Thanks to the statewide legalization of recreational marijuana, Colorado is now sitting pretty on rolling hills of sweet cannabis under anthropomorphic smiling clouds made of evaporated bong water (while the rest of us remain condemned to huff glue from under our drab desks). Or at least that's what they'd be doing, if things were as simple as the reggae-abusing local news segments make it seem. Why's that?
#4. For Banks, Weed Money Is Still Drug Money
With the exception of the many times they've done it in the past, banks don't like breaking federal laws, especially drug laws (except when they totally do). In the case of Colorado, it appears that they've listened to McGruff the Crime Dog and D.A.R.E.D. to say "no" to drugs -- even the ones that are now legal.
So where does that leave dispensary owners? Standing knee deep in basements pooled with wads of cash, like a dank-nug-scented Scrooge McDuck reboot.
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They're about a week away from some stoner breaking his neck trying to swim in it.
The result is a completely legal industry having to handle cash like they're Walter White -- discreetly transporting bricks of thousands, lying to banks, and hiding money in Tupperware to mask the scent of pot. And you may be thinking that sounds pretty dangerous for the owners, but what does Joe Average care as long as he gets to smoke a blunt without any consequences? Well, about that ...
#3. You Can Still Be Fired for Smoking at Home
On January 1, recreational dispensaries opened their doors to the public. On January 2, the public awoke and realized that they still had to go to work, if only to afford more weed. But unlike your still-smelling-of-booze workmates, it turns out that pot stank and stories of Taco Bell adventures can still totally get your ass shit-canned in the time it takes to piss in a cup.
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That's not a fern.
The reason? Even if pot was legalized in 49 states (we've all given up on Alabama, right?), it would still be illegal under current federal law. And while some of you are probably whipping out your medical marijuana cards, don't bother -- that's exactly what a Dish Network employee who smoked the stuff on account of being a quadriplegic did, and he still got fired.
But maybe you don't live in Colorado; maybe you're just planning a Cheech and Chong-theme vacation this year instead of going to Disney. There's no problem with that, right?
#2. You Still Can't Smoke in Public
When we heard that pot was legalized, we all imagined hordes of men and women in knit caps all simultaneously turning town squares into party quads -- which would have ended with cops macing everyone, since the newly obtained drug amnesty only applies to private property. Combined with Colorado's statewide smoking ban for restaurants and bars and the fact that most hotels are less than willing to allow pot smoking in their rooms just yet, this means tourists have pretty much nowhere to casually light up.
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"I forgot the lighter."
The only options come in the form of specialized bus tours, because drowning a bus driver in pot smoke sounds super safe. Some also offer skiing, which happens to be illegal to do while high. And if you think you might be able to take a few desperate draws while rushing to your return-home flight, think again, because that shit is naturally banned from the airports as well.
But, you know, let's not forget the most important thing here: At least you can't go to jail for it anymore.
#1. You Can Still Totally Go to Jail for It
Just because you broke a law that no longer exists doesn't mean you didn't break it -- just ask the people doing jail time for pot charges in Colorado. As anyone who just got a traffic court date for next Christmas knows, ours isn't the fastest legal system ever, which means there are still a lot of pending weed-related cases. A lot of those charges have been dropped, but not all ... because the decision is completely up to each county. Weld County, for instance, said "Nope, still going after potheads."
Kind of bullshit for a place that's mostly grass anyway.
Likewise, the Department of Justice could go after ganja users, but the president said "meh" and told them to stand down. And it's not like the policies of the president ever suddenly shift every few years, right?
Wait, no, they totally do. That means that the next leader of the country could, under federal law, make a pretty gigantic example of a certain red-eyed Rocky Mountain state. Consider your buzz harshed.