A few evenings ago, a friend and I were walking around the Pearl District in search of a good place to eat when we came upon a sign that said Nectar. My first thought was that it was new hip smoothie shop with all sorts of organic fruits and cool drink concoctions. As we got a bit closer I saw a little green leaf under the name and knew it was something very different!
The legalization of marijuana is a hot political potato! Now that it’s legal in Colorado and Washington it seems like only a matter of time before such establishments will be as common as bars, adult strip clubs, and venues that allow video poker. Honestly, I am not sure how I feel about. On one hand, the drug war has been a miserable failure. At the same time, the Director of NIDA, Nora Volkow, repeatedly says that marijuana use among teens is at an all-time high! Even more, research findings are absolutely clear about the dangers of THC in young developing brains.
As we stood at the sign we chatted about whether to check it out. Neither of us smoke pot, but our curiosity got the better of us! We walked up a ramp to the door and noticed immediately all the windows were covered by curtains, except a glowing red sign. Once in, I have to say I was taken aback by a glass counter that stretched the full length of the large space. Inside were glass jars filled with all sorts of varieties of pot. The place was high-class, clean, and professional. The clerk asked to see our cards. Cards? What did he mean? Oh, medical marijuana cards! We said we didn’t have them and were just browsing, to which he said we had to leave. By law, only customers with cards can shop. But he quickly added, “It’s no problem getting one!” Just a quick trip to your doc and some minor paperwork and you are legit and able to shop as long as you want!
Having worked as a counselor for a number of years with clients who abused or were addicted to pot, I know it’s a powerful drug that alters the brain. And with brain changes come changes in behavior, and ultimately changes in the person. Like Nora, I worry about the young generation and what impact legalization will have on them. I know this is a complex issue with no simple solutions.
Deep down I know I would feel more comfortable if Nectar served smoothies.