“Colorado pot shops’ debut is on world stage”

If you’re wondering about all the news coverage of the impending opening of retail marijuana outlets, it’s because the event really is a big deal. Colorado on Wednesday will become the first place in the world — we repeat, in the world — where it will be fully legal to sell marijuana to anyone over 21 in licensed retail outlets.

Amsterdam has long taken a tolerant view toward the sale of marijuana in coffee shops, but as Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, explained recently, “It will actually be fully legal in Colorado, at least under state law, whereas in the Netherlands it’s been tolerated, not actually legal.”

To be sure, the state of Washington, which approved retail sales at the same time as Colorado, will soon join this state in allowing pot outlets to open. So will Uruguay, for that matter. But Colorado will get to the finish line first.

Given the unprecedented novelty of the event, we expect to see a festive atmosphere around pot shops Wednesday, but we would hope that over time — if the state and local jurisdictions regulate cultivation and sales as envisioned — the marijuana business should fade into the background and become only marginally more controversial than the sale of liquor.

via The Denver Post.