You may or may not know that Colorado legalized Medicinal Marijuana in 2000. This was kinda nuts for the state. We had a number of “Doctor Nick” kinda doctors who would give you a so-called “red card” that would allow you to buy Medicinal Marijuana to treat what ailed you and, golly, the list of things that ailed you that were covered by the red card was long and suspicious. Sure, it covered insomnia and back pain but it also covered headaches. Stress. Writer’s Cramp. Pretty much the only thing it didn’t cover was PTSD. Which meant that weed stores sprouted up all over town.
This allowed for a fun thing to show friends from out of town. On the drive between our house and the edge of town down one of the main arteries, we passed a dozen medicinal stores. You’d just say “let’s start counting them!” when you left the house and have your guest number them off. They’d get a great story for when they went back home.
Well, you almost definitely know that Colorado legalized Recreational Marijuana back in 2012. This makes visits from out-of-towners even *MORE* fun. Show them the ads from the back of the Colorado Springs Independent and they would see the numbers and freak out and say something like “I paid more than that back in 1993! AND THOSE WERE CLINTON DOLLARS!” Or they’d say, as a recent houseguest said to us, “I can’t believe that you guys have this many marijuana stores in town.”
“Those are dispensaries”, we told her. “You’d need a red card. You have to leave town if you want recreational.”
Which makes this next bit of story kinda funny:
Until very recently, you couldn’t buy booze in the grocery store here. Like, we had 3.2 beer but that’s it. And by “3.2 beer”, I mean “beer that had 3.2 percent alcohol by volume beer”. Like, if you go to the liquor store and purchase a case of Bud? That has 5% alcohol by volume. Here, the grocery stores were prohibited by law to sell anything stronger than 3.2. So if you wanted a sixer to help you deal with the fact that you just mowed the lawn? I hope you enjoy peeing because you’d have to drink all six if you wanted to be riding the same buzz that four “real” beers would get you to. And don’t even think about wine being sold in the grocery store.
This made my visits back to such places as Michigan somewhat surreal. “YOU GUYS SELL WINE IN THE GROCERY STORE?!?” I’d yell right there in the middle of the meat aisle as I boggled at the bottle of wine they had right there 2 feet away from the steak. Then we’d walk down the wine aisle in an Albertson’s and I’d boggle at how their wine selection in a freakin’ Albertson’s was better than I had in my little local liquor store near the college. They sold wine at the *GAS STATION*! And then someone would find out that I was from Colorado and we’d exchange “I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!”s over how they did things in the strange place far away.
Well, back in 2016, the Colorado Legislature passed a law saying that grocery stores would soon be able to sell full-strength beer and some grocery stores (like Costco, say) would be able to pick *ONE* store in a jurisdiction and sell everything that a liquor store would sell. (This protected little local Mom&Pop liquor stores, you see.)
All that to say: you can now buy booze at the Costco on Nevada here in town. Like, walk past the books, walk past the shirts, walk past the jeans, walk past the life-sized Santa Clauses and there it is. A full bottle of whiskey. Next to vodka. Next to gin. Next to wine. Next to the refrigerator cases where you’d get your cheeses, hummuses, and pork chops.
And you wouldn’t believe how transgressive it feels.
Anyway, this weekend is the Semi-Annual (Bi-Annual?) Company Picnic and we’re going up to the campground and going to make smores and count stars and maybe drink a bottle of wine that we got at Costco as we watch the campfire turn into a bunch of embers before falling asleep in one of the cabins they have reserved for folks up there. And then wake up, make breakfast, and then get ready to schmooze with our partners, our competitors, and anybody they bring along for a few hours before going home and collapsing in a heap. And then recover for a couple of years.
So… what’s on your docket?
(Image is “Play” by Clare Briggs. Used with permission of the Briggs estate.)