US

Colorado licenses first retail pot shop in the world

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Greg Campbell Contributor
Font Size:

Colorado has licensed the first legally sanctioned recreational marijuana store in the world, a medical marijuana dispensary called Annie’s in the mountain gambling town of Central City.

Colorado voters legalized pot for adults last November and sales will begin on Jan. 1 for licensed pot shops. Only existing medical marijuana dispensaries can apply for licenses at first. Those who applied in October were guaranteed a hearing and a license before the end of the year so that they can begin selling recreational pot in the new year.

Annie’s is one of eight dispensaries owned by Strainwise, which also has locations in Denver and elsewhere. Three of its five Denver locations were also licensed on Thursday.

Annie’s got its license first because Central City processed its paperwork a bit faster, Erin Phillips of Strainwise told Denver magazine Westword.

“We might put it in a fancy frame,” Phillips said.

Marijuana advocates praised the historic move.

“Colorado is moving forward and leaving marijuana prohibition behind,” said Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, in a statement. “For the first time in history, those who sell marijuana are receiving licenses from the state instead of rap sheets. Marijuana will be sold to adults by legitimate, taxpaying businesses instead of drug cartels in the underground market.”

Under a taxing scheme approved by voters recently, marijuana will be heavily taxed, with the first $40 million earned from a 15 percent excise tax earmarked for school construction. Customers will also pay a 10 percent special tax at the counter in addition to local sales taxes and any additional taxes levied by local governments.

The only requirement for buying marijuana is a photo ID proving the customer is 21 or older. Sales are not restricted to Colorado residents.

Although illegal under federal laws, the Justice Department has said it will take a hands off approach to states that have legalized pot, as long as the industry is strictly regulated to prevent use by minors, interstate smuggling and other measures.

As proof that they’re serious, federal agents raided at least a dozen medical marijuana facilities in Denver this week because they weren’t complying with the Justice Department’s enforcement priorities, according to the Denver Post.

“While the investigation is ongoing, there are strong indications that more than one of the eight federal prosecution priorities identified in the Department of Justice’s August guidance memo are potentially implicated,” a spokesman told the Post in a statement.

Follow Greg on Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.