“It's huge,” Iraq war veteran Sean Azzariti while waiting outside of the 3D Cannabis Center in downtown Denver. “It hasn't even sunk in how big this is yet.”
The dispensary was one of a handful that opened to lines of waiting people on New Year's Day, but many more are expected to pop up in the coming months.
Azzarati has his place in the marijuana history books, if you will. The war veteran – a Marine who served from 2000 to 2006 – was selected to be the first in line because he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, which is not considered a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.
“This is what we worked so hard for the last few years,” Azzarati said. “It's mind-blowing.”
Azzarati took home an eighth of an ounce. His cost? $59.50.
The voter-approved constitutional amendment led Colorado to become the first state in the nation to open recreational pot stores, legally selling to anyone over the age of 21. For that, consumers, ranging from those who require the drug for medical reasons to your typical “potheads,” all were willing to brave long lines in frigid, blustery weather.
Not everyone is happy with the legalization of pot however.
CBS says marijuana skeptics watched in alarm and warned that the celebratory vibe in Colorado masked dangerous consequences. “Wider marijuana availability, they say, would lead to greater illegal use by youth, and possibly more traffic accidents and addiction problems,” reports CBS.
“It's not just a benign recreational drug that we don't have to worry about,” said Dr. Paula Riggs, head of the Division of Substance Dependence at the University of Colorado-Denver medical campus.
“Legalization – with all of the American-style promotion that will accompany it – is the last thing people in recovery, parents, communities and even our nation need right now,” Smart Approaches to Marijuana said on its website.
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Let's hope that the legalizing of pot doesn't produce more stories like this one: