The most eclectic gathering spot in Boulder, Colorado, is the Pearl Street Mall, a pedestrian thoroughfare at the heart of downtown. Alongside its relatively pricey stores and restaurants, there is an outdoor concert venue, a children’s play area, and the seat of county government. Activists stand on Pearl Street seeking signatures; street performers treat its sidewalks as a stage; drunk collegians spill from bars to sit drunk on its planters; homeless people sleep nearby. Amid it all I spotted Texas Fred, a 68-year-old on a late-night stroll. A thin man with aviator eyeglasses and shoulder-length gray hair, he wore a floral-print shirt and held a guitar case like it was his most valued possession. It was almost 11 p.m. when I approached asking if I could talk with him about cannabis. Fred wasn’t surprised. “Everything about me screams, ‘He smokes marijuana!’” he said.