Time.com reports that
A few days into the experiment, the new world of legal recreational marijuana sales in Colorado appears to be a big success—so much so that pot shops are finding it impossible to keep up with demand.
According to the Denver Post, at least 37 stores in Colorado were licensed to sell recreational pot to anyone 21 or over as of New Year’s Day. The Associated Press and others reported long lines outside Denver pot shops, with some eager customers forced to wait three to five hours before getting a chance to go inside, step up to the counter, and make a purchase.
Prices have been steep—in some cases, stores were charging $50 or even $70 for one-eighth of an ounce of pot that cost medical marijuana users just $25 the day before—and taxes add on an extra 20% or so. Even so, sales have been brisk.
The two operational pot shops in Pueblo collectively sold $87,000 of marijuana on January 1, per the Pueblo Chieftain, and store owners say that if demand persists anywhere near the current high, they’ll be sold out in the very near future. Likewise, Toni Fox, owner of the 3D Cannabis Center in Denver, told the Colorado Springs Gazette that a sellout is imminent. “We are going to run out,” she said on Thursday, day 2 of legal recreational marijuana sales. “It’s insane. This weekend will be just as crazy. If there is a mad rush, we’ll be out by Monday.”
Another Associated Press story noted that some shops had to close early on Wednesday because they’d didn’t have enough marijuana on hand to oblige customers.
For more than a month, many have speculated that Colorado pot shops would not be able to meet demand due to the limited number of stores open in the state, as well as tough regulations regarding how marijuana is grown and distributed at the wholesale level. Of course, strong demand—especially from “smokebirds,” a.k.a. out-of-state tourists visiting Colorado for legal marijuana purchases—also plays a big role. By most accounts, since January 1 more than half of pot sales have gone to non-Coloradans.
Prices in legal pot shops have already risen to upwards of $400 an ounce. Once you factor in taxes, as well as the fact that it looks like shops may periodically be sold out for a while, and some are saying the situation is one that could push pot enthusiasts back to buying marijuana on the black market. “People will get real tired of paying the taxes real fast,” one street dealer in Pueblo named Tracy told the Chieftain. “When you can buy an ounce from me for $225 to $300, the state adds as much as $90 just for the tax.”
“So, choomers in Colorado are getting “Rocky Mountain High”, KJ. So what? Their actions do not affect anyone else!”
Let’s examine this harmless wonder drug, shall we?
What exactly do we know about marijuana and it’s effects?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
Scientists have learned a great deal about how THC acts in the brain to produce its many effects. When someone smokes marijuana, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body.
THC acts upon specific sites in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors, kicking off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the “high” that users experience when they smoke marijuana. Some brain areas have many cannabinoid receptors; others have few or none. The highest density of cannabinoid receptors are found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentrating, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement.
Not surprisingly, marijuana intoxication can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory. Research has shown that, in chronic users, marijuana’s adverse impact on learning and memory can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off.2 As a result, someone who smokes marijuana every day may be functioning at a suboptimal intellectual level all of the time.
Research into the effects of long-term cannabis use on the structure of the brain has yielded inconsistent results. It may be that the effects are too subtle for reliable detection by current techniques. A similar challenge arises in studies of the effects of chronic marijuana use on brain function. Brain imaging studies in chronic users tend to show some consistent alterations, but their connection to impaired cognitive functioning is far from clear. This uncertainty may stem from confounding factors such as other drug use, residual drug effects, or withdrawal symptoms in long-term chronic users.
Long-term marijuana abuse can lead to addiction; that is, compulsive drug seeking and abuse despite the known harmful effects upon functioning in the context of family, school, work, and recreational activities. Estimates from research suggest that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases among those who start young (to about 17 percent) and among daily users (25-50 percent).
Long-term marijuana abusers trying to quit report withdrawal symptoms including: irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving, all of which can make it difficult to remain abstinent. These symptoms begin within about 1 day following abstinence, peak at 2-3 days, and subside within 1 or 2 weeks following drug cessation.
Marijuana and Mental Health
A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. Some of these studies have shown age at first use to be an important risk factor, where early use is a marker of increased vulnerability to later problems. However, at this time, it is not clear whether marijuana use causes mental problems, exacerbates them, or reflects an attempt to self-medicate symptoms already in existence.
Chronic marijuana use, especially in a very young person, may also be a marker of risk for mental illnesses – including addiction – stemming from genetic or environmental vulnerabilities, such as early exposure to stress or violence. Currently, the strongest evidence links marijuana use and schizophrenia and/or related disorders. High doses of marijuana can produce an acute psychotic reaction; in addition, use of the drug may trigger the onset or relapse of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals.
About a year ago, I was watching the local news when they announced that a fellow I graduated high school with, had escaped from custody, after trying to commit suicide, because the authorities were about to commit him to the looney bin for long-term treatment.
Even back in ’76, this guy had hung out outside the school building in what was affectionately called “the smoke hall”. And, of course, it was well known that he liked to smoke pot.
Even as I type this, I hear thousands of potheads, young and old (picture Tommy Chong), yelling at their monitors, and, among the words I can repeat, are words describing me as a clueless out-of-touch Bible-thumping old man, who doesn’t know what the He@@ he is talking about.
They’re screaming that pot is harmless, non-addictive, and safer than alcohol.
And, they also probably voted for Ron Paul.
…so, their judgement is questionable.
What matters to me, is the fact that no man is an island. No man stands alone. (Hey. That could be a nifty song title. But…I digress.)
And, people struck and killed by a stoned driver, are just as dead as those killed by a drunk driver.
So, stop eating your Cheetos, slackers, and listen tight: Your actions affect others. You are responsible to others. You are not alone in this world.
So, get up out of your bean bag, turn off the TV, move out of Mom’s Basement, and get a job.
Useless, clueless, and stoned is no way to go through life, son.
…Unless, of course, you’re the president.
Until He Comes,