Licensed recreational cannabis retailers open in Colorado

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Licensed recreational cannabis retailers open in Colorado

The day has come! New Year has heralded in Green Wednesday, the day marijuana legally went on sale across the state of Colorado for recreational use!

The day has come! New Year has heralded in Green Wednesday, the day marijuana legally went on sale across the state of Colorado for recreational use!

As of the first of January 2014, cannabis became legal to sell for recreational use by licensed retailers in the state of Colorado. It is thought that some 30 shops opened their doors on New Year’s Day to eagerly awaiting customers, and so far 136 shops have been granted licenses to sell it.

Dubbed Green Wednesday, store owners were expecting such in influx on the first legal day of sale that they had to hire extra security in order to help deal with the large amounts of people looking to legally buy weed for the first time on US soil.

Under the new laws, cannabis can now be sold with similar restrictions to alcohol and tobacco. Adults resident in Colorado can buy up to one ounce (28.34 grams), whereas those from outside of the state can only purchase one quarter of an ounce (7.08 grams). Much like alcohol and tobacco, the sale of cannabis is still illegal to minors.

The implications

It is thought the move will result in Colorado and its capital Denver overtaking Amsterdam (where cannabis is still technically illegal), to become the West’s most progressive cannabis city. The jobs, taxes and tourism that the legalisation is predicted to create will be a huge boost to the economy, and could potentially become worth billions in the future. The taxes alone raised from the first year of sale are estimated to be in the millions – with the first 40 million dollars being put into the construction of schools (a very worthy cause).

Currently only the state of Washington plans to follow in Colorado’s footsteps, with recreational sales expected to begin later this year. To date, some 20 states within the US have legalised the use of cannabis on medical grounds.

As could be expected, activists on both sides of the fence are in uproar, with those who are pro-cannabis delighted, and those against it dismayed. Those worried about the legalisation fear of the impact it will have on minors, and how the industry may grow to become just as uncaring of social and health implications as the tobacco and alcohol industry. It is also worth noting that the federal government has not sanctioned the move, although cannabis is still illegal under federal law.

Either way, it is a very momentous time. Other US states, nay, the rest of the world will be paying very close attention as to just how things pan out over the next year within Colorado – it could be the making or the breaking of cannabis reform across world. Let’s hope the people of Colorado show the world that cannabis can be used responsibly, that is less dangerous than alcohol, and that its taxes can be put to good use – anti-cannabis parties will be ready to pounce on the smallest of problems in an attempt to smear this bold step forward.