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

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living