The new year got a little happier for pot smokers in Colorado on Wednesday as the nation’s first retail outlets for recreational marijuana opened their doors.
“Marijuana does not have to be a burden to our communities,” said Betty Aldworth, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “Today in Colorado we shift marijuana from the underground into a regulated market.”
The first sale, orchestrated as a news media photo opportunity, was made to Sean Azzariti, an Iraq War veteran who has lobbied publicly for legalization and says pot helps mitigate problems stemming from his post-traumatic stress syndrome. Azzariti, who served six years in the Marine Corps and two tours in Iraq, spent about $60 at 3D Cannabis Center for an eighth of an ounce of “Bubba Kush” and a pot-laden truffle.
“Today I was fortunate enough to be the first recreational cannabis purchase in the world,” Azzariti tweeted. “We did it!!”
Aldworth said pot sales in the state are expected to reach $400 million this year. More than $40 million in tax revenue is targeted for public schools. Dozens of shops are opened or will open soon. She spoke of jobs, tax dollars and peace of mind for marijuana smokers.
But for many, the new law is all about fun.