New Year, New World: Legal Marijuana Sales Begin in Colorado

At eight o’clock this morning, Iraq War Veteran Sean Azzariti stepped up to the counter at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver and made the first ever legal marijuana purchase in the United States. He didn’t have to show a medical marijuana program card, proving he paid a fee and consulted a doctor, he simply flashed his driver’s license to confirm he was over 21 and bought his cannabis products. This is a first for Sean, who uses cannabis to treat his PTSD, as his ailment was not an authorized qualifying condition for the Colorado medical marijuana program.

The first purchase? 3.5 grams of Bubba Kush and a marijuana infused truffle. Total cost? 58.74 with tax included ($40 plus tax for the Kush and $9.28 plus tax for the truffle. You can view his receipt he tweeted out here.)

So far, the 34 stores that were open for business today are reporting massive lines, but no real problems. The sky has yet to fall, drivers aren’t crashing continuously into buildings, violence has not erupted in the streets. Maybe it is possible, after decades of scare mongering, that regulation just might be the better alternative after all? The program is still in it’s beginning stages, and will naturally need fine tuning along the way, but so far it is already looking like a widely better solution than prohibition ever was. Judging by the lines that extended far outside the door and around the building at all of the retail locations, Coloradans seem to be very eager to give regulation a chance. Let’s work together to ensure this program works and that it sets the shining example for all other states to follow in the coming years nationwide.

Congratulations to Colorado and all those who worked so hard to get us to this point. It is truly a historic day.


117 thoughts

  1. Cnngratulations guys. Way to go!
    Beware, some old farts just don’t get it yet.
    For example, my grumpy grandpa:

    “All those kids with their marijuana, Bah! I’ve seen them singing,
    smiling, smoking, and standing around in line all day. They should
    get a job! They think they are making some kind of a statement by
    smoking marijuana. They should be out there fighting to defend our
    Constitution. I hope they all get caught!”
    “They better KEEP OFF MY LAWN! Damn stupid stoners.”

  2. Evergreen Apothecary (the dispensary in the picture) is where my friend & I went today to purchase our weed! We were 57th and 58th in line and had to wait about an hour and a half until our numbers were called to enter the store. I paid $80 for a quarter-ounce and $10 each for two Cheeba Chew (tootsie-roll like candies), with $21 in taxes. Definitely more expensive than “the black market” but was great to be able to say I was one of the first to purchase on the first day. They were handing out certificates and commemorative T-shirts. After checkout, my purchases were heat-sealed into a black plastic bag.

  3. Love it!! Damn I’m mad I moved from Cheyenne Wy now! I coulda drove to ft Collins and got dank cheaper than what people slang it for on the streets! May be job hunting in Colorado

  4. All you people bitching about the price. Well here’s one for ya, where I’m from that’s mad cheap. Here in upstate N.Y. It’s 20$ a gram. 50-60 for a Slice which is 3.5 grams conceder that cheap.

  5. Here in Colorado street value is between 30 and 40 for 3.5 depending on quality and buyer/seller relationship. Hearing about all the steep taxation leading up to this monumental event I am quite supprised that with tax included the bag was under 50. I continue to embrace the legalized possession and personal cultivation(still blowes my mind) and believe recreational sales will be great for Colorado…let’s not f#*k this up!

