Traverse City Record-Eagle

Life

January 4, 2014

Sights from Colorado pot industry's opening day

DENVER (AP) — The nation’s first recreational pot industry opened in Colorado on Wednesday, kicking off a marijuana experiment that will be watched closely around the world. Already, it is attracting people from across the country.

Some of the sights in Denver, the Mile High City, on the historic day:

From the jailhouse to the pothouse

Less than a year ago, James Aaron Ramsey was serving a brief jail sentence for pot possession. On Wednesday, the 28-year-old musician, having driven from Missouri, was among the first to legally buy weed.

He brought a guitar and strummed folk tunes for about 20 people waiting outside one dispensary for sales to begin, as light snow fell at times.

“I’m going to frame the receipt when I go home,” Ramsey said with a smile. “To remind myself of what might be possible. Legal everywhere.”

Others who were waiting in line shared their own pot incarceration stories over coffee and funnel cakes.

“They made me go to rehab for marijuana, but I’d get out and see all my underage friends getting drunk all the time,” said 24-year-old Brandon Harris, who drove 20 hours from Blanchester, Ohio.

“I had to do pee tests, probation visits, the whole thing. Trafficking conviction. Nineteen years old. For a plant, how stupid,” he said, shaking his head.

‘Your grandmother’s pot connection’

Tinted windows on a black limousine idling outside one Denver dispensary showed another side of the newly legal weed market — people eager to try legal marijuana, but not ready to be seen publicly buying it.

Addison Morris, owner of Rocky Mountain Mile High Tours, had 10 clients waiting in the limo who paid $295 for four hours of chauffeuring by a “marijuana concierge” who would help them choose strains and edible pot products.

“We’re your grandmother’s pot connection,” the 63-year-old said. “We’re not the hippie stoners who are going to stand in this cold and party.”

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