Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

"Rocky Mountain High" deserves to be our official state song -- with these lyrics

Sing-a-Bong

On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on HB 1284, which would regulate — some say snuff out — the medical marijuana industry in this state. It's a sad come-down for the Colorado Legislature, the very body that back in 2007 made John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" — complete with drug references — the state's second official song (along with "Where the Columbine Grow"). Since the sponsor of that measure, former state senator Bob Hagedorn, is now working as a lobbyist with the medical-marijuana groups, the time seems right to offer an update on our co-state song:

Rocky Mountain High

They were green when summoned for a new legislative year
Blowing smoke on a subject they'd never tried before
They left yesterday behind them, you might say they were born again
You might say they found a key for exhaling more

When Amendment 20 passed, the state was looking great
Riding high and singing a happy song
But the budget's turned to dust and the boom has gone to bust
It keeps changin' fast and it don't last for long

And the Colorado rocky mountain high
Could save this state from going high and dry
Medical marijuana should be so easy to buy
Rocky mountain high

They licensed the dispensaries, they tightened up the cards
They put rules wherever they could be
And the patients they got crazy and complained about all the laws
They lost the right in all but memory

Now they walk in smoke rings through the hallways and the rooms
Seeking votes with every step they take
Their sight has turned inside to try and understand
A need deeper than a clear blue mountain lake

And the Colorado rocky mountain high
Could save this state from going high and dry
Inhale, talk to God and listen to the casual reply
Rocky mountain high

Now their bills are going forward but still they know some fear
Of a simple thing they cannot comprehend
Why they try to tear the system down to bring in a couple more
More laws, more rules upon the land

And the Colorado rocky mountain high
Could save this state from going high and dry
And we know we'd be a poorer place if we never gave pot a try
Rocky mountain high

It's Colorado rocky mountain high
We've seen it rainin' money from the sky
Friends around the Capitol and everybody's high
Rocky mountain high...

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun

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