1st legal recreational pot industry opens in US

by Kristen Wyatt
Partygoers smoke marijuana during a Prohibition-era themed New Year's Eve party celebrating the start of retail pot sales, at a bar in Denver, late Tuesday Dec. 31, 2013. Colorado is to begin marijuana retail sales on Jan. 1, a day some are calling 'Green Wednesday.' (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

(AP)—The first recreational marijuana industry in the U.S. opened in Colorado, kicking off an experiment that will be watched closely around the world.

Activists hope to prove that legalization is a better alternative than the costly American-led war on drugs.

"Honestly, I thought I'd never see the day," said a giddy Errin Reaume, who shared hits of concentrated at a 1920s-themed "Prohibition Is Over" party in Denver.

Skeptics worry the industry will make the drug more widely available to teens, even though legal sales are limited to adults over 21.

Colorado voters in 2012 approved the legal industry that opened on Wednesday. Washington state has its own version, which is scheduled to open in mid-2014. Uruguay passed a law in December to become the first nation to regulate pot.

Pot advocates have argued a legal market would generate revenue for states and save money by not having to lock up so many drug offenders.

At least 24 pot shops in eight Colorado towns opened, after increasing staff and inventory and hiring security.

"I'm going to frame the receipt when I go home, to remind myself of what might be possible. Legal everywhere," James Aaron Ramsey said, who served a brief jail sentence for pot possession less than a year ago and was excited to legally buy weed.

Partygoers celebrate the start of a new year during a Prohibition-era themed New Year's Eve party celebrating the start of retail pot sales, at a bar in Denver, Wednesday Jan. 1, 2014. Colorado is to begin marijuana retail sales on Jan. 1, a day some are calling 'Green Wednesday.' (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Tinted windows on a black limousine idling outside a dispensary showed another side of the newly legal market—people eager to try legal marijuana but not ready to be seen publicly buying it.

Addison Morris, owner of Rocky Mountain Mile High Tours, had 10 clients waiting inside who paid $295 for three hours of chauffeuring by a "marijuana concierge" who would help them choose strains and edible pot products.

"We're your grandmother's pot connection," the 63-year-old said. "We're not the hippie stoners who are going to stand in this cold and party."

Colorado set up an elaborate plant-tracking system to try to keep the drug away from the black market, and regulators set up packaging, labeling and testing requirements, along with potency limits for edible pot.

Pot is still illegal under federal law, but the U.S. Justice Department outlined an eight-point slate of priorities for pot regulation, requiring states to keep the drug away from minors, criminal cartels, federal property and other states in order to avoid a federal crackdown.

"We understand that Colorado is under a microscope," Jack Finlaw, lawyer to Gov. John Hickenlooper and overseer of a major task force to chart new pot laws, recently told reporters.

A group of addiction counselors and physicians said they're seeing more marijuana addiction problems, especially in youths, and that wider pot availability will exacerbate the problem.

"This is just throwing gas on the fire," said Ben Cort of the Colorado Center for Dependency, Addiction & Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado Hospital.

Marijuana activists were hoping Colorado's experiment wouldn't be that noticeable after an initial rush of shopping.

"Adults have been buying marijuana around this country for years," said Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project. "The only difference is that in Colorado they will now buy it from legitimate businesses instead of the underground market."

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Returners
1 / 5 (2) Jan 02, 2014
Skeptics worry the industry will make the drug more widely available to teens, even though legal sales are limited to adults over 21.


Riiiight, because age restrictions and i.d. checks have already been SO effective at preventing the "under aged" from obtaining alcohol and cigarettes all over the country. Additionally, we have ZERO alcohol related accidents, assaults, batteries, etc, and ZERO diseases related to alcohol and Tobacco. Therefore it is perfectly rational to apply the same logic to other drugs with similar properties.

Wait, wait, never mind, none of those things are true.

Who do these idiots think they're fooling?

Who is supposed to foot the bill for all the new addicts this will generate?

Not to mention other problems, which similar to the drunken driving issue, where drinkers defend their "right" to drink by just saying that people should drink responsibly, nevermind the fact that when they DON'T it's too late for the innocents killed or injured by these drug
Returners
1 / 5 (2) Jan 02, 2014
This is a bad decision, and the sad thing is that like so many other activities, once it is at all allowed, people consider it a "Right," whether or not it's moral (which rest assured recreational drug use is not moral,) so then once it's believed to be a "Right" governments will have a hard time taking it away again. Of course we know addicts usually deny the degree of their addiction, so once you get a large portion of the population addicted to this stuff, you will NEVER get them to admit they've gone wrong (at least until they hurt themselves or someone else by accident,) and consequently you will NEVER get them to vote to ban it again, even when everyone else gets their proof, and says, "Aha, I told you so."

