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Buying Legal Marijuana on New Years Day

A 20 something girl plays with her hair as she gets ready to purchase legal, recreational marijuana in Denver for the first time.
Photo of the author Errin Reaume


Buying Legal Marijuana on New Years Day

It was chilly in the earliest hours of 2014. Too chilly to be out in the streets of Denver after the long glittering night that was New Year’s Eve – but history was being made and my good friend Nichole and I needed to be there to witness the momentous event.

After the mandatory trip to Starbucks for hot tea and coffee, we were off to 3D Cannabis Center, the soon-to-be location of the first recreational sale in history. Although snow was drifting delicately over the television news vans dominating the parking lot, it was easy to see the line already assembled well out the door.

Nichole and I flashed our industry badges at the entrance and were allowed into the press waiting area. The feverish snap of photos, chatter and blindingly bright media lights set an altogether overwhelming atmosphere. Most of the guests were nursing a coffee with slightly tired but excited expressions. Merely minutes after entering, the clock struck 8:00 AM and the first sale by marine veteran, recreational promoter and good friend Sean Azzariti was underway.

It was easy to tell the time, even without checking my phone. It was time to make history.

As the voices died down, the clicking of cameras increased and everyone strained to hear what Sean was asking to see from the shelf. In the end, he purchased an eighth of flower and a couple of medicated truffles for a total of $59.74, about $10 of that was tax paid to the state of Colorado.

Once out of the main purchasing area, Sean, Nichole and I exchanged hugs, congratulations and promises of a big breakfast after he finished interviews. Long before the reporters packed up, we were back out into the snow and driving to The Clinic on Colorado, another newly minted retail location and workplace for some of the best budtenders in town. Once inside, they handed out numbered tickets and allowed eager visitors to sit in their conference area while waiting for their numbers to be called. The queue mercifully wasn’t too long, but it would still be awhile before we were up. We decided instead to head out and grab something to eat, noticing as we did, the snow had stopped, and in true Colorado fashion, the sun was shining atop the fresh powder.

Over waffles and jasmine tea, we browsed through the mounting headlines surrounding the first day of recreational sales. It would be the only tranquil moment, but only one of the many happy moments of our very busy day. Once back at The Clinic, we were able to enter the facility relatively quickly. We chatted with some of the managers about the madness and pursued the limited retail selection: two types of pre-rolled joints, two types of budder (concentrates) and about eight strains of flower.

We talked with Ellie, our budtender, about the line (only getting longer), what her day had been like (exciting but very hectic) and predictions about the next month, she believes the demand will slow slightly as everyone gets used to the idea of legal marijuana sales.

I purchased only a pre-roll—Grape Haze. Wrapped tightly and smelling lovely, it will remain in its compliant opaque packaging with my itemized and dated receipt from now until my grandchildren ask to see it, when I tell them I purchased marijuana on this amazing and transformative day.

Were you there? Share your story in the comments below.

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