From Denver to Telluride, Colorado Makes History

Colorado made history yesterday, becoming the first government to allow marijuana to be purchased by adults for recreational use.

From Denver to Telluride, the lines were long. Here's a look at the day in photos.

The stores are projected to generate a lot of income, as well as jobs.

Colorado projects $578.1 million a year in combined wholesale and retail marijuana sales to yield $67 million in tax revenue, according to the Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly.

I'll be keeping track of emerging marijuana legal and policy issues, both federal and state, at a new blog on marijuana laws I launched yesterday. Take a look. (It also looks good on mobile devices.)

< Happy New Year's Eve | Calif Court Okays Undocmented Resident as Attorney >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Oh happy day... (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 08:37:40 AM EST
    Love some of the pics...like the one with dozens of wide smiling faces, despite waiting in the cold on a long-arse line.  For some, the long long wait is over.  2 down, 48 to go.

    Be proud Colorado...ya done good, ya done real good.

    $55 dollar quarters of sungrown chronic here (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Dadler on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 01:24:06 PM EST
    But still not legal in the CO manner. California can't be far behind, can it? What would be the point?

    And in honor of the memorable day, ... (none / 0) (#15)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 05:12:58 PM EST
    ... some retro stoner comedy from Cheech & Chong -- the short and sweet "Dave's Not Here," and my all-time favorite guilty pleasure, "Sister Mary Elephant":

    "The first day of my vacation. What I did on my summer vacation. The first day of my vacation, I woke up. Then I went downtown, to look for a job. Then I hung out in front of the drug store. The second day of my summer vacation, I woke up. Then I went downtown, to look for a job. Then I hung out in front of the drug store. The third day of my summer vacation, I woke up. Then I went downtown, to look for a job. Then I got a job, keeping people from hanging out in front of the drug store. The fourth day of my summer vacation ..."



    This Morning... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 10:50:55 AM EST
    ...on the TV, they were in Colorado and it was craZy, but every person they interviewed who was against the law, included a recovering drug abuser, had some version of "The Kids...".

    The last refuge of the truly deluded, those damn kids, as if THC didn't exist and wasn't available in every single high school in the country.  Still not sure how a law for people 21+ is going to suddenly turn every kid in Colorado into a pot head.  Which apparently is worse than them being the GD devil.  Thanks Mr & Mrs Reagan for that.

    Still can not believe the will of the people is being exercised in an adjacent state, craZy.  I have a hard time believe it will sustain, hoping, but it just seems so unreal.  Colorado is more liberal in terms of THC than Amsterdam with Washington right behind.

    And the effect they are dreading here in Texas, spillover, has been in effect since CO has legalized it for medical purposes.  There is definitely a surplus that is benefiting all users, even the ones outside CO.

    Ben & Jerry's weighs in... (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by unitron on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 11:20:10 PM EST
    Bwahaha! (none / 0) (#31)
    by Zorba on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:04:06 PM EST
    Too cute.
    But way "back in the day, " it wasn't ice cream.
    It was potato chips and French onion dip, plus pizza (delivered, of course).      ;-)

    yeah, i'll believe that when i see audited figures (none / 0) (#2)
    by cpinva on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 10:41:24 AM EST
    I'm not able to trace the source of these projected sales and excise/sales tax revenues, so as far as I'm concerned, someone just pulled them out of thin air.

    two aspects of this that get conveniently left out of the equation:

    1. as more stores open, price competition will naturally develop, reducing the retail sales, unless the state sets a minimum selling price. this will negatively affect retail sales taxes.

    2. that retail price competition will put downward pressure on wholesale suppliers, negatively affecting the excise tax component of projected tax revenues.

    oh, and one more thing, any idiot can grow his/her own, cutting out all other parties in the revenue stream.

    so yeah, i'll believe it when I see it confirmed by independent third parties.

    I Don't Know About That (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 12:36:57 PM EST
    Of course they pulled it out of thin air, there is no model in the world to calculate the demand for legal weed and how being able to grown your own will effect supply, which seems nominal at best.

    People can distill their own alcohol, churn their own butter, and grow their own vegetables, but for a variety of reasons, most just pay others to do it.

    The price has been established on the black market, it's the consumption is the unknown variable. Especially the tourism angle.