Colorado and Washington, you are pissing on honest people's hopes for a rational, sober-minded civilization.

I hope that neighboring states set up random checks for Marijuana possession, and prosecute people crossing state lines, so as to keep this insanity in check.
Returners
1 / 5 (2) Jan 02, 2014
As for the people who say Pot mellows them out, if htat's what you experience, or even most users, good for you, but that is not the case for all users. I am reminded of Nancy Grace on the George Zimmerman trial, and they were talking about just this thing, with regards to Martin being on Pot, saying that it probably should have mellowed him out.

Immediately, within a few minutes, she was flooded by several callers saying, "Not so fast. I've used Marijuana before, and it made me aggressive."

So when you say "Use responsibly" there is no "responsible" use, since you cannot know which type of user you are until you actually try it, and you can't know what amount will put you over the limit until that limit is actually reached. Therefore every first use certainly, and every use thereafter carries a risk that you in fact will "snap" and become aggressive, and hurt yourself or someone else in the process.

What gives a "user" the moral "right" to introduce that risk to others? Nothing.
Returners
1 / 5 (3) Jan 02, 2014
Oh yeah, non-uses will be exposed to high amounts of the smoke and second hand smoke from people using it in public, and so like cigarettes, it's a violation of other people's TRUE RIGHT to not use the stuff, because it will be forced upon them anyway.

It's certainly a violation of MY right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, the same as being around smokers or drinkers.

Public smoking bans? Ha. People still smoke in secluded corners on college campuses, including even the staff.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 02, 2014
Riiiight, because age restrictions and i.d. checks have already been SO effective at preventing the "under aged" from obtaining alcohol and cigarettes all over the country.
-as well as illegal pot, dont forget that.
Colorado and Washington, you are pissing on honest people's hopes for a rational, sober-minded civilization
-And youre a spokesmodel for rational sober-minded civilians?
it's a violation of other people's TRUE RIGHT to not use the stuff, because it will be forced upon them anyway... or drinkers
Who's forcing you to drink?
smoke and second hand smoke from people using it in public
Its illegal to use it in public you retard.
Who do these idiots think they're fooling?
Who do you think youre fooling?
no fate
1 / 5 (1) Jan 02, 2014
As with everything, judging the reality of a situation by the worst products of it doesn't supply one with an accurate picture of the situation.

Colorado and Washington are helping to expose the true nature of a substance which is obviously misunderstood by the poster above either because he has no experience with it or a bad experience with it.

Over consumption of anything is bad for you...even water, so that argument is null. The addiction argument is just as rediculous considering the mind blowing number of "addictions" most people in Western civilization suffer, alot of which are far more detrimental to health and happiness. What is apparent is that you feel your moral code is above others because of this perceived high ground you have chosen, when in reality you simply display your ignorance of a substance with many medicinal properties. Why do you think you can get a scrip for it?
michael haines
5 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2014
The reason for legalising the drug is to get it out of the hands of criminals...

And to decriminalise use... to treat addiction and its adverse effects as a medical condition that requires treatment

However, it remains a dangerous drug... for some.

It should NOT be packaged as 'lollies' or 'softdrink'.

It should NOT be advertised

It shoud be in plain packing with health warnings

It should only be available to registered adults from registered shops. Any adult should be free to register and use the drug.

It should be heavily taxed.

However, to avoid governments being addicted to the revenue, it should only be used to pay for public health warnings about the use of drugs... showing how badly it can affect people, And to fund drug programs in schools and to pay for treatment and rehabilitation of addicts.

As usage declines, the loss of revenue will not create problems for other government programs

Similar restrictions have led to a drop in cigarette use in Aust.
davidivad
not rated yet Jan 04, 2014
yea, that's called popular vote.
Returners
1 / 5 (2) Jan 04, 2014
Who's forcing you to drink?


You don't have to drink to be killed or maimed by a drunk driver, or for a woman to be abused by a drunken spouse.

Its illegal to use it in public you retard.


People do it anyway.

They did it in public immediately after it was legalized in Washington.

As far as smoking cigarettes goes, people still smoke them in public places like school and college campuses, they just hide a bit further back in the corners now.