Pot smokers in Colorado welcome 'Green Wednesday' as marijuana sales become legal
Stores, including thirteen former medicinal marijuana dispensaries, are now able to sell the formerly illegal drug to customers interested in its recreational properties
Retailers in the US state of Colorado newly licensed to sell recreational cannabis were preparing to open shop on so-called “Green Wednesday”.
Stores, including thirteen former medicinal marijuana dispensaries, are now able to sell the formerly illegal drug to customers interested in its recreational properties.
Proprietors were expected to open their doors at 8am local time in the capital Denver, and a handful of other locations, in anticipation of a surge in demand for store-bought weed.
In one part of the capital, a dispensary had set up a food truck for customers who had camped outside. Meanwhile, revellers ditched sweaters in the unusually balmy weather and alternated between celebrating with horn blowers, and joints and bongs.
State officials expect that the new industry will draw in annual revenues of $578 million, with $67 million coming from tax receipts alone.
While non-medicinal possession, cultivation and private consumption of marijuana was legalised in Colorado over a year ago, cannabis will only now be legally sold to the general public and taxed in a system similarly to alcohol.
Nowhere in the world outside of the northwest state shares this system.
Citizens in Washington state also voted to legalize marijuana at the same time as Colorado in 2012, but is not predicted to open stores until later in the year.
“We understand that Colorado is under a microscope,” Jack Finlaw, lawyer to Governor John Hickenlooper and overseer of a major task force to chart new pot laws, recently told reporters.
Both supporters and opponents to the legalisation of the drug see the two Western states as embarking on an experiment that could mark the beginning of the end for marijuana prohibition at a national level.
Video: Colorado's first day of legal marijuana sales
“By legalizing marijuana, Colorado has stopped the needless and racially biased enforcement of marijuana prohibition laws,” said Ezekiel Edwards, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Criminal Law Reform Project.
Opponents warned that legalizing recreational use could create an industry that would attract underage use and dependency.
Former US Representative and co-founder of Project Smart Approaches to Marijuana Patrick Kennedy, said his group aims to curtail marijuana advertising and to push local bans on the drug.
Authorities in Colorado appear to be heeding the call for caution, with signs around the state capital of Denver warning that cannabis shops can only operate during approved hours, and that public consumption of the drug remains illegal.
Additional reporting by agencies
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Orphan kangaroos spend Christmas without their parents
Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
New route to Mars could make manned mission much cheaper and easier
Isis 'did not shoot down Jordan war plane' before capturing pilot, says US
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...
£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...
Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...