Today January 1, 2014 the state of Colorado legalizes marijuana for those 21 years and older.
Colorado adult residents can purchase up to an ounce at a time, while tourists can purchase up to one-quarter ounce. However, some shop owners have said they may put a purchasing cap in place at first to preserve supplies.
In November, Colorado voters also approved a 25 percent tax on all recreational-marijuana sales. The taxes are expected to generate roughly $70 million in additional revenue for the state in 2014.
“I think it’s a success story,” said state Rep. Dan Pabon (D-Denver), who helped write the state’s marijuana law. “But I think it’s actually much broader than a marijuana success story — this is Democracy and public policy making at its best.”
Pabon also noted that the law is only as good as its enforcement, and that it will truly be tested in the months following Jan. 1.
Not everyone is as supportive as Pabon. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (D) has been a vocal opponent of marijuana legalization and when asked recently by The Denver Post if he “hated” the idea of marijuana legalization in the state, Hancock replied “yes.”
“I have seen the devastation of the progression of marijuana to harsher drugs like crack cocaine,” Hancock said. “And a lot of the folks that have dealt with substance abuse — particularly with cocaine and crack cocaine — they started with marijuana.”
Before voters approved Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana, in 2012, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) also voiced opposition to the pot measure, saying, “Colorado is known for many great things –- marijuana should not be one of them.” Hickenlooper cited concerns that legal marijuana could lead to an increase in underage use.