I was born and raised in Colorado. Cannabis was never like this before now. The culture is focused on marijuana. Colorado was known for its mountains and now it’s known as “The Weed State.” It is harder for young people to resist the temptation. They have easier access. It is all around you. Even when you are in a parking lot with your windows down from people using in public gets into your car.
There is no problem with being legal age; you can get it from parents, your older brother, neighbors, neighbors who own dispensaries, and at high school or college. I had a teacher in school, who had marks against his record, who would lock the doors of his classroom and teach us how to use drugs safely.
I was living in an apartment in Colorado where marijuana was used a lot; it was almost everywhere. I had to go to the Emergency Room twice in a year, and paid for many doctor’s appointments afterward due to someone else’s marijuana use. I couldn’t breathe. I’m prone to asthma attacks and every time my next-door neighbors smoked marijuana in their apartment or on their patio, it irritated my lungs. I would cough so much, I’d throw up and couldn’t breathe. The smell would come through our adjacent wall. I would get headaches. I had bronchitis. It would get better, but when they smoked, I would have another asthma attack. They would have marijuana parties with pipes and bongs on their patio (by my patio) with up to eight people. Even though I am in my 20s secondhand smoke harms me and this would cause me to miss work and school.
I complained to my apartment complex; the apartment was supposed to be “smoke-free”. They said they were sorry, but since they didn’t know if the residents had a medical marijuana card, and they couldn’t ask them, the best they could do was to put a letter on the door with their apartment regulations. The apartment complex representative told me I could call the Colorado Police and report it. I asked, “What are the police going to do about someone smoking marijuana in Colorado?”
For two years I made active complaints three times a day. I didn’t feel protected by the apartment management; they protected the smokers.
It’s not easy to move financially, and I was concerned that I would have the same problem in another apartment. I was so sick, that my mom had to help me break my lease, and I moved back with my parents. My health improved after getting out of this toxic environment.
I don’t know if there is any hope to change Colorado to keep cannabis away from people like me who can’t be around secondhand smoke. Because of their own greed, they are not going to protect me or anyone else. They are bringing in money from the dispensaries. We have a right to clean air due to the Clean Air Act, but the secondhand smoke concerns only apply to tobacco.
Even if residents have a medical marijuana card, I don’t think medicine should be something to smoke. You shouldn’t be breathing it into your lungs, and I shouldn’t have to breathe it into mine either.
Molly, a young adult who lives in Colorado