Here is a brief look at what has happened so far this year since two states in the U.S. — Washington and Colorado — legalized the sale and regulation of marijuana.
World’s first state-licensed marijuana retailers open doors in Colorado: “The world’s first state-licensed marijuana retailers legally permitted to sell pot for recreational use opened for business in Colorado on Wednesday with long lines of customers, marking a new chapter in America’s drug culture.
“Roughly three dozen former medical marijuana dispensaries newly cleared by state regulators to sell pot to consumers interested in nothing more than its mind- and mood-altering properties began welcoming customers as early as 8 a.m.”
“Hundreds of patrons, some from distant states and many huddling outside in the bitter cold and snow for hours, cued up to be among the first buyers.” — Yahoo News 1/1/14
Legal Weed Sales Bring Long Lines To Colorado: “Long lines and blustery winter weather greeted Colorado marijuana shoppers testing the nation’s first legal recreational pot shops Wednesday.”
“The world was watching as Colorado unveiled the modern world’s first fully legal marijuana industry — no doctor’s note required (as in 18 states and Washington, D.C.) and no unregulated production of the drug (as in the Netherlands). Uruguay has fully legalized pot but hasn’t yet set up its system.
“Colorado had 24 shops open Wednesday, most of them in Denver, and aside from long lines and sporadic reports of shoppers cited for smoking pot in public, there were few problems.” — Talking Points Memo 1/2/14
6 Things You Should Know About Buying Pot In Colorado: “January 1 marked a high point for Colorado’s Amendment 64 — the first day recreational marijuana businesses can legally operate in the state. A little more than a year after Colorado passed its ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, individuals can for the first time sell, produce, and purchase marijuana legally, even without a doctor’s prescription. But to both those eager to light up and those fearful of the consequences, it is worth remembering that there remain more restrictions on the marijuana industry than there are allowances, which proponents hope will better control the health and safety of the industry. With Colorado’s law, federal law, and local law all affecting regulation, here are some key facts about Wednesday’s roll-out:” — AlterNet 1/1/14
See History Being Made: 6 Scenes of Americans Buying Marijuana on 1st Day of Legalization: “It’s been one mighty historic week of legal marijuana business transactions in Colorado to begin the New Year.
Smell the Truth‘s fearless leader David Downs reported live from all the snow and festivities, bringing words and pictures throughout New Years day, while also managing to enjoy bushel upon bushel of legal ganja. Here are a few of the images he grabbed of the opening madness that started the morning of January 1 at 8 a.m.” — AlterNet 1/2/14
18 Members of Congress Call on President Obama to Remove Marijuana from Schedule I: “Earlier today, 18 members of Congress signed onto a letter that was delivered to President Barack Obama calling for him to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
“We request that you take action to help alleviate the harms to society caused by the federal Schedule I classification of marijuana. Lives and resources are wasted on enforcing harsh, unrealistic, and unfair marijuana laws,” the letter reads, “Nearly two-thirds of a million people every year are arrested for marijuana possession. We spend billions every year enforcing marijuana laws, which disproportionately impact minorities. According to the ACLU, black Americans are nearly four times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite comparable usage rates.” — NORML 2/12/14
Departments of Justice and Treasury Release Marijuana Banking Guidance: “Today, the Department of Justice and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network division of the Treasury Department released long anticipated guidance to banks and other financial institutions on how they can interact with marijuana businesses that are licensed under state law.
“Under current regulations, financial institutions are required to file suspicious activity reports when they suspect the transaction has a drug connection. The new guidance creates a three tiered system for these reports: marijuana limited, marijuana priority, and marijuana termination. This will allow these institutions to work with marijuana businesses as long as they were operating in accordance with state laws and regulations.” — NORML 2/14/14