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

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1206.

    Illegal drug dealers will be out of business, the states raise 40 million, and a prisons let a break. If the drug war was not such a dismal failure, I wouldn't be praising Colorado for trying something new. Yes, will be interesting to see how it works out. As long it remains uncorrupt and people are educated, I can only predict a better outcome..

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1205.

    Britain's cannabis policies demonstrate what a provincial backwater the UK is in it's laws and social policies. Making hardworking everyday people interact with criminals who may do them just to get some cannabis is as stupid and backward as saudi arabia banning women drivers. Shows just how out of touch and antiquated the political class is.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1204.

    Cannabis is safe - smoking is bad. So don't legalise smokeable preparations of cannabis - only legalise edible products and drinks. That way you remove the harm to the individual and undermine the criminals who currently make a fortune out of the cannabis business. More may try it but they will not hurt themselves any more than if they used coffee or alcohol.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1203.

    I expect it will kill or maim fewer people than firearms do which seem so easy to get hold of in the US

    I also believe that rather than the threat of 'stoned youth' rampaging around far more adults use it without being a danger to society

    It was prohibition that led to a gangland explosion in the US in the 1920's and 30's and declined after the ban was lifted.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1202.

    Middle class money, middle class values. Fleese the weak whilst handing out drugs.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1201.

    The price of freedom is the ability to make wise and unwise choices.

    It's your body, and if you feel like doing something bad to it, it's your choice. Everyday people enjoy harmful substances because we like to: drugs like caffeine alcohol and nicotine, or eating plain unhealthily etc...

    It's your body, I don't presume to tell you what you can do to it. But I expect that freedom returned to me.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1200.

    Have you forgot about your pristene and sweet bankers, or are you all puffed up and raking the cash?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1199.

    As long as alcohol and tobacco are legal any argument against legalizing cannabis just sounds silly

    There are laws for driving et al stoned just as for alcohol so its unlikely there would be an upsurge in drugged drivers. And its easy enough to find that being legal will be unlikely to lead to a big increase in usage. Only reason for this ambiguity is older people drink and smoke tobacco

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 1198.

    1181.DaveM
    " ...You seem to think that alcohol is not a drug because it is legal, outside of your head alcohol is a very dangerous high risk drug"

    Your conclusion is too simplistic and fundamentally wrong. QRA is an input to the risk management process and should only inform the debate and not determine it in isolation. The consequences are very different in nature and predictability ...

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1197.

    1194.USAperson
    1 Minute ago
    In re to an earlier post from LucyJ about the "smartest people she knew" getting expelled from college for pot use

    +++

    But how smart were they on the absolute scale rather than on Lucy's relative scale?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1196.

    America's republic form of government has had a great day today. Colorado, a the states, are effectively giving Washington DC a big middle finger by saying:

    "It's our right under the constitution to regulate marijuana, and not only will we not enforce your law, but we'll pass laws to contradict you."

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 1195.

    145. Heather
    Marijuana IS a gateway drug to higher class drugs!
    -
    There is zero independent evidence to support that claim.

    Plus, your logic is backwards. I could ask how many heroin addicts started drinking or smoking before starting on heavy drugs, and conclude that alcohol/tobacco are gateway drugs.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1194.

    In re to an earlier post from LucyJ about the "smartest people she knew" getting expelled from college for pot use. Gee if they were that smart they would not have gotten caught using. On the other hand, maybe they wanted to get expelled because they could not do college work. Every town has at least one HS top of class you could not make it in college.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1193.

    Having spent my formative years in "booze permissive" Glasgow, then many adult years in the "pot permissive" culture of Washington state, I am amazed being back in the UK at peoples ignorance of how much more dangerous a DRUG alcohol is. I knew quite a few teenagers in the US who dabbled in pot, but things really went downhill once hard liquor became the choice drug. Bad propaganda helps nobody!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1192.

    There must be alot of people on here who take Drugs. Just think how much money you would have if you never used Drugs. There are more to life than Drugs, shame you never found it. I feel sorry for you.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 1191.

    I care not for you yanks. Look at Dretoit city. A 1% rise in the interest rates by the BOE will do for me and my family. Enjoy your spliff.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1190.

    The issue here isnt Cannabis its peoples world view and the opinion that one individual has the right to force another to live by their world view. What and individual chooses to do should be fully their decision. If what you choose to do then impacts others then other people are entitled to limit that behaviour. Its a fine line but it is defined.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1189.

    A silly mistake like the relaxation of licensing leading to the explosion in 24/7 city centre drinking in the UK.

    It's all about tax revenue.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1188.

    1185.Sally the Rothbardian
    Just now
    1183.CURTAINS 2012

    I guess you chose to avoid the question, for all to see, not a good start for 2014.

    Btw: Perhaps you'll change your name to CURTAINS 2013...

    +++

    Is there a fault in the explanation to which I gave you a link answering your spammed question?

    There is no update to CURTAINS.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1187.

    Problem with any legal drug - users and abusers think because it is legal it is harmless. Have worked with alcoholics - weekend drunk who is no use until Wednesday, Lunchtime drinker who only works mornings, also valium addicts - one who giggled constantly, the other just sat and stared at people. When they left or retired no replacement required.

 

Page 1 of 61

 

More US & Canada stories

RSS

Features

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.