Why the Pot Humor is Cashed

It’s not funny anymore, try different jokes.

By Sara Marie Seidel, University of Colorado at Boulder

When Coloradans first realized that Denver is exactly one mile above sea level, they decided to call it the “mile high city.”

As they giggled among themselves thinking about how clever they were, I doubt any of them were thinking about the double entendre the phrase would come to hold in the future.

Medical use of marijuana has always been legal here (and by always I mean since around 2000), but recreational use of the drug is still freshly legal (and by freshly I mean 2013-ish).

As a college freshman at the University of Colorado Boulder in 2013, the game was changed forever. Not only were we the “mile high city,” we were also literally the highest city in the nation.

Now, just because I don’t poke smot doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a defining component of my college career. I can say with confidence that nearly every college house I’ve been to has had at least one bong sitting on the coffee table. A lot of students walk around campus with vape pens, blowing smoke into the air that I walk through seconds after. Even sixty-year-old Bill from my Lit Theory class has a vape pen.

My best friend’s boyfriend even tends to a few plants that he probably refers to, in a Gollum voice, as “his precious” (I know I would). I just signed a lease after the landlord gave us a tour of the house in which one of the bedroom doors was locked. He had mumbled under his breath, “This kid is growing pot in here. Well, I hope he has the legal number of plants.” The crazy thing is that aside from the pens in public, it’s all legal. Hey, those are just e-cigs, right?

Denver's 4/20 RallyAside from being a college town filled with weed, Boulder is also infamous for their “4/20 smoke out” at the Norlin Quad on campus, which hasn’t happened since before 2011 due to cannabis closure, I mean campus closure.

Last year was the first year CU allowed the campus to remain open on 4/20, but yellow hazard tape and police officers surrounding the field made sure there would be no joints lit.

Besides, there’s a 4/20 rally in Denver every year so I’m sure not many people were left out. No matter what day 4/20 lands on (Easter you say? Blazin’ and Praisin’), Coloradans never fail to partake in the day’s festivities.

But after three years of going to school in Boulder and catching daily whiffs of the skunk-like aroma, I’ve grown tired of how Colorado has become the glorified pot capital of America.

We do other things here too you know, like ski in our lovely Rocky Mountains, hike one of our thousands of hiking trails and see concerts at the beautiful Red Rocks Amphitheater.

It’s as if there’s no other state in the US that doesn’t smoke weed recreationally. By the way, I’m talking about you, Washington, Oregon and Alaska—step up your game and take our title. Also, we get it, Portland, you’re the original hipster and deeming yourself the “Weed Capital of America” would be too un-hipster of you.

Yes, I know Denver is one mile high, and I know when you nudge me after saying “high” that you mean high off smoking pot, but no, you’re not funny. Year after year I attend a family reunion in Chesterfield, Missouri, and year after year my relatives ask me to bring edibles next time. I always laugh and shrug it off, but no, I don’t want grandma eating a pot brownie and neither should you.

Luckily, the country has grown used to Colorado’s new favorite hobby so the jokes have mellowed and nearly subsided, but other countries are still buzzing about the news.

In December of 2014 I went to Australia to visit friends and each person never failed to ask about Colorado’s weed. “Are you just high all the time?” they asked innocently. “Do you only eat shrimp on the barbie?” I asked in return.

Regardless of being sick of all the weed questions and jokes, I still tried to show my friends down under how to properly roll a joint (I live in Boulder, what do you expect) and advised them to stop smoking out of homemade water bottle bongs. Ah, the good old ninth-grade days of water bottle bongs. Given that the topic of legalizing marijuana in parts of the US was over-sensationalized on foreign TV, I can only imagine what they think of our current presidential race.

Although my feelings toward foreigners and out-of-staters are mostly annoyance when they ask about weed, I also get self-conscious. When traveling domestically, people make small talk on the airplane and, being an extrovert, I’m happy to strike up a conversation with just about anyone.

But when the conversation leads to where I’m from and where I go to school, I get a little pang of anxiety that the person I’m talking to is going to have a predetermined judgment of me. More often than not, if you’re a college aged kid, or can pass as one (bless your heart), the people you meet automatically assume 1.) You’re still really clueless as to how most of the world works, and 2.) You party your little heart out.

In addition to that, if you’re from Colorado, the random person seated next to you on the flight also assumes that you probably smoke weed. A lot of older, business-like adults are polite enough to step around the fact that Colorado, specifically CU Boulder, likes their ganja, but from time to time you’ll get the occasional “Right on!”

It’s been a blessing and a curse being from Colorado. It’s the best state out of the 50 hands down, with its ski resorts, music venues, hip mountain towns and outrageously beautiful sunsets. But I feel like all of the state’s good attributes are shadowed under a cloud of smoke—weed smoke to be exact. I’m by no means against weed but the jokes and generalizations are old; Colorado is more than willing to pass the joint to the next state.


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