Ask a Stoner: William Breathes answers your questions about Amendment 64 and more
Dear Stoner: Does the new law mean I can just smoke it wherever and whenever I want? If so, the Rockpile just got a whole lot better. -- Hit a Homer
Dear Hit: I'm not going to stop you. But the police might, and that's a bummer. Public use and consumption is still illegal under Amendment 64. You'll be able to light up at your house, your friend's house, or any other establishment being used for a private function. But even in the smoking section of your favorite bar patio or major-league baseball stadium, you won't be able to legally light a joint -- not that the law seems to stop anyone these days.
Dinger and his binger.
Also, all you stoney skiers and boarders should keep in mind that while puffing on the lifts might be a Colorado tradition, most of the time you're on leased federal land -- and no matter what Colorado lawmakers decide, the feds still consider pot illegal. It's your call if you want to indulge in civil disobedience, but if you do, be sure to sure to share with your chair-mates.
Dear Stoner: If Colorado is like Amsterdam now, can I start a pot coffee shop or bar with a private lounge and let people smoke marijuana inside? -- Diesel Espresso
Dear Diesel: Sorry, but Colorado isn't like Amsterdam. For one, we don't have anywhere near the same number of dour German tourists looking to unwind with hookers and mid-grade marijuana.
And second: No, there won't be any hash bars. At least, not legally.
We pitched the question to an attorney familiar with licensing regulations in Denver and state law, and his response was rather telling in regard to how likely such ventures would be to pass. After about a minute of laughing into the other end of the phone, he said the answer would be "No. No, no, no, no. Absolutely fucking not. No."
Hash lounge in Amsterdam.
As he points out, any privately owned business open to the general public (even limited private-membership places like country clubs) are considered public entities when it comes to regulation. And according to Amendment 64, public consumption is illegal. That means both smoking outdoors, as well as smoking in public places (or both, like Red Rocks). As our attorney points out: "You can't just open up a private club and decide that indentured slavery is okay."
He also pointed out that the attorneys who have been saying that smoke lounges will be possible are the same ones who advise their dispensary clients to ignore cease-and-desist letters from the U.S. Attorney's Office. Take that as you will. All of this could change down the line if attitudes shift about public consumption and the legislature (or the people) decide to do something about it.
In the meantime, Colorado smokers will continue to light up stealth one-hits on the patios of coffee shops and bars across the state.
Dear Stoner: What is the beer equivalent of one ounce? A case? Two cases? Four cases? With one toke of pot, what do you think? -- Bud the Beginner
Dear Bud: Only one toke of pot? At least hit the herb three or four times if you're going to do it at all. No, I get what you're asking here, and really, there's not much of a comparison. But for the sake of trying (and without getting into esoteric stuff about the different experiences of marijuana and alcohol), here we go:
An ounce is roughly 28 grams of herb. You can roll upwards of sixty joints out of that if you're keeping it to a half-gram in each joint (you could also be packing that amount into a pipe or a vaporizer, for that matter). It's not a lot, but enough for an average person to get a buzz for an hour or two. People who like smoking a lot of cannabis go through anywhere from a couple grams a day on up.
Now, take your average American beer -- like, say, Coors original or Railyard Ale by Wynkoop Brewing (you know, the one our Guv used to own). Those are around 5 percent alcohol by volume, and most people wouldn't admit to feeling much of a buzz. But two or three in a row, and you're ready for a Broncos game.
Here's the big difference, though: If you were to go on to smoke all sixty of those joints, you'd either be asleep, really hungry, watching a movie, or a combination of all three (see any night at the Oriental Theater's Mile High Movies to see what I mean). At worst, your throat is going to hurt and you'll understand why getting a vaporizer is an investment worth making.
Drink sixty beers and you're either a Kappa Sigma senior at CU Boulder and about to make some poor choices with that freshman from your English class, or (more likely) puking up the majority of those beers into a toilet and possibly going to the hospital with alcohol poisoning [cue comments from morons bragging about how "sixty beers is nothing, you lightweight stoner pansy"].
I know what you're saying now: "That makes perfect sense, Breathes. What doesn't make sense is why the Amendment would limit you to one ounce, and yet I can go out and buy all the booze I want." Yeah, the authors of the amendment chose to write their bill that way based on polling -- clearly not on common sense. But it's what we've got for now, so make that ounce count. Or just have a friend bring over some of his stash if you're really getting down for a night.
Have more questions about Amendment 64 -- or just wonder why marijuana and classic rock go so well together? Shoot an e-mail to Ask a Stoner at firstname.lastname@example.org