Pot shops did record sales compared to the “medical marijuana days” on Wednesday when recreational marijuana opened. Pot shop owners across Colorado believe they collectively made more than $1 million statewide.
Supporters, critics and other states are waiting to see what will happen in Colorado on day two and beyond. In Perth, Australia, headlines say “Move Over Amsterdam.”
Long lines and blustery winter weather greeted Colorado marijuana shoppers testing the nation’s first legal recreational pot shops Wednesday.
It was hard to tell from talking to the shoppers, however, that they had waited hours in snow and frigid wind.
“It’s a huge deal for me,” said Andre Barr, a 34-year-old deliveryman who drove from Niles, Mich., to be part of the legal weed experiment. “This wait is nothing.”
The world was watching as Colorado unveiled the modern world’s first fully legal marijuana industry – no doctor’s note required (as in 18 states and Washington, D.C.) and no unregulated production of the drug (as in the Netherlands). Uruguay has fully legalized pot but hasn’t yet set up its system.
Colorado had 24 shops open Wednesday, most of them in Denver, and aside from long lines and sporadic reports of shoppers cited for smoking pot in public, there were few problems.
“Everything’s gone pretty smoothly,” said Barbara Brohl, Colorado’s top marijuana regulator as head of the Department of Revenue.
It may seem like everyone was excited for the legalization, but there were vociferous critics too. It’s a good reminder that 35 percent of Colorado voted against Amendment 64.
Colorado residents must be 21 or older to buy marijuana in Colorado. But just like alcohol, there’s a good chance people underage might find a way to get their hands on the drug.
State regulators were out on Wednesday, making sure no one under 21 was able to buy marijuana. The pot shop 9NEWS went to on Wednesday was very diligent about checking everyone’s ID.
9NEWS spoke with one doctor from Denver Health who treats kids with substance abuse issues. He says addiction numbers have gone up since Colorado approved medical marijuana. While there are no long-term studies on the effects of pot on adults, there has been research done on kids.
The doctor 9NEWS spoke with says marijuana can do some real damage to young people who are still growing.
Marijuana skeptics, of course, watched in alarm. They warned that the celebratory vibe in Colorado masked dangerous consequences. Wider marijuana availability, they say, would lead to greater illegal use by youth, and possibly more traffic accidents and addiction problems.
“It’s not just a benign recreational drug that we don’t have to worry about,” said Dr. Paula Riggs, head of the Division of Substance Dependence at the University of Colorado-Denver medical campus.
Colorado has hundreds of pending applications for recreational pot retailers, growers and processors. So it’s too soon to say how prices would change more people enter the business, increasing supply and competi*ion.