From across the parking lot, I thought I saw the words: Magnolia Road. This kind of experience happens to me a lot when I travel back to Colorado. Not necessarily the Magnolia thing, but when I see a Denver Broncos T-shirt on a kid passing by, I do a double take. Or when I am riding down the street and I look up to see a Colorado lisence plate on a passing car. As it turns out, I should expect that I would see Centennial State objects and memorabilia in and around the state where they are generated. All the cars have Colorado lisence plates, and while not all kids wear orange and blue there certainly seems to be a preponderance of them about the Denver metro area. Still, the "Magnolia Road" sign gave me pause.
Traveling up Boulder Canyon, there is a winding mountain lane that rises abruptly into the mountains, up into the trees and rocks and thin air. This was the path my family took innumerable times, when it was still just a dirt road, on our way to our cabin in the woods. During the late sixties and seventies, this is where we spent the summers. I lived up there with my family during the hippie days, when our neighbors lived in teepees and geodesic domes. They wore tie-dye and their hair long. They smoked pot. It was on Magnolia Road that I first came into contact with marijuana.
That's why I was taken aback when I saw that the sign across the parking lot had a smaller line, visible as I walked closer. At the bottom it read: Cannabis. I was standing in front of a pot shop. I was in Colorado, and just as much as Bronco T-shirt and green shilouette mountains can be found on lisence plates, there are pot shops all around. This one just happened to be named for my childhood haunts. Intrigued, I stepped inside.
I was greeted by an enthusiastic host, who explained the separation of medicinal and recreational pot, and how I had stumbled into the phramecutical side, but if I was interested, he was happy to show me next door where marijuana was being sold, legally, for recreational purposes. There I was met by an equally gregarious employee who asked to see my ID before opening the locked door to the showroom. I shared with her the travels that had brought me here, explaining that I was happy and intrigued by what I felt was progress. Forward into my past.
I was shown the buds and pipes and edibles and other paraphenaila. I knew that I wouldn't be buying any pot, since my days as a consumer were behind me. Sometime between that initial smell in the mountains and a hazy period of years in college, I had my fill. That didn't keep me from buying a hemp T-shirt, green with the store's logo printed on the back. It was my souvenir of a time long ago. And right now.