​How Colorado has gone to pot

Sally Vander Veer runs Medicine Man, a thriving marijuana business: "It's very scary for me, as a person who manages the money. But also it's a public health risk. We have to pay our employees in cash at times. So they have cash in their pockets. There's a lot of cash being thrown around Colorado."

Gov. Hickenlooper just signed legislation that will set up an in-state credit union for marijuana money. But it's unlikely to fix the problem any time soon.

"It's still got to go through the Federal Reserve and be approved by the Federal Reserve, and that's going to be tricky," he told Petersen.

Despite the challenges, legalization is gaining momentum. Washington made recreational pot legal at the same time as Colorado, and sales will begin there this summer. Alaska will vote this November, and maybe Oregon, where a petition drive is now underway.

As states experiment, the Obama administration has taken a look-the-other-way approach, but in a couple of years, a new president may not.

"You could have a new administration come in and they could easily try to close down the commercial businesses," said Beau Kilmer of the Rand Corporation, which tracks marijuana trends. "That's not hard; we have their addresses."

It's possible, says Kilmer, that the federal government could do a 180 under a different administration and say to Colorado, "Close the stores, or we'll come in and close them for you."

But for now, marijuana use at gatherings in Colorado is a choice instead of a crime.

And the man who opposed legalization, Gov. Hickenlooper, now sees that his state may change minds ever so slowly across America.

"This didn't pass by just 1 or 2 percent, right? It passed by more than 10 percent," Hickenlooper said.

"It got more votes than President Obama in that election," said Petersen.

"It sure did! And I think if we do our job properly, then I think other states will follow, and I think we might 10 years, 20 years down the road see a point where the country is much more tolerant as a nation."


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