Go West Young Person

Originally published in The Inquisitor

A few years ago, I picked up a day job working in East Texas for a medical company that was promoting a new treatment for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). I was in the office of a pulmonologist recording a script for a video explainer for new COPD patients. During a break to work on the script, I asked the doctor, “what about marijuana smokers?”  My kids were in Caddo Magnet which has a strong reputation for drug abuse. I was hoping for some good anti-drug evidence on the evils of smoking marijuana.

The respected pulmonologist shocked the med rep, and me frankly, when he shot back that there was nothing wrong with smoking marijuana. In fact, he said that he had never treated a patient that had smoked only marijuana for any lung diseases. The med rep bristled and twisted in her seat. The doc even said that he recommended to his son, who had remained in Colorado after college, that he stay away from alcohol as much as possible, and only smoke marijuana, which was newly legal in Colorado.

That wasn’t the answer this young dad was expecting. A lot of my good friends had experimented heavily with college during drugs in the late 70s and early 80s. They went on to become some of the finest engineers, lawyers, and doctors. My friends will remember me as a Republican in those days before the party slipped it moorings during the first Bush administration. I was the guy sitting home nights with my Bible/Constitution Concordance scribbling notes.

So, this month United Airlines announced non-stop service from Shreveport to Denver, only months after my son had followed his cohort in moving west to Colorado.  This got me to thinking, “why are so many couples making three-day weekends in Colorado that United opened up direct flights?”  Could it be that the Texas doctor’s predictions had come to pass?

In January 2021, Colorado marijuana sales set a record of $187.5 million. According to Forbes, during the previous six years, Colorado has collected over $1.6 billion in taxes on marijuana sales. That would patch a lot of potholes in Louisiana or line a lot of legislator’s pockets to look at it another way. It would also make room in a lot of Sheriff’s jails for violent offenders.

Colorado’s Marijuana Tax Cash Fund goes to their capital construction grant program that funds schools applying for money to build a new building or remove an old building to take care of their rapid school population growth. There is $25 million set aside for school districts in Colorado to set up full day kindergarten programs which not only makes for better educational outcomes but frees up parents to work and become more productive for their families.

It almost seems that since 2012, Colorado citizens and tourists have smoked their way into a better Colorado. No wonder Shreveport residents who can afford to travel there are doing it in sufficient numbers to merit, “direct non-stop service to Denver”. PerkWrites@gmail.com