So I Moved to Colorado and Don’t Smoke Weed: The Tale of the Colorado Unicorn

Unicorn may be a bit hyperbolic. A seven dwarf?

In 2012 the recreational use of marijuana was legalized in Colorado.

I’m not here to talk about whether or not the legalization of pot is a good thing or a bad thing or has helped Colorado or not.

There are plenty of people who are far more qualified than I am already writing dozens of articles and conducting research on all of that. So if that’s more of the article you’re looking for then head on over to the ‘ol Google machine and do what we millennials do best.

In this article I share how my experience of being:
1) Someone who does not smoke pot.
2) Someone who happened to move to Colorado amidst the pot legalization time frame.
3) A citizen of Fort Collins
Has been an interesting one.

And if you can stomach my writing until the end, there’s a bit of advice on how we can all be a little more thoughtful in our word choice and how we handle people whose choices do not parallel our own.


I moved out to Colorado August of 2013 and returned back to my small town in Wisconsin 4 months later for Winter break.

Here is how a large number of conversations went with people ranging from good friends, to people I had maybe spoken to twice who just happened to know I was one of the few to make it out of Wisconsin so quickly:

“So, like… do you smoke, like, so much weed now?”

“You probably moved there for the weed, right?”

“Dude, Colorado sounds sick with pot being legal and all.” (Never mind the mountains or 70 degrees in January… pot is definitely the main reason Colorado is sick.)

“Damn, if I were you I’d smoke so much weed…”

-Insert a fake smile to try and repress the desire to roll my eyes in the back of my head here-


Now. Before I get in too deep here, I want to make one thing clear of my stance on the subject.

Legal or not, if you want to smoke pot, eat pot, inject pot, or do whatever it is with pot that the kids are into these days, then good for you.

While I have chosen not to use marijuana — as I see no personal gain from marijuana in my life at this time — I respect that not everyone shares that same position.

Cool, cool. Groovy, groovy. We all can do our own thing.


While I have touched on comments I have received from the people back home, I’d like to expand that to the friends, acquaintances and just plain old peers that I have met here.

I wouldn’t say that I am hesitant to share that I don’t smoke weed, as I don’t feel the pressure to be someone that does smoke weed. I am comfortable and confident that my decision is the best one for me at this point in my life.

However, I would say that the following conversations that I’ve had in Colorado surrounding the topic may factor into me not necessarily always announcing my choices (aside from not wanting to come off like a jackass who is the better than everyone else because I don’t smoke weed, as that is not how I see it):

“Really? Like, not even once?”

“But you’re in Colorado now.”

“It’s not, like, bad for you or anything.”

“Damn. I could never do that.”

Now, of course some people just breeze over it with a “Cool, dude,” or a “Good for you, man.”

But it’s the idea that the majority of reactions that I have to deal with, and the number of eye rolls I have to try and hold back total to a number nearly higher than Beyoncé’s total career album sales.


In and around Fort Collins there are 36 dispensary and smoke shops.

That’s a decent amount, and again — not trying to report on how they are or are not helping society.

Personally, I don’t really notice that I don’t smoke until it’s brought up in conversation.

So, one thing I like about my unicorn status in Fort Collins, is that it isn’t something shoved down my throat or something that, despite the prevalence and the demographic I find myself in of college students banking on immortality, doesn’t make me feel like a black sheep roaming soberly through the streets of FoCo.


I guess the take-away from this article — if you want to find one or if you merely saw it as a pointless rant — is that it’s not the coolest thing in the world for us to put certain restrictions or assumptions on others’ choices.

This is applicable to the topic of weed, or not liking milk in your cereal, or preferring to wear a cowboy hat over a snapback, or finding solace from watching Keeping up with the Kardashians over a documentary about real-world issues.

And I am in no way innocent in reactions of this nature.

Surely I have similar reactions when people say they don’t like milk in their cereal. (????)

But the difference between:
1) “Damn, that’s weird as shit,” with a face like you just saw someone eat their own vomit.
2) “Hey, you do you. I personally couldn’t do that, but right on. Enjoy your dry cereal. If you feel comfortable sharing, is there any particular reason you don’t like milk in your cereal?,” finished off with a pat on the back, or a friendly wink, or ass slap (ass slap only recommended if your ass-slap-friendship-barrier has already been broken).
Is a huge difference.

So, let’s all let people do what they wanna do even if it’s not what we would do, and unless we go about it in a respectable manner, let’s not question why or why not someone’s choices are their choices… because at the end of the day, it probably has no effect on our personal lives.

I love Fort Collins, and I am happy every day with my decision to have chosen to pursue my education here, weed or no weed.

And hey, if you would totally smoke hella dope if you were in my shoes, then come on over. Like I said in my previous article, Fort Collins is somewhere you can make a home regardless of if you’re a unicorn or some other mythical creature that’s equally as cool but maybe a bit more prominent in society.