Weediversary: 5 years after Amendment 64, Fort Collins community reflects on marijuana legalization

Nick Botkin

Colorado is celebrating its fifth year of marijuana legalization. Photo by Olive Ancell | Collegian

Rocky Mountain High took on a new meaning Nov. 6, 2012.

That is when Colorado legalized recreational marijuana with the passage of Amendment 64. The amendment passed with 55.32 percent of the vote. As a result, people over 21 can possess up to an ounce of recreational marijuana, including edibles. Marijuana has also been legal medicinally since 2000.

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On the fifth anniversary of legalization, residents of Fort Collins have their own perspectives.

Morgan Iacono, a junior history major at Colorado State University, sees legalization as a positive.

“My brother-in-law smokes,” Iacono said. “It is safer for him to do his own thing now.”

Iacono said her nephew is attending an elementary school funded by marijuana revenue. She thinks legalization in Colorado will help shape the national debate around marijuana, possibly leading to decriminalization of the drug.

But not everyone is high about legalization.

“I think it has a lot more of a negative impact,” said Jordan Stennis, a sophomore civil engineering major. 

Stennis said that because of taxation, people may be more inclined to buy through a dealer. Legalization also contributes to underage delinquency because people do not understand the laws. 

“I do not think it will ever be legalized nationally,” Stennis said.

Some students say marijuana has become less of a stigma culturally.

“It is more open,” said Adam Phillips, a freshman business administration major. “You see it more on the street…you have more pot shops.”

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Phillips is from Washington state, which also legalized marijuana in 2012.

Sarah Wingard, a junior ecosystem sciences major, is from Seattle. She agrees that cultural attitudes toward marijuana have improved.

“It has become less of a burnout,” Wingard said.

Wingard said that there is more of a distinctive pot culture in Seattle.

“It is way more hardcore,” Wingard said. “It smells like weed everywhere.”

Other Fort Collins residents take little notice.

“I do not really have one,” said Ross Madden, a staff member of the College of Natural Sciences at CSU. “I think wherever we bring revenue…at the state level, that is cool.” 

For him, there has been no profound cultural change that he has noticed. 

“I do not think there has been an overwhelming negative beyond the jokes,” Madden said.

Madden added that it is too early to tell whether Colorado’s model is successful.

“The one thing that worries me are the edibles,” Madden said, noting that he is a father.

Colorado recently banned the sales of certain edibles, including gummy bears, that might appeal to children.

Madden said legalization is inevitable elsewhere. “Eventually it is a thing.” 

Weed joke by Conan O’Brien: A Colorado company has introduced the first-ever marijuana vending machine. As a result, the vending machines around it are doing much better.

Collegian reporter Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @dudesosad