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Dear Stoner: Is it easier to get high at high altitude?

Dear Stoner: Is it easier to get high at high altitude, as it is to get drunk?

Tipsy McSpliff

Dear Tipsy: Brace yourself, because you might not like the answer. The altitude/alcohol connection is actually a myth. In fact, your tax dollars went to a Federal Aviation Administration study on this exact thing. The FAA tested people in a pressure chamber that could simulate the air and air pressure of any altitude, and they found no difference between the effects of booze on people at sea level and those at elevations like Colorado's. Your body can only process alcohol so fast. If anything, the booze is mixing with the effect of higher and drier climates on your body, which includes dehydration and tiring easily. But that's not exclusive to high altitudes. Less water in your blood plus more alcohol equals a quick drunk on the beach as easily as it does at Winter Park.

The same, then, would most likely be true with pot. Yes, it is a lot easier to get winded and lightheaded smoking a joint at 10,000 feet due to the lack of oxygen than it is down here at a mile high — but you aren't getting any higher. As with alcohol in your stomach, your lungs can only process so much THC at one time — and altitude doesn't change that.

Dear Stoner: What's going to happen to small-time dealers in January?

Not Really All That Concerned

Dear Not Really: Adults 21 and over can only legally buy marijuana from a dispensary (recreational or medical), as those are the only entities licensed to sell cannabis in Colorado. Individual sales of herb between two adults (even those 21 and up) are still illegal. The state also says that trading recreational pot for services is verboten. So things like "free" ounces with the purchase of a $200 bumpersticker — a tactic used right after Amendment 64 passed until law enforcement caught on and crashed the party — is still illegal. Adults over 21 can give each other pot for free, as long as it's an ounce or less.

As for small-time dealers, they're likely to feel a pinch as customers realize they no longer need to be at the beck and call of one person's schedule when they can either grow their own or pick from forty-plus strains at a store. Still, there are several reasons someone might still buy off the "black market": they're underage, for example, or taxes jack up the prices too much at the legal shops. While we might expect to see cops cracking down on sales at Civic Center Park, it's doubtful that busting someone selling a few ounces to friends out of his personal garden at cost will be a high priority for law enforcement.


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