Today marked a historic day in America as Colorado became the first state to allow the purchase of recreational marijuana. The citizens of that state along with the state of Washington voted in 2012 on a referendum allowing the over-the-counter sale of the substance to begin Jan. 1, 2014. Colorado despite problems with issuing licencing to prospective retailers started the process at 8 a.m. MT, and Washington state is scheduled to begin sales later in the year.
Twenty states plus the District of Columbia currently allow the purchase of marijuana for medicinal purposes, but the concept of recreational purchases has pushed the envelope completely off the table. The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) who was instrumental in getting the law passed in Colorado stated in a Washington Post interview in Sept. 2013 that it would support similar efforts in 10 additional states by 2017.
According to MPP's Director of State's Policies Karen O'Keefe:
The group breaks its 10 priority states into two general groups: the five states that have a voter-initiative process and the five states where only lawmakers can introduce such rules and laws. The group’s basic point is an economic one: States are throwing away money by not legalizing and taxing pot like alcohol, they argue.
An Iraq war veteran Sean Azzariti was selected to be the first customer to purchase marijuana over-the-counter when the 3D Cannabis Center opened for business this morning. Azzariti was selected because he was a former Marine suffering from PTSD.
According to Denver CNN Azzariti said:
"It's huge," he said at a marijuana store along a light industrial corridor outside downtown Denver. "It hasn't even sunk in how big this is yet. This is what we worked so hard for the last few years," he said of the voter-approved constitutional amendment that led Colorado to become the first state in the nation to open recreational pot stores to anyone age 21 and older. "It's mind-blowing."
Colorado police has vowed to continue enforcing it's current laws against driving while under the influence and breathalyzers will be used if a driver is suspected of being under the influence. The legal age to purchase pot in Colorado is 21 and smoking pot in public is a crime.
One would have to conclude that the kinks in the new law will have to work itself out. People are still trying to figure out if the ban on smoking cigarettes in public include or exclude smoking in a parked vehicle. Or the law that prohibits purchasing alcohol or cigarettes for a minor will also include sharing a joint with a minor. You know the argument, "If they can be drafted and go to war for this country, why can't they drink a beer?"
Not exactly the lead story you want to read for the New Year but leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Happy New Year!!