On January 1, Colorado opened up its first (legal) recreational weed vendors, which sell marijuana to customers who are at least 21-years-old and feel like getting high on the government's supply. Since then, a wave of weed information — and misinformation — has us totally confused and lethargic and needing a snack. Let's take a trip down memory lane, to the past seven days, and see how the outlaw state is doing so far.
Colorado weed dispensers are running out of weed
According to a local Denver news outlet, some dispensaries are rationing their pot in order to keep up with demand. The Lodo Wellness Center told The Denver Channel that it won't sell more than an eighth of an ounce of marijuana per person. Some stores are limiting sales of edibles (that's food with marijuana baked in) to one per customer. Lodo's edibles supplier, Elixirs and Edibles, added that "we thought we had enough supply to get us through January, [but] we ran out in three days."
Colorado weed dispensers are not running out of weed
The Huffington Post is reporting that dispensaries are not, in fact, running low on marijuana, and that the rumor is only driving users to their (old, neglected) illegal pot dealers. According to HuffPost:
“We do have a smaller crowd today compared to last week, and we’re not selling out," Pete Vasquez, general manager at the Denver dispensary Medicine Man, told The Huffington Post over the phone. "From customers I’ve heard that no one else is selling out either, it’s just something going around on the news."
HuffPost acknowledges that some retailers closed their doors early and limited sales, but said that there is no real threat of their selling out completely.
Thirty-seven people died of marijuana overdoses (Except not really)
The not-hilarious satire site The Daily Currant posted a story last week stating that 37 people died of marijuana overdoses in Colorado once the state started legally selling the drug on January 1. It's not really possible to overdose on weed, a fact that is much-touted by pot advocates and often ignored by its detractors, and so most people saw the headline and its source and moved on. Still, some believed the report was true — including, supposedly, a Swedish minister who posted the article to her Facebook wall as fact. For what it's worth, her press secretary said the minister knew all along that the post was satire. Now there's a Swedish Hitler meme on the incident, reminding us that no matter what, the Internet prevails.
Legalizing weed is stupid, say lame people; cool, say cool people
David Brooks penned an article arguing that Colorado's move to legalize weed was a mistake because he prefers a "government [that] subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned." He was among a group of anti-marijuana writers who made the issue into a moral one, while ignoring the racial, economic and classist implications of keeping the already pervasive marijuana market illegal. He got a lot of heat from pretty much everyone, but much of it was misdirected, focusing on his priggish tone instead of his unrealistic and paternalistic argument. What could have been a productive debate quickly turned into an adolescent tiff over what it takes to be cool, again proving that the Internet doesn't always prevail.
Dispensaries sold $1 million worth of pot on the first day of sales
News outlets agree on this one. Retailers reported collectively selling more than $1 million worth of product on the first day, and are now lobbying for access to federal banks. Because marijuana is illegal nationally, dispensaries are at this point not permitted to use federally-insured banks. But retailers flush with cash are anxious for a way into the banking system. They're also technically not permitted to allow customers to use credit cards to pay for their purchases, but nobody seems to really care about enforcing that rule. Bloomberg predicts that Colorado retailers will earn the state $67 million in tax revenues this year.
So, after one week, nobody's dead, weed's (probably) not about to run out, and pot sales are sky-high. Not too shabby for Colorado.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.