The age of legal cannabis has arrived. It’s an honor to bear witness to this moment in history where the marijuana movement has climbed out of the underground and into the spotlight. It’s a success story that never could have happened without the hard work and sacrifice of countless sensi-soldiers, and we all need to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. While our mission will not be accomplished until Americans in all 50 states are free to enjoy the cannabis plant in all its forms without oppression, today, we can salute the great state of Colorado for blazing the path and creating a model for sensible marijuana policy.

The Rocky Mountain state has proven the skeptics wrong. “Expect more crime, more kids using marijuana, and pot for sale everywhere,” said Douglas County Sheriff David Weaver in 2012. While pot is certainly for sale in a wide variety of places, his apocalyptic vision of cannabis criminals running wild has already been disproved. Since the implementation of legal marijuana for recreational use, crime has actually dropped in Colorado (let’s all pause here to say, “We told you so”) And despite the fear-mongering of modern-day Harry Ansliger Juniors, the best way to keep kids safe from marijuana is to repeal prohibition and create a regulated market with built-in safeguards. It’s simple, really. Think back to the dark days of alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s. Would you have trusted Al Capone to keep booze out of reach to minors? And while the underground cannabis movement has largely managed to avoid the violence associated with the bootleggers of yesteryear, there has always been a portion of the market that has been claimed by gangs and cartels. Legalization frees law enforcement to concentrate their efforts against the real criminals. And in addition to creating regulations that aim to keep children safe from a substance that is meant for adults, it has the added effect of assuring that kids will no longer have their parents taken away from them and put in prison for growing, or simply enjoying, a plant.

Today and tomorrow, at the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup in Denver, we will be celebrating -- yes, partying -- while the whole world watches. We are not afraid of the limelight. In fact, we plan to dance right in the middle of it.