    Alcohol sales and licensing generated about $45M in 2012 for Colorado.

    Either way, I hope it turns out to be a "Winner, Winner, chicken dinner" for the state.


    there are official numbers (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 12:09:20 PM EST
    for example, the Colorado Dept of Revenue's 2013 report on medical marijuana sales for fiscal year 2012 (7/11 - 7/12.)  (obviously these numbers will be much smaller than the numbers for recreational marijuana.)

    *Retail Sales $ 219,320,929
    * Sales Tax   $ 5,982,950

    For Denver

    • Retail Sales 96,673,823
    • 2,640,665

    You can find the medical marijuana numbers for 2013 by quarter here, with the fourth quarter report showing the totals for the year.

    For 2013, the retail sales of medical marijuana jumped to $338,646,922. and sales tax to $9,112,237. Denver had 152,303,546 in sales and paid $4,179,751 in sales tax.

    There are several reports by policy groups crunching the numbers. I've written about some before. Just google them instead of making unsubstantiated claims.


    Here's a report from the (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 12:13:09 PM EST
    and one from the (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 12:17:04 PM EST
    one more report (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 12:38:23 PM EST
    from Colorado Futures at Colorado State Univ.

    • the total dollar value of the retail and wholesale markets for adult marijuana are estimated to be $605.7 Million and $144.8 Million, respectively.
    • Applying the 15% tax at wholesale, the 2.9% state sales tax at retail and the proposed special sales tax at retail of 15% yields the following tax revenue estimates for 2014‐15, the first fiscal year of adult marijuana:
    • A 15% excise tax imposed at the point of cultivation will yield $21.7 Million
    •  A special sales tax of 15% will yield $90.9 Million
    • The existing state sales tax of 2.9% will yield $17.6 Million

    Or not (none / 0) (#9)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 12:43:42 PM EST
    regarding retail sales price, volume and tax revenue.

    But honestly, jb, that study ... (none / 0) (#16)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 05:26:43 PM EST
    ... fails to take into account estimated tax revenues from increasing late-night sales at the Taco Bell and Jack In the Box drive-through windows, thanks to escalating statewide rates of the munchies.

    Jeez, Jeralyn. (none / 0) (#17)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 05:28:30 PM EST
    People are going to have to give up smoking pot just to keep track of all those numbers.

    Not Really (none / 0) (#19)
    by squeaky on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 08:46:56 PM EST
    For some, math and accounting details are easier to stay on top of while stoned.

    For some, weed is a performance enhancer for certain tasks.


    Indeed. I had college roomates (none / 0) (#29)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 02:39:44 PM EST
    who got baked before starting their calculus/physics/chemistry homework because it made them more "intrigued" by the work. Of course, these were the same kids who kept the bong by their bedside and sparked up just about every AM before their feet even hit the floor. Me, I couldn't even write legibly after a few hits...

    #1 is good! (none / 0) (#13)
    by AmericanPsycho on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 01:43:26 PM EST
    The state may not realize as many tax revenues but for everybody else it's a great deal. I hope the politicians in Denver haven't already promised too much for too many

    Washington (none / 0) (#10)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 01:14:50 PM EST
    has had legal pot for a year....Maybe your "bragging rights" stem from the fact that Colorado passed their law first?

    Love the law.  Hate the smell.  But maybe pot will be my "healthcare" now that I've dropped my medical insurance.

    Drugs Inc (none / 0) (#12)
    by simrion on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 01:30:14 PM EST
    Relatively short time lurker here (about a year now.)  Great discussions here for the most part.  Wanted to weigh in on an interesting Drugs Inc episode a month or so back on Nat Geo (I think?)  It was about the pot tourism in Denver and how the readily available MJ was driving the Gangs in the area to push more crack cocaine and, due the increase in pressure upon their illicit trade, supposedly driving the level of gang related crime to a new level.  Not sure how accurate but it was an interesting wpisode.  

    Its good that its going (none / 0) (#20)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 09:03:04 PM EST
    nothing beats a real world situation to see what happens, and what will happen is anybodies guess.

    NPR was saying right now shops can't use credit cards or checks, cash only which has to be a logistical nightmare.

    Pot is easier to grow than a lawn, hard to believe people will be paying even beer prices to get high.

