Green Wednesday: Colorado prepares for over the counter sale of recreational marijuana

Colorado will become the first state in the US to allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use in shops from New Year's Day

Colorado is getting ready to become the first state in the US to allow anyone over the age of 21 to buy marijuana over the counter from New Year's Day.

At the 14 licensed retail shops, 17 growers and three makers of cannabis-infused products, last minute preparations are being made for an expected rush in sales after the permits were issued only on Friday.

The state is already covered in pot shops as, like in California, sale of the drug for medical use has been legal for a number of years - at one point the city had more marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks coffee shops.

Only existing stores with medical licenses have been allowed to transition to holding recreational ones, in an apparent effort to prevent the further growth of the cannabis shops

“I think it's about time that adults can imbibe in marijuana,” said Donald Andrews, who works at one of the newly licensed retail shops, LoDo Wellness Center in downtown Denver.

“We are building an impressive showcase for the world, to show them this is an industry,” said Andy Williams, owner of Medicine Man, who is preparing for the expected boost in sales by filling a new warehouse with 40,000 square feet (3,700 square meters) of cannabis strains.

“It's going to be all white and beautiful,” added Mr Williams, a 45-year-old ex-industrial engineer. The two floors of growing rooms will have windows showing shoppers in the connected store how the plant is grown.

Colorado residents voted for the legalisation of recreational cannabis use in 2012, but had worried that the federal government would sue to block laws flouting federal drug law.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper famously warned residents not to “break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly,” and activists predicted a legal showdown. A worker at Medicine Man inspects inspects plants as they mature at the dispensary and grow operation in Denver A worker at Medicine Man inspects inspects plants as they mature at the dispensary and grow operation in Denver

But that didn't happen and in August, the Department of Justice said it wouldn't sue so long as the states met an eight-point standard that includes keeping pot out of other states and away from children, criminal cartels and federal property, paving the way for over the counter sales for all.

“These are big businesses that have been operating in good standing in our city for a long time,” said Amber Miller, spokeswoman for Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

Closely watching what the New Year will bring for Colorado will be Washington state, the only other to allow recreational pot use by adults, which plans to have stores open by the late spring of 2014.

Further reading:

Mile high city: Inside Denver's billion-dollar marijuana industry

As Colorado welcomes legal marijuana, The Denver Post has appointed a ‘weed editor’

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
Researchers have said it could take only two questions to identify a problem with alcohol
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

LSA (afterschool club) vacancy in Newport

£40 per day + Travel Scheme : Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job: Our client ...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...

Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: You must:- Speak English as a first lang...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style