Dear Stoner: I’ve never been to a dispensary; it looks amazing. I don’t have a medical card. Can I go to a recreational dispensary with only an ID? I know I can only get a quarter of an ounce ’cause I don’t live in Colorado.
Dear Gabe: Yes, it is pretty amazing. Buying pot legally is a feeling that every toker in America should have the joy of experiencing at least once. And congrats! You’ve got the Golden Ticket: a state-issued ID saying you’re at least 21 years old. (The medical marijuana registry is only available to in-state residents, which means you don’t have the option of paying less and avoiding the unreasonable special sales tax that jacks up your final amount by an additional 10 percent.) But we wouldn’t be good stoner friends if we didn’t remind you to smoke that quarter-ounce in a location that allows it. Despite the strides that Amendment 64 made for Colorado, it’s still illegal to consume pot in public. Over the 4/20 weekend alone, Denver cops wrote 243 marijuana-related tickets, mostly for public consumption. If you’re not staying with friends, make sure you’re in a smoke-friendly hotel or at least one with a balcony.
Dear Stoner: Some stoner at a party was talking about how safe marijuana is compared to alcohol and said that more people die drinking water every year than they do smoking weed. What was he talking about?
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Dear Jack: That stoner was right. Alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. between 2006 and 2010 averaged about 88,000 a year. Add to that the 10,000 or so drunk-driving-related deaths each year, and it’s a no-brainer: Pot is safer.
As for the death-by-water theory? He wasn’t lying about that, either. The condition is called water poisoning (dilutional hyponatremia, if you’re a stickler for proper medical terms), and it’s nasty. Basically, your brain absorbs too much water and swells — and that can eventually lead to seizures and death. Sounds nuts, right? Well, it happens. Most famously, the family of artist Andy Warhol claims the hospital where he spent his final days pumped him with too many fluids and killed him. Endurance athletes also face increased risk of death by water, and every year it seems someone dies as a result of drinking too much H20 in some hazing incident or contest.
Also more dangerous than cannabis: texting while driving (6,000-plus deaths every year in America) and dog mauling (more than thirty dog-related deaths in the U.S. each year). Hell, more people die each year choking themselves in a sex act than they do smoking or using cannabis.