All Eyes on Colorado: 4 Reasons St. Louis Is Jealous of Legal Weed (And 1 Reason We're Not)

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Thumbs up to you, Colorado. - RAFAEL-CASTILLO ON FLICKR
  • rafael-castillo on flickr
  • Thumbs up to you, Colorado.

The world was watching Colorado yesterday as the state kicked off 2014 with a legal, recreational marijuana market. Thirty-seven stores are now open for business, selling bud and edibles to anyone 21 years and older.

Daily RFT watched with growing jealousy as our sister publication Westword in Denver sent its marijuana critic (a new dream job that comes with its own vaporizer) William Breathes around town on January 1 to see how the social experiment was going.

A legal marijuana purchase - WILLIAM BREATHES
  • William Breathes
  • A legal marijuana purchase

Only one piece of news could harsh the buzz from the day of legal weed revelry: This legal shit is expensive.

"What really, really blew my mind was walking out with my wallet $70 lighter for 3.5 grams of pot," Breathes writes for Westword. "Basically, the same Chemdawg that I bought last week at $20 an eighth was going for nearly triple the price. I'm surprised my jaw didn't drop far enough to shatter the glass counter."

See also: Marijuana: Buying Recreational Pot in Denver

An eighth of top-shelf weed from the Clinic on Colorado cost $70, plus tax, which Breathes calls "absurd...like, tourist in New York City absurd." Luckily, the cost drops more than $20 for anyone with a medical-marijuana card.

Compare that to $50 for an eighth of high-quality marijuana here in St. Louis, according to the crowd-sourced PriceofWeed.com.

Sour Diesel marijuana for sale in Colorado. - WILLIAM BREATHES

The high prices aren't expected to last, but shops need to cover licensing fees and build up their inventories before dropping the price tag. The costliest kush Westword found was in Breckenridge for $25 a gram before taxes.

See also: Reefer Rumble! Show-Me Cannabis Debates Missouri Drug Cop on Marijuana Legalization

In the end, even the steep prices didn't worry Breathes, who bought an eighth of a strain called Velvet Sea. "It's probably the highest-priced bag I've purchased in years," Breathes says, "but the legality of the whole thing (and the fact that i was probably one of the first to make such a purchase) helps ease that, at least for today."

Prices aside, we are totally jealous of Colorado ending the marijuana prohibition, and here's why:

Continue reading for four reasons we're hella jealous. Prices aside, we are totally jealous of Colorado ending the marijuana prohibition, and here's why:

1. We want to be strain snobs.

Oh, you smoke Sweet Tooth? How gauche. We only use Sour Diesel. - EGGROLL ON FLICKR
  • eggroll on flickr
  • Oh, you smoke Sweet Tooth? How gauche. We only use Sour Diesel.

Grape Skunk. OG-funky Grunk. Shakedown. Sweet Tooth. Choosing a marijuana strain in Colorado is like discriminating among bean options at a fancy coffee shop. We wanted to make fun of Breathes for complaining that there are "only five strains" in the newly- pened marijuana dispensaries while we in St. Louis smoke the same ol' schwag, but we have to admit it's just sour grapes.

2. Dispensaries take the shame away.

A legal weed bar. - WILLIAM BREATHES

Anyone who's had to put up with meeting a sketchy dude in his car just to buy an eighth knows how disgusting it sometimes feels to buy drugs on the black market. Breathes describes the dispensaries in Colorado as "clean, Apple Store-meets-Whole Foods," which sounds like the opposite of a back-alley deal. "Next to me," writes Breathes, "a really young-looking dude from New Jersey with his girlfriend said it looked like a miniature car wash for weed."

Velvet Sea weed in the Westword's official press vape - WILLIAM BREATHES
  • William Breathes
  • Velvet Sea weed in the Westword's official press vape

3. Waiting hours for legal weed seems worth it for high quality.

Sure, Breathes and other Colorado weed customers had to wait hours to get their goods, but the quality of the newly legal offerings seems stellar. Now that the plants are legal, green thumbs are turning marijuana cultivation into an art form. "The buds of Sour Diesel I brought home were ripe and well-developed," Breathes wrote, "with a coating of amber trichomes across them and a smell that is probably still putting a smile on the face of those customers used to scraggle scraps from a third-hand middleman." We're still getting scraps here in the Lou.

4. We want to try the samples, like a Sam's Club for kush.

Our childhood memories are full of glorious trips to Sam's Club where we could eat all the samples of pizza pockets and meat sticks we wanted. Colorado has taken this to a whole new level, with disposable e-pens full of hash oil and an assortment of cookies and candies out for sampling.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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