Maybe it was the long holiday weekend, or the bright sunshine and relatively warmer winter weather after a bitter cold and snowy New Year's day. But the good feelings continue across Colorado for the thousands of people who are turning out to legally buy cannabis.
No incidents were
reported at the several
dozen shops across the state that began recreational sales on Thursday, the first day of a new law allowing such purchases.
Medical use of
marijuana has been legal in Colorado for over
a decade, and cannabis shops like the Evergreen Apothecary in
Denver are simply part of the local landscape in many of the
Centennial State's towns and cities. That familiarity also seemed to
contribute to the relaxed and festive vibe of the 100 or so people
patiently waiting in line outside the Evergreen, some for well over
A number of those waiting to buy cannabis were from out-of-state and in a festive mood. James Neilson, 27, and his sister Jacqueline, 22, drove 10 hours from Tulsa, Okla., to Denver, just to take part in the occasion. They waited outside one Denver store on New Year's day in hopes of being among the first people to make a purchase, but had to go to a second store when the first one quickly sold out.
I could get it back home if I wanted to,” James admitted,”but
the thing is, I'd rather do it legally. And I'd actually rather have
my tax dollars go toward this cause in the first few days, so that
other states and other governments will wise up and catch on. I think
it will help close deficits in a lot of governments' budgets –
citywide, statewide and even at the federal level.”
Whatever marijuana they purchased, Chase and his friends said, would be consumed in Colorado as well.
appeared to be in line not only to make a purchase, but to make a
statement. Thirty-eight-year-old Claudia, a systems analyst from Miami, was in
Denver for a business conference, “and it happened to coincide with
this historic event,” she said. “I'm a Libertarian, and I believe
that cannabis should be legalized to reduce crime that is associated
with the black market.”
“I think more states are going to go
down this path if it's successful here,” Nathan said. “I think
there's a big question mark on it.”
“We don't do that great a job with alcohol with that,” he noted. “And [Colorado becoming] a distribution point for the rest of the country -- I'm a little worried that that might transpire.”
Sixty-eight-year-old John, another Denver resident, has been smoking marijuana since 1965 and said it was about time that cannabis was legal. “It's a win-win situation for everybody,” he said, “especially for the state of Colorado. They fit to make money.”
And as for any upcoming legal or political challenges faced by the state now that this historic law is in effect? “I don't know what the issues would be,” he deadpanned, “other than helping the lines move faster.”