Amidst the expanse of the high plains of the Rockies are sparse communities, and the first of which I hit when I got to Colorado had a Marijuana Dispensary. In fact, pretty much every town in Colorado seems to have at least one store selling cannabis products and related paraphenalia, and they seem, well, pretty normal. People come and go like any other store, and the customers look like a cross-section of society. OK maybe mostly younger, but all ages were represented. You have to show you are over 18 or whatever - you even need to do that for guns and alcohol - and you are suddenly in a place where something that can get you executed for in many parts of the world is totally normal. The wide range of products includes pharmaceutical doses in whatever form of ingestion you can imagine. It really is remarkable. Why can't entrepreneurs everywhere do this?
The world goes on without the freedom to buy the stuff having any discernible negative impact. Nasty things happen in Colorado, much like anywhere, but cannabis availability does not seem to contribute. In fact everyone seems nicely chilled. After years or research in which nobody has been able to really point the finger at anything particularly bad about the drug, Colorado and other enlightened places have recognised a fundamental human liberty: Consenting adults should be able to do pretty much whatever they like behind closed doors, provided the welfare of minors is not put at risk. Probably the prohibitionists disagree and clearly it is not a liberty everyone agrees with, but the main objections seem to be in a prudish displeasure that people are actually enjoying the stuff. However, the medicinal benefits are widely touted and for many people cannabis provides genuine relief from discomfort where other treatments fail. Some might argue that we should put those decisions in the hands of doctors, but it is hard to understand why they should be gatekeepers for access to a weed that does, on balance, more good than harm.
The main reason I was in Colorado was to ski. However I had relatively little time and could only manage one resort if I was to get to Jackson Hole. I agonised over the choices, but settled on Vail. If any US resort is consistently compared favourably with the biggest resorts in Europe, it is Vail. Suffice it to say, everything about it was impressive, the staff even know your name! However it was fiendishly expensive. In fact, overall I would say the USA is at least as expensive as anywhere else I have skied. And that includes Switzerland. But it was good, very good.