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Colorado legalizes retail sales of recreational marijuana

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The term "Mile High City" takes on new meaning as locals line up early to be the first purchasers of legal recreational marijuana. Cannabis legislation has been quite controversial and varies from state to state. On January 1, CNN reports that Colorado is the first state in the union to legalize retail cannabis sales since it's prohibition in 1937.

In 2012, marijuana was legalized for recreational use in both Colorado and Washington state. Colorado is the first to allow retail marijuana stores though. Washington is expected to follow in those ground-breaking footsteps later in 2014.

This landmark legalization of recreational weed in Colorado is definitely going to be watched closely by those in other states. It also means that Colorado residents and tourists now have more control over what they smoke (or eat or drink.) Different strains of cannabis can be purchased, each having different characteristics that may appeal to a buyer. Further, consumers can be comfortable in knowing their product is safe and untainted, whereas illegal purchases really had no guarantees.

Another benefit to the legalization of recreational cannabis is the ability to buy marijuana-laced snacks such as cookies, candies and even soda. This will certainly appeal to those who have no interest in actually smoking the product.

Marijuana use in Colorado is limited to those at least 21-years old. Further, smoking the substance in public spaces is not allowed and those who do it can be fined. Consumers also must use the product in-state. Carrying cannabis outside of Colorado state lines is illegal and those who try it can be punished to the extent of the law in which they are caught in possession.

If cannabis retail sales in Colorado proves successful, expect other states to follow suit. The pioneer state is taxing marijuana at 25% and expect to reap as much as $100 million in tax revenue this year alone.

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