Cannabis goes on legal sale in US state of Colorado

David Martinez, manager of 3D Cannabis Center in Denver, on 31 December 2013 Shops selling cannabis have been preparing for a huge influx of customers on their first day of trading

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The US state of Colorado is making history by becoming the first to allow stores to sell cannabis.

As many as 30 stores around the state are expected to start selling the drug for recreational purposes from 1 January, dubbed Green Wednesday.

Colorado, along with Washington state, voted to legalise the use and possession of cannabis for people over the age of 21 in November 2012.

Washington is not expected to allow the sale of it until later in 2014.

Colorado and Washington are among 20 states to have approved marijuana use for medical purposes. The drug is still illegal under federal law.

'Who knows?'

Store owners had stocked up, prepared celebrations and hired extra security in preparation for their opening on Green Wednesday.

Start Quote

It's almost the worst of both worlds”

End Quote Kevin Sabet Smart Approaches to Marijuana

Under the new law, cannabis will be sold like alcohol. Residents will be able to buy up to one ounce, while those from out of the state can purchase up to a quarter of an ounce.

Cannabis can only be smoked on private premises, with the permission of the owners.

The sale of the drug will be taxed in the same way as alcohol, and state officials have said they expected it to raise millions - the first $40m of which will be used for school construction, The Denver Post reports.

It was not clear exactly how many shops were expected to open on New Year's Day, though around 30 were listed by The Denver Post.

A total of 136 stores have been given licences to sell marijuana. Most of the shops are based in Denver. Some communities elsewhere in Colorado have exercised their right not to have the stores.

Supporters of legalising cannabis have praised Colorado's move.

Rachel Gillette, of the Colorado branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the state "has found an exit strategy for the failed drug war and I hope other states will follow our lead".

But critics say it sends the wrong message to the nation's youth and fear it will lead to serious public health and social problems.

"There will still need to be a black market to serve people who are ineligible to buy on a legal market, especially kids," said Kevin Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. "It's almost the worst of both worlds."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 506.

    If you think the UK's in a mess right now, just try following Colorado's example - That will kill all hope of pulling it back. The lack of opportunity we currently face will exploit the vulnerable as they seek to escape the misery for a few hours. Our highstreets will be like a film set in Shaun of the Dead. We already have too much of that filth coarsing our kids veins, we don't need any more.

  • Comment number 505.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 504.

    Those evil lefties at the Guardian must be lying as well then.

    The smug pedantic non science based arguments from the pro cannabis crowd never seem to be backed up by the experience of mental health nurses who have to pick up the wreckage. We wonder why?

    Being stoned all the time is as seedy and harmful as being a drunk.

  • rate this

    Comment number 503.

    Just now
    Really guys, no one had died while high on Marijuana unlike alcohol and tobacco.


    Would you travel in a vehicle controlled by someone high on Cannabis?

  • rate this

    Comment number 502.

    This is a BAD idea.

    My brother went from a happy, loving and church-going 18YO lad into a crazed, psychopathic monster in less than 6 months after his first puff on a joint. Let his example be a lesson to EVERYONE!

  • rate this

    Comment number 501.

    Presumably the legal outlets will be undercutting the street dealers then? Otherwise I can't see people changing their source to a more expensive one. If I were living in Colorado I would not be happy that people will be able to buy cheaper cannabis now, more easily.
    Anyone who thinks the cartels will be remotely affected is over simplifying this. The drug barons are not going to slip away!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 500.

    Backward not forward thinking. The US needs economic recovery and I never saw a productive junkie.

  • rate this

    Comment number 499.

    The knickershop prediction for 2014:

    The UK adopts more sensible policies regarding cannabis usage based upon listening more to the professionals who use scientific methods and non-biased research.

  • rate this

    Comment number 498.

    "There will still need to be a black market to serve people who are ineligible to buy on a legal market, especially kids"

    If this were the case, why isn't there such a 'black market' for alcohol? The occasional kid asking someone older to go into the shop and buy it for them sounds preferable to the current situation of murderous international drug cartels, to be honest...

  • rate this

    Comment number 497.

    Even IF they did legalise it, no one else should have to put up with it. It's supposed to be illegal here in the UK, but you can regularly smell it - where some idiot thinks they are being clever out in public. The smell makes me feel sick (just like normal cigarettes do) And who pays for the NHS costs for all the (extra) paranoid schizophrenics it creates? It has been proven to kill brain cells!

  • rate this

    Comment number 496.

    A great win for common sense at last. People need to be educated about it's side effects, then as adults we can make our own choices about the our own futures. Smoking weed does not affect other people around you other than smoke so it should be dealt with the same as normal smoking. Roll on legalization of other drugs and further wins for personal freedom.

  • rate this

    Comment number 495.

    I drink, I'm glad. Why. It obviously stops me taking drugs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 494.

    The Daily Mail should be banned immediately. Most users take it everyday which causes severe paranoia and psychosis and may profoundly reduce IQ. More research is needed on this last point as low IQ may be latent in heavy users anyway.
    Worst of all this heinous product is openly on sale to children, whose minds are still forming, and could be a pathway to BNP leaflets and other harder products!

  • rate this

    Comment number 493.

    461. -Matthew Slyman

    I've met plenty others with MS

    When making comments at least do some research.

    Cannabis in the form of Sativex IS legal on prescription for sufferers of MS in the UK

    This decision was made on medical evidence by HMG

    Unfortunately due to 'evidence' similar to yours it was only MS sufferers who were allowed to benefit from this drug to treat their symptoms

  • Comment number 492.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 491.

    " it's access to it in the medical arena that we should b pushing governments to openly embrace"

    Absolutely. But you are up against some of the most embedded vested interests on planet earth. Big Pharma is not able to put a patent on a plant that grows just about anywhere on gods green earth. Add to that big alcohol, tobacco & daily mail resistance/hysteria = an uphill battle.

  • Comment number 490.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 489.

    Really guys, no one had died while high on Marijuana unlike alcohol and tobacco. Start legalizing in all states and the drug cartel would suffer. Make it less expensive. The good lord put it there for a good reason.

  • rate this

    Comment number 488.

    Waking up in Colorado, I am nervous about what the future will hold, will there be a bunch of stoned youths snowboarding down the mountain once the pot shops open? Will people come here to get stoned? I love Colorado, it is my second home, but I am not sure how this is going to pan out

  • rate this

    Comment number 487.

    I think we should legalise cannabis and make the daily mail a class A drug as it is surely more poisonous and destructive to the human brain.


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