  6. State police will now have the resources to prioritize murders, rapes and theft over enforcement of nonviolent marijuana posession. Other states in serious budget crisis like Arizona are likely to follow after crackdowns on immigrant incarceration failed to cover their budget deficit.
    And as for the Feds? The white house will keep writing memos ahead of November elections. Comparing “Big marijuana” to Big tobacco whether by addiction or corporate profiteering is laughable even to the most ignorant voters in some backwater town in Florida. I still cant believe the white house spokesman said “the only way to make a profit from marijuana is by making it addictive.” Those words reveal what kind of deceptive policies the white house is used to negotiating with. It makes you wonder how Altria (Philip Morris) and the drug testing industry pitches their lobbying against marijuana legalization, and if that thoughtless quote from the white house staff wasn’t regurgitated from some campaigning smoke break with ALEC and the State Policy Network that is funded by Altria.
    In other words, its apparent who is getting kicked the hardest here today is Big tobacco. Altria not only owns half of the domestic cigarette manufacturing in the U.S., but they also own synthetic food giant Kraft, including Starbucks and Capri-Sun… Pretty much everything legally addictive That stands to lose a LOT against an herbal, wholistic marijuana market. Remember the first legal marijuana purchase by our war vet with PTSD? A mj truffle to go along with my bag of bud?
    Think about the patents and billion-dollar brand names at stake here. Why didnt Starbucks, that would appear to stand to gain everything by selling cannibutter cookies with your mocha-mari-java ™ NOT have joined the legalization bandwagon yet? Because they’re owned by Big tobacco and synthetic Kraft, that have everything to LOSE with legalization. I’m no perfect boycotter. I just walked in to a Starbucks and had a cappuccino today. (And later regretted it… I keep forgetting I dont need caffeine at night. So here I am writing this little column at 1am… +%*$!) But if we had the choice, most of us would walk right into a marijuana cafe instead. I suspect these plans will more likely take fruit when Washington state rolls out their licensing (and Washington DC rolls out their memos) later this summer. Colorado is too scared to screw up their model regulation to let cafe counterculture take over… Yet… While Seattle is just too liberal and open minded to give a damn either way. (They do love their cafes). Besides, correct me if I’m wrong Paul, but I think I read an article here about former Presidente Fox of Mexico teaming up with a former Microsoft exec to make the “starbucks of marijuana” based in Seattle… (Coincidentally that’s where the coffee chain Starbucks began). The only thing standing in their way by summer time are some federal banking regulation memos from the white house to the DOJ… And perhaps some indescribable marijuana brands that would give Frasier a run for his money… How about a Grande-lemon-diesel-Máte-no-foam-hold-the-cream-with-a-drop-of-Seattle-hash-oil? ™
    Order up.

  7. History making release of a banned substance on a small limited scale, hundreds in the line, no violence or killings on the news.

  8. I think it is awesome the price well, the government still has to get it’s share. Newer tougher laws, for the folks in CO. Maybe now more states will follow CO lead an make it legal. If u live in CO that is great. BUT YOU CAN NOT TAKE TO OTHER STATES, big tickets an bye bye weed. Thats the catch.

  9. Not sure that price of $40 will last (even with taxes at the current rates). Once production really gets going and retail outlets produce their own to cut costs – I think prices will fall. Remember Uruguay is setting the price at $28 an ounce !

  10. this is AWESOME folks….lucky CO. PLEASE,PLEASE take good care of your new laws cannabis consumers! so the rest of us may indulge legally! life is good with cannabis! signed,hair tested and bummed in florida…..

  11. I see complaints about price and restrictions here and there, but I’d rather pay a little more for legal weed and not have to risk fines, lawyers fees, jail time and getting my drivers license suspended like in other nearby states (Texas and Oklahoma). This is the beginning of the end of an 80 year prohibition that has cost many lives, billions of dollars, and caused untold misery for many. It may take decades, but other states will follow, and the Federal government will as well.

  12. Uberhigh (LOL!) prices and people willing to pay them will bring in more growers looking to cash in. Then we’ll see if the supply of weed can outstrip demand to the point the price drops below black market value.

    Then we’ll have a race to see who can be the biggest MJ discount store and life will be good!

  13. Hey Colorado & Washington State – The world is watching. Don’t screw this up for the rest of us still faithfully waiting for our unenlightened representatives to make weed (and even hemp) legal for responsible adults.

    In my state, your second offense for possession of any amount is a FELONY.

    Show these lawmakers that we ARE responsible and intelligent enough to make these decisions. I admit, I am VERY apprehensive about that happening though. Lets face it – the ‘status quo’ American citizen is NOT the brightest bulb in the lamp. Prove me wrong, please!


  15. While I appreciate the news, the lead line is inaccurate.

    This was not the first legal purchase. Prior to prohibition free people could purchase cannabis without “permission” from the nanny state.

    It is important to understand that regulation of pot is not freedom, it still allows some people to control others. That’s not freedom, it’s control.

  16. Maybe someday we will all be allowed to make our decisions as if we had minds of our own. I will vote for anyone in the state of Ga. who endorses weed.

