Getting high on Colorado 

They came, they sang, they shared their love for John Denver and debated how his "Rocky Mountain High" in no way reflects drug use.

And then the Colorado Legislature adopted the 1972 classic as one of the state's two official songs.

"John Denver is, for me, an icon of what Colorado is," said Rep. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, the primary House sponsor, noting that "Rocky Mountain High" appears on 21 of Denver's albums. The singer and songwriter, who lived in Aspen, died in a 1997 plane crash off the California coast.

Both the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved Senate Joint Resolution 23 on Monday. The House floor discussion was filled with additional praise for Denver, and for the song many have long associated with the beauty of Colorado. But the hearing would not have been complete without some pontification.

Noting that she felt like "singing rather than speaking," Rep. Debbie Stafford, R-Aurora, said she supports the song. However, she asked that the resolution be amended so one of the last stanzas of the song "Friends around the campfire and everybody's high" be formally defined to reflect a meaning related to "elevation," and not drug abuse.

Todd argued that she interpreted the line as having the "natural ability of getting high when going to the mountains."

House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, raised "concern" over other lines: "Why they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more / More people, more scars upon the land."

"This appears to be anti-homebuilders," May said, to much laughter.

"Rocky Mountain High" and "Where the Columbines Grow" now are Colorado's official songs.


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