Last Wednesday, marijuana consumers in Colorado made history when they lined up outside of dispensaries to purchase the first legal recreational pot for sale in over 70 years. Social media and news websites alike went nuts with talk of #marijuana and photos of lines reminiscent of the latest iPhone release. People in the state of Colorado were understandably excited, and they had the support of marijuana advocates around the world.
The law to end marijuana prohibition in Colorado was passed on the same day as similar legislation in Washington State, just over one year ago. Now, Coloradoans ages 21 and older can purchase up to one ounce of marijuana products from dispensaries across the state. While you still can’t consume it in public and you definitely can’t take it out of state or sell it if you are unlicensed, the law marks a giant step towards ending prohibition nationwide.
“As a nation, we look back at alcohol prohibition and ask how we could have been so foolish,” said Mason Tvert, of Marijuana Policy Project, according to HuffPost. “It’s time to look forward and put the equally foolish policy of marijuana prohibition behind us.”
The first legal buyer in Colorado was Sean Azzariti, an Iraq war vet, whose smiling face can be seen around the Internet as he hands over cash in exchange for what his receipt says was 3.5 grams of Bubba Kush and a ganja truffle. Total cost: $59.74.
There seemed to be only one complaint about the first recreational marijuana sales—that the pot was costly. But that was expected, largely because of taxes and the general mark-up on everything in high demand.
While most are celebrating the availability of legal recreational pot, there are still those critics who think this is the beginning of the end.
“I have seen the devastation of the progression of marijuana to harsher drugs like crack cocaine,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. “And a lot of the folks that have dealt with substance abuse — particularly with cocaine and crack cocaine — they started with marijuana.” (Side note: these addicts likely also all drank soda before they turned to cocaine and crack—does that make soda a gateway drug?)
The bottom line is that the people of the U.S. want to have a say in whether they indulge in marijuana, a plant with numerous medicinal benefits and few (if any) negative side effects. The plant has been proven to aid in the treatment of depression and anxiety, weight loss, seizure disorders, cancer, and pain management. Further, it is a safe way for consenting adults to relax without putting their own or others’ health at risk, as they do when they imbibe in alcohol, a completely legal and socially-accepted drug.