Colorado's marijuana dispensaries opened their doors to recreational users this morning, but their first customer was far from someone just looking to have a good time: Sean Azzariti, a Denver-area veteran of the Iraq war who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), instead purchased weed to help alleviate symptoms of his illness.
Azzariti's purchase was largely a symbolic one, orchestrated by activists who led the charge to pass Amendment 64 — the initiative that made marijuana legal in Colorado — following a press conference. Azzariti, who bought an eighth of an ounce of Bubba Kush and an edible truffle, earlier this year appeared in a TV campaign ad to tout the benefits of marijuana for PTSD. Despite repeated efforts by advocacy groups, only seven states currently recognize PTSD as a condition that would qualify patients like Azzariti to purchase medical marijuana. Colorado isn't one of them — though advocates say that the state's groundbreaking new laws mean that patients with various conditions won't need to push for medical access.
Azzariti bought an eighth of an ounce of Bubba Kush and an edible truffle
"Making marijuana legal for adults is not an experiment. Marijuana prohibition is the experiment, and the results have been abysmal," said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project and co-director of the Amendment 64 campaign, in a statement. "Colorado is going to prove that regulating marijuana works, and it won't be long before more states follow our lead."
"Making marijuana legal...is not an experiment."
According to the Denver Post, some 37 stores are now licensed to sell marijuana based on Colorado's new laws, which permit weed purchases to anyone over the age of 21 for any purpose. And while marijuana sales are still illegal under federal law, Colorado is now the world leader with regards to legalizing and regulating the selling and purchasing of weed. Store owners, the Post notes, had to complete myriad applications and inspections, as well as shell out thousands of dollars in fees, to pass muster as licensed recreational sellers.