  17. Looking forward to the revenue numbers. Nothing speaks louder to government than cash. To see how much prohibition has raped local economies of cash will really set fire to the feet of our elected officials. Thank you NORML, MPP, and everyone involved for bringing this about.

  18. The sky has yet to fall, drivers aren’t crashing continuously into buildings, violence has not erupted in the streets. Maybe it is possible, after decades of scare mongering, that regulation just might be the better alternative after all? – See more at:

    Exactly what I’ve been saying for years now, and we’ve already seen this unforeseen phenomena in those states that have legalized medical mj; that cars aren’t crashing into buildings, uzi-toting maniacs aren’t mowing down legal establishments (any more than bootleggers are shooting up licensed liquor stores lately) and people aren’t wandering like zombies out for the next munchies. I’m looking forward to seeing improvements in the health and quality of life of coloradans and hopefully this will be a harbinger of good changes to come!

  19. I don’t have very “high” hopes of Tennessee getting legalized pot but I assure you I’ll vote for anyone supporting it!

  20. The good: The long lines were good, and prove the popularity of marijuana to the naysayers who think marijuana is used mostly by a small group of unpatriotic radicals. The bad: High prices, I myself would be happy to come to Colorado and undercut legal prices with pretty darn good black market marijuana from a indoor grow at 140 to 120 dollars an ounce. Hell I don’t even own a scale. I just make up the bags so they look right and ask for what I think its worth. My customers are happy and I even get a hug sometimes for my efforts. The you know who: A recent news report here in southeast Idaho goes for the scrambled eggs; the little miss, that’s inappropriate! PTA social services prude lady clams that marijuana use is a problem in public schools with kids coming to class high. A couple of high school boys who were interviewed confirmed this. The news report went on to claim that about 230 high school kids were expelled last year in Colorado. Then reported that marijuana use among teenagers resulted in a 6 to 8 percent loss in adult IQ and permanent brain damage. “That’s right folks kick the kids out of school then claim brain damage.”

  21. $40 for 3.5 grams (140 single tokes in a 25-mg-serving-size long-drawtube one-hitter) is under 29 cents a toke.

    Make your own utensil: article: “12 Ways to Make Pipes from Everyday Objects”, sign in, edit, revise, improve, add better pictures!

    Eliminating 500-mg H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide joint will prevent “screwing it up” and make Colorado look good post-legalization.

    If you’re disappointed to have missed getting a license to sell actual weed, consider opening a One-Hit Head Shop.

  22. I salute the wise people of CO for this legislation!

    We the people of this great country need to stop voting for anyone who wants to continue the idiotic prohibition of cannabis. I will vote for anyone running for office if they are pro-legalization no matter whatever else is on their agenda.

  23. Hey all you fellow tokers
    Happy New Year to you all!
    I am so happy for the people of Colorado, “Free at Last Thank God! free at last! by Martin Luther King.
    Thank you NORML, this could not of happened without you!
    I am so tired of feeling like a criminal, just because I smoke pot. I am a grandma, and I have several health problems that Cannabis helps me with. Actually,smoking pot is so effective for my health problems it helps me more than the prescription
    drugs my doctor gives me. One of my scripts is for the side effects of another script. Crazy right! I have glaucoma and I suffer from depression and anxiety.If I just smoke a little pot it relieves the pressure on my eyes. Also, if I feel depressed or anxious it relaxes me, and I am not depressed or anxious anymore. It is by far more helpful than the drugs my doctor gives me. I go to Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Wilmer Eye Clinic in Baltimore.The best hospital in the world to go to. I have a big-shot doctor there. He said he would never give me a script for Cannabis. He then said if I want to use it eat it. So it won’t hurt my lungs.It does not hurt my lungs. I have clear xrays of my lungs.

  24. As the mother of two special needs kids I would like to see this catch on in texas so please set a good example do we can eventually share in your good fortune.patient waiting in texas

  25. As the mother of two special needs kids I would like to see this catch on in texas so please set a good example so we can eventually share in your good fortune.patiently waiting in texas

  26. Years from now my grand kids will ask me, what was Prohibition like? As I slowly pull out my pipe and fire it up I will look them in the eyes and say to them, People were killing each other, Police were taking kids from their parents, cartels controled the borders, and prison was the place the government wanted to put us.

