Top Ten Things to Expect When Your State Legalizes Marijuana

Nearly two dozen states have legalized marijuana for medical use; four states now allow the sale of recreational cannabis to adults – and many more states are considering doing the same. Nevada already has a measure that would legalize pot on its November ballot, California is in the process of crafting its own initiative, and Vermont's governor may allow legislators to make the move without even taking a vote to the people.

But still, Colorado was the first place in the country with stores that actually sold legal marijuana, and as a result, people are forever looking here for an idea of what will happen if pot is legalized in their own states. “It is the elephant in the room,” says Cathy Ritter, the new state tourism head who moved here from Illinois. “Everyone does want to know about the impact of marijuana in Colorado.”

In fact, last week I was in San Diego talking to an Urban Land Institute group about exactly that, and was reminded exactly how cannabis-curious people are about Colorado. So In the interest of saving time, future travel expenses and the effort required to debunk those omnipresent marijuana myths, here's a handy list of the top ten things you can expect once marijuana is legalized where you live. 10. When you tell people outside of your state where you are from, the first – and perhaps only – thing they will want to talk about is marijuana.

9. Warehouses in the least desirable parts of town – and in the state's least desirable towns – will suddenly look very attractive to ganjapreneurs looking for places to grow marijuana.
8. These parts of town will suddenly start smelling rather skunky.

7. Wary publishers will think twice about mailing out-of-state any publications that contain advertising for marijuana businesses: Remember, the Postal Service is a federal agency (if one that moves slower than an excessive cannabis consumer).

6. You will never look at a brownie again without asking if it is “special.”
Continue reading for numbers 1-5 of Ten Things To Expect When Your State Legalizes Marijuana.
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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