Paul E. Anna: High Points | AspenTimes.com

Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. Anna
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Read the papers lately? It seems like the pendulum has swung once again.

On the one hand the greedheads seem to be taking it in the shorts.

Lift 1A goes into bankruptcy proceedings and the backers say that’s the best way to continue their pursuit of the project. (What are they smoking?) The owners of the Hotel Jerome find themselves a little short on coin. The Residences at The Little Nell has to give back a buck or two.

Yes, just about any and all of the big building projects in town have found themselves, shall we say, challenged. And I won’t even bring up Pat Smith and Snowmass. I guess we weren’t recession-proof after all.

Then, on the other hand, the ones with resin on the fingers, the potheads, seem to be making a big comeback. It just may be that the growth business in this valley is the one that is selling high times and flavored papers.

There are four pot shops now open in Aspen and a number of others up and down the valley and, by all accounts, they are doing good business.

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There is pain, lots of pain, out there and those who peddle THC in all of its sweet forms are doing their part to salve the needs of the people.

So far, at least, it seems to be a better business for the community than construction. I mean, I don’t see any additional construction traffic cruising in and out of town, I don’t hear the beep-beep-beep at 7 a.m. when the trucks begin their day, I don’t see any orange cones blocking the streets.

Yes, as far as I can tell in this short time since the first legal pot was sold in this town in August and the condo business tanked, there are no downsides to the new industry. In fact, so far things have been pretty mellow.

Now, make no mistake, this change has come about not because the local governments have big hearts and want to help ease the pain. This is all an experiment. The 13 states that currently have allowed the sale of pot, despite federal law that still makes the sale and use of the same thing illegal, clearly are eying the potential tax revenues that the legal sale may one day bring in.

So be it. Everybody has to pay somebody.

In the meantime, this is a new age for those who find salvation in the leafy elixir.

Of course, beyond the alleviation of physical pain, there is another good reason attributed to the advent of the new pot shop industry in these tough times. It can be found in the sage wisdom of Freewheelin’ Franklin, that Fabulous Furry Freak Brother of comic book-dom. If you are of a certain age you’ll know who he is, if not, Google it. As Franklin said (and it is as true today as it was in 1968) “Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.”

Sing the song, brother.