- French president accuses Syria’s Assad of gassing his own citizens
- Jimmy Carter’s grandson makes gains in governor’s race in Georgia
- Yemen: Airstrike targets al Qaeda training camps
- Easter worshippers shocked as car rams church, injuring 21
- NYT’s David Brooks: Obama has ‘manhood problem’ in Middle East
- Ted Cruz thanks Obama for denying visas to terrorists
- Survivors recall chaos, fear in Everest avalanche
- General Mills apologizes for ‘right to sue’ confusion, reverses policy
- Dealer wanted in U.S. for art fraud nabbed in Spain
- Easter morning delivery for space station
Crowds grow like weeds for first legal sales of marijuana in Colorado
DENVER — Colorado lit up the nation’s first legal adult marijuana market shortly after dawn Wednesday, and Brandon Harris was not about to miss it.
Mr. Harris and his friend Tyler Williams, both 24, drove 20 hours from Blanchester, Ohio, for the big opening. They arrived at the 3-D Cannabis Center at 2:50 a.m., which was good enough for 11th and 12th places on the store’s sign-in sheet.
Was it worth it? “Definitely,” said Mr. Harris, who lined up outside with about 100 other customers as snow began to fall shortly before the 8 a.m. opening.
“It’s such a big day in history,” he said. “The fact that we don’t have to be criminals and can just smoke, and not be looked down on, or have to mess with the local police.”
In a legal and cultural experiment being closely — at times nervously — watched by states across the country, about 30 Colorado medical marijuana shops began selling recreational marijuana over the counter Wednesday, a little more than a year after voters approved Amendment 64, which allows retail pot sales to those 21 and older.
Washington voters passed a similar measure in November 2012, but retail marijuana stores aren’t expected to open in that state until June.
“For the first time in history, adults are able to purchase marijuana legally in a controlled environment as opposed to in the underground market,” Mason Tvert, who ran the Amendment 64 campaign, said at a press conference inside the 3-D Cannabis Center.
“In every state around the country, adults will be buying marijuana today, but only in Colorado will they be doing it legally in a regulated store,” Mr. Tvert said.
The ceremonial first sale was made to Sean Azzariti of Denver, an Iraq War veteran who was turned down for a medical marijuana card because he claimed post-traumatic stress disorder, which is not a qualifying ailment under Colorado law.
“It’s mind-blowing,” said Mr. Azzariti. “It really hasn’t sunk in how big this is yet. I have a feeling when I go home tonight, it’ll really hit me. I worked on the campaign fighting for veterans with PTSD, and it’s amazing to see that those veterans will have access to cannabis now.”
Other states and the Obama administration will be watching to see how Colorado’s retail market functions. If it’s successful, pot supporters say, they expect the movement to spread nationwide. Activists in Alaska are circulating petitions to place a measure before the voters on the August ballot.
“It’s only a matter of time before lawmakers and voters in more states adopt similar laws regulating marijuana like alcohol,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, the largest financial backer of the Amendment 64 campaign. “The dominoes are falling.”
But critics of legalized recreational pot predict other states will turn away after witnessing the unintended consequences of Colorado’s retail market, which they predict will include increased school truancy, addiction hospitalizations and highway fatalities.
Leading the way is Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a national group founded by former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a Rhode Island Democrat and member of the New England political dynasty, and Kevin Sabet, a former adviser to President Obama’s drug czar.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- Ukraine, Russia trade blame over Easter Sunday shootout
- Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Vulnerable Democrats must 'run their own race'
- Ukrainian prime minister accuses Putin of moving to restore Soviet Union
- Critics rail against liberal bias for commencement speakers
- Harry Reid blasts Bundy ranch supporters as 'domestic terrorists'
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- USAID documents cite Hillary Clinton in chaos of Afghan aid
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- In Colorado, a marijuana holiday tries to go mainstream
- CURL: Shelly O first lady Michelle Obama comes in last
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- EDITORIAL: More Lerner smoking-gun emails at IRS
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.