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article imageMary Jane's first dance in Colorado rakes in more than $1 million

By Angela Atkinson     Jan 3, 2014 in Politics
Denver - Recreational marijuana sales became legal in Colorado on Jan. 1, and pot shops reported record sales compared to the days of medical marijuana.
Owners across the state say they made more than $1 million on the first day of sales, despite the blustery weather and winding lines.
When Colorado passed the bill that legalized recreational marijuana in November 2012, opinions varied across the country, ranging from the extreme resistance to those who applauded and financially supported the movement—and the law went into effect on New Year’s Day 2014.
Legal recreational marijuana: The limits of the law
At 8 a.m. on Wednesday, it became legal in Colorado for licensed specialty shops to sell small amounts to adults 21 and over for recreational use. The highly anticipated first day sales happened in 24 shops (though sources say as many as 37 stores were licensed and more than a hundred more have applied), the majority located in Denver, throughout the state as both proponents and opponents carefully watched the early sales figures.
While other countries have long allowed the use and sale of marijuana, Colorado is the first place in the world where it will be regulated and tracked from the time it’s a seed until the time it hits store shelves.
The law does limit the amount that can legally be purchased, however. Those with Colorado identification can purchase up to an ounce of marijuana at a time, while those with out-of-state ID can purchase up to a quarter ounce at individual stores—however, there are currently no laws that restrict shopping in more than one store.
Still, buyers may only possess up to one ounce at any one time, and officials say that if you try to stockpile, you could be dealing with some serious legal consequences.
Why more states could consider legalizing recreational marijuana
"Everything's gone pretty smoothly," Barbara Brohl, head of the Colorado Department of Revenue and the state's top marijuana regulator, told 9News about the first day of sales.
Besides the fact that there are no recorded incidents of violence, drama or otherwise unpleasant circumstances around the first-day sales, there are the numbers to consider.
Take into account that the 25% state tax on top of the usual 2.9% rate is expected to generate nearly $70 million a year, with almost $30 million of that earmarked for the schools.
And, while marijuana is still not legal on a federal level, the Department of Justice issued a memo last August that told federal prosecutors not to pursue prosecution for recreational pot in Colorado and Washington.
Why opponents say ‘no way’ to legalization
Not everyone was so happy with the changes, of course. Opponents such as Project SAM’s (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) co-founder, Kevin Sabat, have long campaigned against legalization. He said the landmark changes in Colorado are the beinining of a “Big Marijuana” era, much like the “Big Tobacco” era this country saw, according to the LA Times.
“This is an industry that makes money off addiction,” Sabat told the Times, adding that he worried children might be swayed into thinking marijuana is harmless. “We don’t think legalization is inevitable.”
How do you feel about Colorado’s legalization? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.
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