis where he played on the street for tips, and finally made it to Boulder, coasting into town on fumes. By the time I met him, he’d earned enough for several visits to marijuana dispensaries. Before we parted, he helped me understand why legalization matters more than a casual visitor might realize…

Complete story here
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