Compelling Book on Legalized Marijuana in Colorado Could Influence Other States

Weedgalized in Colorado: True Tales from the High Country is a new book of amusing, inspiring and colorful stories that capture the wild ride of a state going to pot.

In 2014, Colorado was the first state to legalize marijuana (cannabis) for recreational use. So far, seven other states and Washington, D.C. have followed suit, and Canada is planning to legalize it in its provinces. “Weedgalized in Coloradocan give them an idea of what to expect.

Author Johnny Welsh is not a lawyer or sociologist, but a charismatic bartender in Frisco, Colorado.

“Legalization was my customers’ most talked about issue,” he says. “I wanted find out how the rest of Colorado felt, to explore the social and economic impact throughout the state. The excitement and activity was almost overwhelming.”

Weedgalized in Colorado: True Tales From the High Country (PRNewsfoto/Johnny Welsh)

Welsh interviewed entrepreneurs and opportunists who scrambled to cash in on the “Green Rush”– growers, dispensary operators, head shop owners, tour guides, packagers, operators of hotels and lodges. They had to comply with state restrictions that frequently changed, but that didn’t slow the pursuit of an industry that had been waiting to be unleashed.

“Johnny Welsh is the perfect person to provide an eyewitness report on the real-world impact of this historical movement,” says Nick Brown, founder and CEO of High Country Healing.

In addition to his interviews, Welsh describes the many strains of marijuana and their different effects. He comments on benefits of pot compare to alcohol, the dangers in consuming too many edibles, and how the new law spurred a boost in tourism.

The book also has a directory of terms, a list nicknames for pot, the names of publicly traded pot stocks, and a recommended list of dispensaries in Colorado.

By the end of the first year of legalization, Colorado had an estimated 1,700 medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries. They created thousands of new jobs and added $44 million to Colorado’s tax revenues. The increase in sales and ancillary businesses increased the state’s economy by $2.4 billion.

To allay concerns about damage to culture, society and public safety, The Cato Institute and the Drug Policy Alliance concluded in 2016 that the state’s marijuana legalizations have had minimal effect on marijuana use and related outcomes.

About the Author
Johnny Welsh has been a professional bartender in Frisco, Colorado, for 20 years. He is a native of Atlantic City, N.J., and has a BA in Italian Language, Literature and Culture from Syracuse University.