New Year’s Day in Colorado will take on a whole new meaning this year, and marijuana retailers are already starting to gear up for the state's first day of legal, recreational pot sales.
You could call it “Green Wednesday.” For the first time in U.S. history, those over the age of 21 will be able to visit stores and buy pot and pot-laced substances in a manner similar to alcohol. (Via CNN)
It comes more than a year after Colorado and Washington voters approved ballot initiatives to legalize recreational use. Washington still hasn’t set up a system to make it commercially available. (Via Euronews)
Colorado is actually going even further than places like Amsterdam, where pot is not technically legal. And the commercial system is a step ahead of Uruguay, which is still in the process of setting up a state-sanctioned market.
While many pot stores say they anticipate long lines, not all stores are approved to sell recreational pot. The state has more than 500 medical dispensaries and so far only 160 of those have applied for recreational licenses. (Via KMGH)
"8 a.m., January 1. We will be open for business. We're very excited. Looks like we've got our licenses right here. So... there it is." (Via KTVD)
The state law requires shops get approval from local governments, adding to the number of hoops some store owners have had to go through.
Many cities and counties have required shop owners to go through criminal and financial background checks, fingerprint checks and even pay fees of up to $15,000. (Via KXRM)
"If this is cannabis chaos that’s going to send a bad message to a lot of other communities, to other states that are considering legalization of recreational marijuana.” (Via KDVR)
Some of the law's other regulations include a ban on public pot consumption with hefty penalty fines. Also, visitors from out of state will be able to buy only a quarter-ounce at a time, while Colorado residents can buy up to an ounce. (Via Denver Post)
The law imposes a 15 percent excise tax and 10 percent sales tax for recreational pot, with the first $40 million raised going toward school construction projects. (Via KETV)
While marijuana consumption and possession is still completely illegal on the federal level, the U.S. Justice Department has said it won't challenge states who legalize recreational marijuana use. Instead, it says it will primarily focus on serious marijuana trafficking and distribution to children.
See more at newsy.com.