10 Things To Know About Colorado’s Legal Marijuana Scene
Colorado made history Jan. 1 when marijuana dispensaries opened their doors for business, raking in around $5 million in sales during the first week alone. Here are 10 things to know about Colorado’s legal marijuana scene, and getting legally stoned in the Mile High City.
1. You have to be over 21
To legally buy pot here you must be 21 years old and show a valid ID (like booze), but you don’t have to be from the state of Colorado to purchase pot. In fact during the first day of recreational sales, much of the weed purchased came from out-of-state buyers.
2. Prepare to pay taxes
Recreational pot isn’t cheap. If you live in the state of Colorado and possess a medical marijuana card you may be shocked at the price — an eighth of recreational bud costs around $65 with tax. That’s because the taxes, at a whopping 25 percent, are a lot steeper for recreational than for medical marijuana.
3. You can’t just light up anywhere
Don’t start puffing a joint on the ski lift in Aspen or walking down the street in Denver. You’ll get a ticket at the minimum — on the slopes you could get your pass pulled. Smoking in public is not allowed, and thanks to Colorado’s Clean Indoor Air Act you also can’t smoke in bars and restaurants or even the shop where you purchased the pot in the first place. That means you’ll need to smoke on private property, with the owner’s permission.
4. You cannot use food stamps to buy weed
The Colorado Legislature banned the purchase of edibles with federal food stamps as of Jan. 10. The government also dictates how much weed you can purchase based on your state residency. If you have a Colorado ID you can purchase up to an ounce from a recreational dispensary. If you don’t have a Colorado ID, but can prove you are 21 or older, you can purchase up to a quarter ounce in one go.
5. Not every dispensary sells recreational pot
Although some Colorado towns are home to more medical marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks coffee shops (no joke, I’ve counted), most of these stores don’t hold recreational marijuana licenses. In fact there are only around 37 stores statewide that possess a license to sell recreational marijuana.
6. Most recreational pot shops are in Denver
Of the three dozen-or-so recreational dispensaries that have opened since Jan 1, 18 of these are located in Denver. Two recommended recreational dispensaries are The Clinic (on Mexico at Colorado Avenue) and the Denver Kush Club (26th Avenue and Welton).
7. Shops have been running out of weed since opening
It is really hard to get a recreational marijuana retail license, requiring a lengthy and costly application process. So although around 160 retailers have applied for licenses across the state — only licensed medical marijuana dispensaries have the option of doing this at this time — only around three dozen had been approved by opening day. As such, the most popular retailers are frequently out of weed by midday. This sign at one of Denver’s best shops, The Clinic, says it all.
8. Learn your strains
Not all pot is the same, and Colorado has weed down to a science. If you want a good painkiller that also helps with sleep and seizure control, you can ask for an Indica dominant strain. Look for OG Kush or Blueberry varieties. If you want to increase mental clarity and concentration plus have some energy, you can try a sativa like Durban Poison or Sour Diesel. Hybrid strains are also available.
9. There’s more to marijuana than smoking
If you’d rather not smoke, you can try cannabis-infused and baked products for a different kind of high. These are particularly good if you are less into getting stoned and more after the medicinal benefits. Marijuana-infused oils can also be applied topically and have shown promise in treating certain kinds of skin cancers in dogs and humans — research is limited, however, as marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
10. Colorado’s system is the first of its kind in the world
Colorado voters changed to state constitution to allow legal marijuana in November 2012. After 55 percent of voters voted for it, Colorado became the first place in the world to allow this system. (Amsterdam’s pot scene is only quasi-legal). Colorado also implemented a strict regulatory scheme that appears to be working. Since opening their doors two weeks ago, no retail pot shops have been busted by the Feds; nor has there been any rumors of impending raids. In fact the Obama administration has said it will leave legally compliant dispensaries alone.
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