DENVER, CO — At 8 a.m. on New Year’s Day, in an industrial area a few miles from downtown Denver, a former Marine named Sean Azzariti walked into a giant store and bought a bag of weed. Legally. To smoke just for fun, if he’s so inclined.
Mr. Azzariti’s transaction Wednesday — 3.5 grams of Bubba Kush for $40 and 50 mg of Truffles for an additional $9.28 — was the first in the state’s grand experiment in legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
The first-in-the-nation law was greeted with long lines at retailers and a lot of “Rocky Mountain High” jokes. But beyond the buzz, the measure represented the institution of a major new public policy in America — one opponents fear will turn the state into a dangerous land of debauchery and that backers hope sets a nationwide precedent.
If Colorado is able to successfully legalize marijuana without causing a social backlash, the tourism, tax and other considerations are likely to compel several other states to quickly follow suit.
Blockbuster said it will close about 300 of its U.S. stores in the coming weeks, thinning the once ubiquitous video rental chain’s bricks-and-mortar presence.
The closures will result in the loss of about 3,000 jobs and leave the company with about 500 stores in the nation, said John Hall, a spokesman for parent company Dish Network Corp. in Englewood, Colo.
Last week, Blockbuster’s British unit entered into administration, a version of bankruptcy, and said it would close 160 stores there, according to the administrator, accounting and consulting firm Deloitte.