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.