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

Related Stories

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."


More on This Story

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • Comment number 746.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 745.

    A pointer to those of you who think the BBC moderated you off HYS. In fact you were probably moderated off because you just cannot seem to concentrate on the topic.

    The merits or otherwise, of legalisation of cannabis in the US States of Colorado and Washington State (rather than DC). If you can't stay on topic why should your rant stay on the board?

  • rate this

    Comment number 744.

    pure Ganja/Weed is not chemical its pure herb.
    by banning it,gets into criminal's hand & to make profit,they sell bad quality item by lacing it with chemicals.
    so yes..its not chemical or a "drug" as you put it.
    and the health issues..e.g in my paternal village(thankfully very remote),old folks still smoke it in a community under a big tree and they are going on 80+..moderation..
    so yeah....

  • rate this

    Comment number 743.

    The majority of posts, on here, arguing for the legalisation of cannabis, are just horrendous. I'm not saying there aren't good arguments for the legalisation of various banned substances, but posts that compare cannabis to the hypothetical alternative where alcohol was invented today are fallible. Just because one harmful substance is legal does not mean more harmful substances should be legal.

  • rate this

    Comment number 742.

    Ha Ha BBc up to it's usual tricks, impossible to vote the pro-drugs pot heads down.

  • rate this

    Comment number 741.

    Lets face it only mr wobbles and curtains2012 are bothered about this, and theyre so bothered they will just make up facts endlessly and to try fiddling data to try to defend their own ironically paranoid imaginations.

    Lets face it if the administrators remove this they have to remove every comment the have made as all they do is lie.

    Which leaves no anti weed voices left.

    Strange that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 740.

    1 Minute ago
    716.CURTAINS 2012

    It doesn't matter which method you use, alcohol is far, far more dangerous than cannabis. You are still going to OD vaporizing alcohol long before I will from cannabis. You are never going to win this argument, the science and the facts are not in your favour.


    Where did I refer to ODing?

  • rate this

    Comment number 739.


    Those statistics aren't people who died from those drugs, it was just noted if they had it in their system at the time of death.

    It still paints a very interesting picture though.

    The argument that the weights are different is just hilarious. Different drugs have different effects.

  • rate this

    Comment number 738.

    Why is it off topic to ask the chances of Colorado becoming part of Britain? It is the only way this story on the legalisation of the sale of cannabis will have any effect on your funders, unless of course they decide to go to Colorado for a holiday.
    Fed up with you putting stories up for comment to satisfy your advertisers demands.

  • rate this

    Comment number 737.

    Anything to get away from this hell-hole we have the gall to call civilization? Humans have always experimented with substances in an attempt to alter their perspective of the world around them. SAD, but there it is. Personally, I prefer to have control of my personality and not to hand it over to some mind-bending chemical.

  • rate this

    Comment number 736.

    If it gets the profits away from the criminals you've got me behind you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 735.

    I used to smoke a lot of this stuff but maybe do only once a year or so now. I do not think Cannabis is completely harmless but neither is crossing the road. I have enjoyed the finest of highs and on occasion been completely paranoid, I suppose the bottom line is no one really has the right to tell me which type of poison I am allowed

  • rate this

    Comment number 734.

    @juels: when the consumption of 'poisons' (you are aware that water can poison, yes? everything is about moderation) harms no one but the user, I fail to see how people like you can claim some sort of moral high ground. Addicts have always existed. This is nothing new. Your 'argument' isn't even an argument. It's nothing to do with 'need'. It's recreation. Where is the true 'need' in prohibition?

  • rate this

    Comment number 733.

    @726. JammaN

    Even if he does he will do a U turn within a few days

  • rate this

    Comment number 732.

    In other words, you all want to get high.

  • rate this

    Comment number 731.

    Stop with the alcohol and cannabis comparisons!

    Many people do and often drink without getting drunk! A glass of wine with a meal; a social pint. Most people don't get legless but behave well.
    Cannabis has only one aim - to get drugged up.
    I'd rather be a passenger in a car of someone who had a quiet social pint than someone who smoked a spliff.
    Knobs are a menace no matter what choice of drug.

  • rate this

    Comment number 730.

    @696.I know nothing
    Reality is that a section of the population will always be outside the law.
    Just like politicians, bankers & priests.
    Lawmakers choosing to ignore the law sets a precedent for others too.
    Drug use and alcohol are only a symptom of the problem not the cause.

  • Comment number 729.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 728.

    National statistics office 2012, drugs, alcohol poisoning deaths or death attributed to particular substance/lifestyle.

    Tobacco= 79, 100

    Alcohol= 8,748
    Heroin =576
    all anti-depressants=468
    other opiate ( codeine/dihydrocodeine)= 348
    puts it in perspective?

  • rate this

    Comment number 727.

    Still no sign of the apocalypse here in Colorado, but I remain alert.


Page 24 of 61


More US & Canada stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.