Opinions: The little things: Seeing clearly

Drugs can turn the most beautiful things into the ugliest


Hannah Mellor

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Last night’s election determined so many things beyond who our next president will be.

For example, nine states had marijuana measures on the ballot. At least seven of those passed with one measure yet to be determined. Arizona voters did not legalize marijuana while four of those states made medical marijuana legal the other three made recreational marijuana legal.

Recently, I traveled to Boulder, CO to visit my uncle and aunt and their two toddlers, Evan and Andy like I have several times a year since I was born.

Colorado residents voted to make, recreational marijuana legal in 2012. Because of this, the state has changed for the worst.

The state of Colorado has been my favorite place since I was little. I’ve always visioned the state as a healthy, active one filled with places to hike and workout.

For the past four years in Colorado:

  • Marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 48 percent.
  • Over 20 percent of all traffic deaths were marijuana related compared to only 10 percent six years ago.
  • Marijuana-related emergency department visits increased 49 percent.
  • Marijuana-related hospitalizations increased 32 percent.
  • Colorado youth now rank number one in the nation for marijuana use and 74 percent higher than the national average.

People who smoke marijuana are changing the landscape of this beautiful, popular vacation state.

As I walked the streets on Pearl Street, an outdoor shopping area in downtown Boulder, I noticed people left and right who were high.

Perhaps I was too young to notice or realize what I was seeing. Maybe the people populating Pearl Street have always behaved this way.

But I found their jumping around, screaming and dancing not being able to control themselves heartbreaking.

Not only were they walking around high, they were driving high as well.

A car sped past my dad and me blaring music while its passengers barked out the windows like dogs.

It made me feel uncomfortable. I was standing on the sidewalk, waiting to cross the street, minding my own business while humans were barking at me.

Fortunately, these passengers don’t represent all of Colorado.

On the second day of our trip, my family and I hiked up Boulder Mountain Park.

The mountains looked so natural and fresh under the clear blue sky. There was a trail with trees filled with fall leaves leading up to the huge mountains.

Everybody was normal and polite not influenced by a recreational drug. They were minding their own business, not making a scene or trying to draw attention. They would give a friendly smile when you made eye contact instead of barking.

For me, Colorado is a healthy, active state filled with places to hike and workout. I was relieved to experience that Colorado again after my encounters on Pearl Street.

The next day, however, we were back at Pearl Street only to witness my eight-year-old brother walk into a bathroom with homeless men smoking marijuana.

As much fun I had on my trip filled with adventures and family time, I left angry.

Despite my positive experience at Boulder Mountain Park, I left Colorado disappointed in the actions of those who felt that they needed drugs to have fun.

Drugs can turn the most beautiful things into the ugliest.

Drugs don’t make parties or places more fun. I don’t need drugs to have a good time. I’m surrounded by people that just want to get blackout drunk or high for fun.

I disagree. I want to do something I haven’t done before, something real. Something I’ll remember.

I want to go camping or hike a mountain or take a road trip.

There are so many amazing things to do in Colorado: Pikes Peak, the Denver Zoo, skiing at Breckenridge Ski Resort.

Why miss out on all those fun things just to get high?

I didn’t need drugs to have fun in Colorado. And I hope I left the place better than I found it.