Colorado’s State-Licensed Pot Shops Are Open for Business

Today about three dozen state-licensed pot
shops opened in Colorado, the first jurisdiction in the world to
legalize recreational marijuana sales. The historic event attracted
pot consumers from throughout the country and journalists from
around the world. The Denver Post reports
that lines began forming at stores early this morning, with crowds
of hundreds waiting patiently at some outlets. “It’s been pretty
smooth, orderly,” a Denver police spokesman said. “People were
acting respectable.”

Curtis Durham, a
24-year-old customer at LoDo Wellness in Denver, came all the way
from Chandler, Texas, to experience the thrill of being
respectable. “I’ve been to jail two or three times just for simple
marijuana possession of less than a gram,” he told the
Post. “I went to jail for having a pipe.” At 3D
Cannabis, site of the
ceremonial first sale
at 8 a.m., a customer from Ohio “said he
drove 20 hours straight to be here and isn’t going home.”

The demand generated by the novelty of today’s sales gave
cannabis consumers a taste of the shortage
they are likely to face until marijuana from the first plants
legally grown for the recreational market is available in the

Within hours, the hand of the free market was already evident.
In the face of strong demand, one shop raised its price for an
eighth of an ounce from $25 to $45. Others kept prices steady. A
number of shops imposed limits on the amount of pot customers could

Kayvan Khalatbari, co-owner of Denver Relief, predicts that
“people are going to be able to sell eighths for 60, 70, 80 bucks
for the first few months.” His dispensary, one of 136 retail
outlets in Colorado that have been
state licenses for recreational sales so far, has not
received local approval yet, but he’s in no hurry. “We’re not going
to be open until mid-to-late February,” Khalatbari says, and
at that point Denver Relief will continue catering mainly to
patients, selling about a fifth of its production to a members-only
clientele of recreational users. “There are going to be a lot of
places that, even though they have that [recreational] license,
they’re not going to be able to take care of people,” he says. His
advice to residents of other states who are contemplating a
Colorado cannabis tour: “I would say to wait a couple months, let
it die down. I think they’re going to have a tough time, and
they’re going to pay way too much these first few months, because
the supply is so limited.”

They might also want to get behind legalization efforts in their
own states. The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which was the main
financial backer of Colorado’s legalization campaign, is supporting
a petition drive in Alaska for an initiative that would appeal on
the ballot in August. MPP is working on November 2016 ballot
initiatives in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana,
and Nevada, plus lobbying legislators in Delaware, Hawaii,
Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. “The era of
marijuana prohibition is officially over in Colorado,”
MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia. “The state is
demonstrating to the rest of the nation and the entire world that
regulating marijuana works.”

from Hit & Run

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