From Telluride to Denver, thousands of people cheerfully stood in lines for hours to buy legal marijuana after presenting nothing more than identification.
Marijuana activists hailed the day as a watershed in their effort to overturn anti-cannabis laws. Store owners — several of whom said the turnout exceeded even their own ambitious expectations — feared running out of supply.
Police reported no problems with the crowds, and government officials marveled at the calm.
Overall, the day went as marijuana activists had hoped it would: In the most extraordinary way possible, it was ordinary.
“I’ve been waiting 34 years for this moment,” enthused Chrissy Robinson, who arrived at one store, Evergreen Apothecary in Denver, at 2 a.m. to be among the first in line. “I’ve been smoking since I was 14. No more sneaking around.”
At least 37 stores across the state were fully licensed and opened to sell marijuana to anyone 21 or over for any purpose, according to official lists and Denver Post research. Sales could commence at 8 a.m., and activists — who campaigned for the marijuana-legalization measure whose passage in November 2012 made the sales possible — arranged a ceremonial “first purchase” at the Denver store 3D Cannabis Center.
The store used to be called “Denver’s Discreet Dispensary,” so the name change speaks to the rapid evolution of Colorado’s marijuana industry, which began in earnest only about four years ago. 3D Cannabis Center owner Toni Fox watched the clock carefully as the hour approached and dozens of reporters and photographers crowded into one of her store’s tiny purchasing areas.
“It’s 8 a.m.,” she said. “I’m going to do it.”
The first customer was 32-year-old Sean Azzariti, an Iraq war veteran who campaigned for marijuana legalization and said he uses cannabis to alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Under a canopy of cameras, Azzariti bought an eighth of an ounce of the marijuana strain Bubba Kush and a package of marijuana-infused candy truffles.
“We did it!” a beaming Azzariti said at the end of the purchase.
The cost was $59.74, including $10.46 in tax. At the bottom of the receipt was the message “Thank you for your purchase!”
“I’m confident these businesses will perform and be a good example of how states can regulate marijuana,” activist Mason Tvert said just prior to the store’s first purchase. “Today, there will be people around the country buying marijuana. But only in Colorado will they be buying it in stores like this one.”
Source: Denver Post