    People who get paid based on drug laws are not going to be sitting on their thumbs, so who is going to be getting arrested? Local, state, and federal.

    Key thing I think to watch, what goes on with those under 21. Are parents going to grow/buy their kids weed, or allow them to continue using a black market?

    What are cops going to do when minors are found smoking?

    How much weed, or residue on you will get people into trouble places where its not legal?

    Credit Cards... (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 11:13:47 AM EST
    ...I am guessing that Visa and such can't accept charges for illegal transactions, like prostitution, copyright infringement, and Schedule I drug purchases.

    I don't imagine there are many parents buying or growing weed for their kids and that part of the law requires that the area be under lock and key.  And I would think the same type laws that keep parent from giving their kids booze will keep most from giving them weed.

    Minors, the law is similar to alcohol, the only thing that varies is they would have to take blood instead of using the breathalyzer.  The threshold is higher for blood, especially for a minor, so that is going to much lower IMO.

    Cops will do the same thing they do when people are consuming alcohol in public, write them a BS ticket for it.  Ditto for public intoxication and the beloved disorderly conduct tickets.

    Residents can buy an oz, non state residence can buy a quarter of that.  ID is required to buy in Colorado.  But that won't stop people from going from shot to shop to get more than their allotted amount.  The Denver airport, wisely IMO, decided to not sell cannabis.

    Pot is not easier to grow than lawn if you want something that won't give you a headache.  You can buy Mexican brick weed here for $50 and oz, where as hydro, grown indoors and infinitely more potent, is around $350 for an oz.  It requires separating female plants from males so that the energy they normally use to make seeds, goes into THC production.  So no seeds, whereas the Mexican brick weed is nothing but seeds and the work it take to deseed doesn't make it a viable option for most people.  And of course hydro is grown indoors under very expensive lighting complete with nutrient delivery systems.  Combined with the cost of seeds from various high-bred strains and growing it yourself is about as viable as distilling your own liquor, not something most people want to do.

    Throwing seeds in a field is going to give you ditch weed, which is not really even consumable unless you like getting a headache.


    My thoughts are the prices will stay high... (none / 0) (#22)
    by fishcamp on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 08:51:32 AM EST
    no pun intended.  The good MM grown both legally and illegally in all states remains about $300 to $400 per ounce.  That's the first prices I remember when the good indoor stuff became available.  The growers are so good at getting the high THC plants to thrive it's been ages since I've seen bad or merely good pot; it's all great.  With the taxes and store costs I think the prices will stay up there.

    Congratulations Colorado (none / 0) (#23)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 08:53:10 AM EST
    and, the really good news is not even that mj has been legalized, but that a greater victory was achieved, "the will of the people" prevailed. Let's hope that the trend continues. Wouldn't it be pleasantly ironic that when the history of "the people taking back their country" is taught in classrooms countrywide it will have been some peaceful "hippies," and their weapons, a seven leaf plant, that did it, not guns and blood.

    For a chuckle: (none / 0) (#24)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 08:59:31 AM EST
    Oh, that's funny (none / 0) (#28)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 01:13:34 PM EST

    I think your views & forecasts (none / 0) (#25)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 09:34:57 AM EST
     are probably correct. But, there may be other factor putting upward pressure on prices also. I'll be interested to see how the currently illegal distribution evolves. I'm afraid that some of the predictions, indicating some sort of collapse of the illegal trade may be overly optimistic.

    Checking out the photos you'll notice most of the folks are young, "with-it" kids. They can't wait to publish to Facebook their first, legal joint purchase. But, some older users, married folks, professionals may be somewhat reluctant to be seen in public stores. (It may be similar to the time when pornography was first, fully legalized.) They "want it," but, they may not want to be seen "wanting it." It will take some time for them to "come out." In the meantime, some of the current, illegal dealers might just clean themselves up, step into the void, and offer their product in a discreet, upscale, and private, manner. Capitalism in America: "Find a need, fill the need."

    Not sure how this thing is going to develop from here. Any new, revolutionary, public policy changes are bound to hit some bumps early on. I imagine some of the current "back alley" dealers will see the potential, and, try to fill it.

    Bottom line....it's all good.

    Should be interesting, for sure. (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 02:45:29 PM EST
    I wonder how quickly the charm of paying 20%+ tax for legal herb will fade.