First Buyer of Legal Marijuana in Colorado is an Iraq War Veteran

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 1 2014 11:12 AM

First Buyer of Legal Marijuana in Colorado is an Iraq War Veteran

This New Year's Eve was an especially celebratory one for Colorado: When the clock hit midnight (Mountain Time), the state's first legal marijuana sale took place:

Washington state and Uruguay have joined Colorado in legalizing the substance, but Colorado was first to create and implement a regulatory framework. Marijuana sales, taxed at 25 percent, are expected to bring the state about $70 million in revenue this year. And while Colorado residents can purchase up to an ounce, out-of-state tourists may only purchase a quarter-ounce. The current demand is so high, however, that many stores are limiting all customers to less than an ounce in order to preserve supplies.

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Although all Coloradans over age 21 can now buy and smoke the drug legally, the state has placed strict limits on many components of the marijuana market. Sellers may only place advertisements in magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, and websites if they can prove that 70 percent of their audience is over 21. Carrying marijuana out of state is prohibited, as is providing the substance to minors. Presumably, these guidelines are meant to satisfy the federal government, which will permit the experiment so long as the state holds a tight regulatory rein.

***Update, 1:15 PM: The Huffington Post notes that the man in the picture above is Sean Azzariti, an Iraq War veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Azzariti was unable to obtain marijuana to relieve his symptoms—until now. His purchase, one 50 mg. truffle and 3.5 grams of Bubba Kush marijuana, cost $59.74, including a $10.46 tax.

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.

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