Colorado Begins Sales Of Recreational Marijuana

The tax on recreational marijuana sales is 25 percent. Some estimate that tax will generate more than $60 million for the state annually.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And our Last Word In Business today is green rush. The first legal sale of recreational marijuana in recent memory happened in Denver yesterday.

TONI FOX: Eight a.m., we're going to do it!

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

That's Toni Fox, who owns the 3-D Cannabis Center. She was making the ceremonial first sale, surrounded by dozens of reporters, to Sean Azzariti, an Iraq War veteran with PTSD, who was involved in the campaign to legalize pot in Colorado.

FOX: Sean, your total is $59.74.

GREENE: That amount includes a 25 percent tax. Some estimate that tax will generate over $60 million for the state each year.

MONTAGNE: After just one day, no one knows exactly how legalization will play out in Colorado. People across the country - and around the world - are watching closely.

GREENE: Some have concerns about the impact legal pot will have on public health and safety.

MONTAGNE: Everything seemed to go smoothly at the two dozen Colorado shops that opened yesterday, with long lines snaking outside the shops, despite the cold weather.

GREENE: Demand was great enough that some shops even raised prices over the course of the day. By the afternoon, the price for an eighth of an ounce of pot at one shop almost tripled, to $70.

MONTAGNE: Advocates say all of this commerce will boost the economy, and that legalization will create jobs.

GREENE: Toni Fox, of the 3D Cannabis Center in Denver, told CNN that she was expanding from nine employees to 30, by the end of the month. And that's the business news on MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne.

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