  27. A few months ago my son decided to go to College (he graduated last year). We sat down together and he said to look up schools in CO…
    Now I know why… This is a positive result in our lives from the new law and I’m all for it.

  28. how will drug testing work now that herb is legal in CO.? how do they test if your stopped and cannabis is not active in your system(maybe a day or so since you have indulged). how are employers reacting concerning randoms?

    [Editor’s note: Amendment 64 did not address drug testing. Same too in Washington state. Government and private employers can still drug test and terminate employment. Unfortunately the legal status of a drug does not insure that employers can’t test and terminate as more and more employers are doing the same today for tobacco.

    Court challenges are assured from employees who get terminated for off the job cannabis use. The hope for reformers is that in time, as cannabis legalization becomes more prevalent, then the rules regarding alcohol and cannabis will look more similar, where off the job alcohol use is of no great concern for most employers.]

  29. Chris Hayes had Ethan Nadelmann (and a woman from the ACLU) on his show Up yesterday evening, Thursday, January 3, 2014, and what basically came out of their analysis that I took away from it was that the California, Oregon, Alaska and a slew of states that have the ballot initiative will be the first to follow suit and legalize recreational marijuana. Then once the dumbass politicians in states, primarily in the East, see what a boon it is they’ll jump on the cannabis money train. Ethan (he’s so hot!) mentioned the Northeast the first region without the ballot initiative to legalize. I’m thinking Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

    It’d be a tailwind if Mayor DeBlasio would simply stop enforcing cannabis prohibition laws in NYC and allow things to gain a foothold in The Big Apple. The City needs that money for its operations and pension liabilities in the future unless NYC wants to make sure it winds up like Detroit. The sooner NYC goes the color of cannabis the sooner prohibition will be over nationwide. I mean, is NYC really going to let Boston be the East Coast first to end prohibition?

  30. I only want a quarter ounce at a time. I’m nextdoor and mobility impaired. May I please have it delivered?

  31. I meant Jan. 2 on my previous post.

    Just read on Huffington Post about the dumbass comment Joe Scarborough made this morning that pot makes you dumb. What an ass!

    Joe, you’re show wouldn’t have the ratings it has if it weren’t for that eye candy Mika. It’s dumbshit remarks like that one, amongst others you’ve made, that keep you off prime time. Maybe Mika will one day shed you and have her own show prime time with bigger bucks than she’s making now, although this schedule is better for the family as she can return to Bent Creek very easily by evening, you know, with the show in morning–wouldn’t be able to do that if it were an evening show, barring earlier recording than air time, of course.

    Hey Joe, now that you’re single again, why don’t you stop putting your foot in your mouth, and make sure you’re not hitting on Mika. She’s far too good for you and clashes with your myopic viewpoints.

  32. @lockedoutofmyshed, so do you think in due time we should treat marijuana like alcohol? In other words, just don’t do it at work, then there’s no point for a drug test no?

  33. To all those stores that raised prices: Do you really want to be remembered this way? Like the oil companies? Like the pharmacutical companies? Like our own Government? Of all the the things that went right these past couple of days, do you really want to be standing on the wrong side with the ones that actually started this entire 70 year mess? Don’t behave like them. Please reconsider your actions in the future. You are one of our important allies. I ask you stay beside us.
    thank you

  34. @ grandma3d,

    Right back at you! Hope you have a great 2014! I am ecstatic with joy about Colorado’s successful first day of legalization. Hope Maryland and my own state, NM, will join that happy list!

    Well, this looks as though it is going well, as day four approaches.
    No sudden rise in crime, just lots of people wanting to but weed, cause they can now but it legally. This is good, also, cause it’ll show the rest of America, that it’s not a bad idea. Once a good example can be set, possibly even Conservatives here in PA will sign onto this idea, and enact weaker laws on Marijuana. Also, once they see the tax money which could be made by legalizing, they may just push toward that direction. I figure even some Republicans might think in terms of reform, once they see just how well it works.

