DENVER, Colorado –
Marijuana, commonly known by its street name “weed,” was made legal in the state of Colorado in 2012 when Colorado Amendment 64 was passed through the state legislature. On January 1st, 2014, the first legal “weed shops” were opened through the state to much controversy. Since then, several people throughout the state have overdosed from smoking large amounts of the drug, and there are at least 2 confirmed deaths in relation to smoking, and even eating, marijuana.
The Amendment in Colorado allows for any person over the age of 21 to have and grow up to 6 “pot plants” at any given time, as well as to use it recreationally themselves, or give it away to someone else over the age of 21. It is similarly regulated as alcohol, but slightly more so – it is not legal to consume in public, although it is fined and ticketed in the same way when driving under the influence of marijuana as it would be for alcohol.
Cole has stated that he was not a user before the law was passed, but as soon as it became legal and easy to get, it was all he was doing in his off time.
“It’s hard, when you’ve got as much money as us pro-athletes do, not to spend that cash somewhat…unwisely, at certain points.” Said Cole from his hospital room in Benchley Memorial Hospital, just outside Denver. “I bought cars and normal things, but as soon as weed became legal, and people were doing it all the time around me, I started spending my money there. It was crazy how much I was buying.”
Cole stated that a friend first offered him marijuana, and he instantly became hooked, a claim that most people who try weed have reported. Cole started visiting multiple dispensaries throughout the day to buy as much as he could, purchasing the legal limit at each shop, as well as spending money on “how-to” books, and materials needed to grow in his own home. He claims that before he overdosed, he was smoking upwards of a pound or more in a day.
There is a common public misconception that you cannot overdose on marijuana, but as many doctors and specialists are quick to point out, that claim is invalid, as evident here with Cole.
“It’s sad, really, that people think you can’t get ‘too high.’ That you can’t overdose. It can happen if you’re smoking enough.” Said Dr. Emmett Brown, who is specialist at Benchley Memorial dealing with drug addictions and overdose cases. “Usually we see cocaine or heroin abuse amongst athletes and celebrities, but there is no doubt that someday the puff-puff-pass could make you end up in the ER.”
“If I had it all to do over again, I would probably cut back a bit.” Says Cole, who is expected to recover from his overdose, albeit with several weeks of physical therapy. “This might have ruined my life. It might have ended my life. It certainly will be putting a huge damper on my career.”
So far, there has been no movement by the Colorado government to repeal the law, despite mounting pressures from activists and anti-marijuana crusaders throughout the state, as well as the rest of the country. Cole himself hopes that his ordeal will make people think twice before getting hooked on marijuana.
“It’s dangerous. It’s addicting. It almost killed me,” said Cole in an impassioned speech to reporters and fans. “I wish I’d never tried it…[and] to any kids out there, just know, that no matter what they say, a drug is a drug – and it can ruin everything.”
As of this writing, no word on whether Cole will face any suspensions or penalties from the NFL