Weed smokers flock to Colorado for first legal recreational sales

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The debut of the world’s first legal recreational marijuana got off to a smooth and celebratory start with stores across Colorado selling joints, buds and other pot-infused products to customers from across the United States.

Throngs lined up from before dawn on Wednesday to be among the first to buy legal recreational marijuana at about three-dozen licensed stores, with cheers erupting when doors opened at 8am local time.

“It’s a historical event. Everyone should be here,” said Darren Austin, 44, who drove from Georgia and joined a festive crowd gathered in falling snow outside Denver’s 3-D Cannabis store. “This is going to be a turning point in the drug war. A beginning of the peace.”

His son Tyler, 21, held a sign saying “It’s about time”. Like his father, he painted his face green. “I’m going to move to Colorado. Seriously,” said Darren.

Behind them waited Savannah Edwards, 21, a substitute teacher who drove overnight from Lubbock, Texas. “I’m here not so much for the marijuana as the history.” Just as people reminisced about Woodstock, she would be telling this story half a century from now, she said. “I’ve never been to a dispensary before. I don’t even know what I’ll buy.”

Colorado became the first jurisdiction in the world – beating Washington state and Uruguay by several months – to legalise recreational cannabis sales. Voters approved the measure in a ballot initiative in the November 2012 general election – a landmark challenge to decades of “drug war” dogma which could herald a shift as radical as the end of alcohol prohibition in 1933. Read the full story