    Way To Go Colorado! 😀

  36. No sudden rise in crime, just lots of people wanting to buy weed, cause they can now buy it legally.

  37. So does this mean all the people locked up for Possession of Marijuana will be released as well?

    [Editor’s note: Because CO has been a decrim state since the late 1970s no one is in prison for possession. However, there are a few hundred prisoners serving time for once illegal sales and cultivation. Now that cannabis is being sold at retail and taxed by the state, CO NORML, CO Civil Liberties Union and other groups turn attention now to these prisoners to seek their earliest possible release.]

  38. Well, I don’t believe that drug testing is going to last, if MJ keeps going. The fact is, 98% of all positives are for MJ, which means the industry loses 98% of its illusion of efficacy.

    I do think that once MJ is legalized, the “right” of employers to test people physically for anything they want to even if it’s legal is going to die as well. At some point, the lawsuits are going to stop being worth the effort, especially when the Drug War ends and the government payouts for drug testing dry up. We can help this along by making a special effort to avoid giving business to companies that drug test, and by making it clear to American companies (perhaps with a letter-writing campaign or petition) where we, the majority, stand on this issue and that companies that stop drug testing will be making better profits.

    After all, there is this thing called the “Employee Polygraph Protection Act”, which prohibits employers from imposing a lie detector test as a requirement for employment or continued employment. This is presumably because of the inherent inaccuracy and unreliability of the technology, something lie detectors share with drug testing, so as the public discourse on this issue spreads as MJ becomes legal, the facts about the drug testing industry and its many frauds will become more well-known. I look forward to the day when our rights will be further protected from unscrupulous authoritarian employers by the “Employee Drug Testing Protection Act”.

    And yes, I do believe this is going to happen, especially if all of us make sure to educate ourselves on the facts about drug testing, spread awareness of these facts to people who don’t know these facts, and eventually make the lies and frauds and injustices of the drug testing industry so well-known that we can make this demand.

    As for the cigarette thing, that is such BS that they can do that, and I’m not a smoker and I don’t approve of smoking. But that is no reason they should be subject to search and seizure. And just look at how drug testing has progressed: First, it was “just for safety-sensitive positions”, as a wedge strategy. Then they start spreading it to other industries and job descriptions based on the idea that the Drug War could be won by making drug-users unemployable. And it continued using the justification that “well, a drug user is breaking the law and an employer has the right to know that” (then why don’t we give them access to our bank accounts, emails, etc. based on that reasoning?). And now we’ve expanded that violation to cigarette smokers by extending that spurious pro-tyranny reasoning to say “well, an employer has the right to know, by any means, whether you are doing something legal that they don’t want you to do on your own time”. Which is also why employers are increasingly requiring your private email and social network accounts so you can be constantly monitored and controlled off-the-clock. Which is also why certain companies want to be able to prevent their female employees from buying birth control. Which is why some companies, such as GameStop, pay you with a card that’s only useable in certain corporate-approved stores. If they could make it so you had to get their personal approval for every purchase you make, they’d do it. Even better, they could make sure you couldn’t use “their” money to, say, make donations to the DNC or to NORML or the DPA, or any other political/social group they consider “inappropriate” and against their corporate “policy”.

    But in terms of drug testing on its own, I do think that the drug testing industry knew this was coming years ago and decided to start creating a legal precedent for employers to test employees for legal substances, so they could protect their industry when MJ inevitably became legal. I don’t believe it will work, though, for two reasons: First, some of their biggest supporters are the tobacco and alcohol industries, and they are alienating half their allies by including cigarettes. Second, by including the customers of one of their allies in their net, they are also alienating a large group of useful idiots (you know, smokers who support drug testing and the Drug War because it targets those “other” drug users and allows them to pretend they are somehow different), thus incentivizing even more people to become educated about the fraud that is drug testing, thus ensuring a greater number of people who will object to being forced to submit to this unreliable pseudo-science, and having their employment dependent on such pseudo-science.

    And, remember, 64% of Americans say it’s unacceptable for employers to fire employees for off-the-job MJ use. ( So this “employers can test for legal substances” is not going to last either.

    Or perhaps it could, if we don’t take a strong stand against drug testing. In the long run, if we don’t fight drug testing, we might as well kiss our freedom goodbye.

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