In his 2008 book, The Geography of Bliss, Eric Weiner is searching for the happiest countries on our planet. He begins his adventure in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in a coffee shop named “The Alpha Blondie” by legally buying Moroccan marijuana and lighting up. “It is indeed a smooth smoke,” he concludes.
I was looking through some brochures in a hotel in Colorado this summer and found, much to my surprise, a Colorado Marijuana Tourism Map. Its cover showed a young couple observing downtown Denver from a park bench. Colorado is one of 8 states with full marijuana legalization. I live in Washington. It’s also one of the 8. Washington has reaped a billion dollar tax windfall since legalization occurred. Washington, DC, has also OKed legal marijuana. The other 6 states are Alaska, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada. and Oregon.
The brochure, which I kept, proclaims, “Colorado is the home of breathtaking mountain views…and high-quality legal cannabis!…Breathe deep, relax, and enjoy your stay in Colorado!” Its fold out map lists 40 places in Denver Metro where tourists can buy pot. Like in Oregon, the shops have clever names like Herban Underground. One called Freakys appears to be the Walmart of this new industry. It has 6 dispensaries in Denver Metro and branches, pun intended, in Bounder and Colorado Springs.
The brochure also lists DOs & DON’Ts. One Do is “Relax knowing that your vacation is 100% legal.” One DON’T is, “Do not consume Cannabis and drive.” A DUI, it explains, means “operating a motor vehicle with 5 nanograms or more THC per ml of blood”. It does not explain how to get a nanogramer. Perhaps Walmart sells them.
Those, like me, who find this brochure while looking for Colorado amusements, can also take a Cannabis Tour. One of them includes 420 friendly hotels. The brochure concludes that the legal Cannabis industry is growing faster than the dot-com boom.
Eric Weiner, an NPR correspondent at the time he wrote his book, goes on to write about and visit such happy countries as Switzerland and Bhutan. Iceland, he notes, is cold but surprisingly happy. Moldova, on the other hand, is one of the unhappiest places on Earth. Perhaps it should legalize marijuana.
Curious, I googled the world’s happiest countries in 2017 and was shocked at how many websites deal with this subject. The World Happiness Report finds that Norway is #1 despite the fact that it is illegal to have, sell, transport, and-or cultivate marijuana there. I once flew over Norway in the first week of March. The entire country below was covered with snow, which, I suppose, proves that you can be both happy and not light up in a very cold place.
ps The photo at the top was designed by freepik.com. The others are mine but unrelated to the subject. For some reason, I haven’t taken photos of any Oregon and Washington marijuana dispensaries. This many change.