Coloradans are buying, but confusion and concern remain over marijuana | Deseret News National
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Brennan Linsley, Associated Press
Moneywise

Coloradans are buying, but confusion and concern remain over marijuana

Colorado voters made a high stakes decision when they approved the recreational use of marijuana.

But the reaction has been rather blunt — people are buying.

About $5 million total was spent by consumers in the first week of marijuana being legally sold as a recreational drug, according to the Huffington Post. There were 37 pot stores that reported their numbers to an online news website, which added them to get the $5 million total. That is part of the near $600 million that Colorado expects to take in from marijuana sales in 2014, Bloomberg reported.

"Every day that we've been in business since Jan. 1 has been better than my best day of business ever," Andy Williams, owner of Denver's Medicine Man dispensary, told the Huffington Post.

Some of the larger shops sold between 50 and 60 pounds of marijuana, while the smaller stores distributed about 20 to 30 pounds, the Huffington Post said.

In the opening days, demand was so high that consumers were limited in how much pot they could buy, the Huffington Post reported. Stores also increased “prices to curb demand and stave off a possible shortage,” the Huffington Post reported. NBC News said that prices for marijuana skyrocketed after the increased demand.

Some Colorado spots, though, were unprepared for the high sale numbers, The Ledger reported.

The sales in Colorado may have an impact throughout the rest of the nation, too, according to CNN. Interest has sparked for investors getting involved in the budding industry.

“Yes, there are pot stocks,” CNN reported. “Nearly all of them are thinly traded penny stocks available only on over-the-counter exchanges, but shares of companies that service the growing cannabis market have been blazing in recent weeks.”

Americans are positive on the drug, too, according to a recent CNN survey, which showed Americans think the drug “is not as wicked as other illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine, and much less dangerous than legal substances like alcohol and tobacco.”

But there are some downsides in Colorado for smoking the now legal substance. Out-of-state users — who can hit the road for Colorado to light up — can face consequences upon returning to their home states.

The Denver Post reported that users could still be fired from their jobs for lighting up.

"Right now there is a great deal of confusion," labor attorney Danielle Urban told the Denver Post. "People are surprised to learn that they can lose their jobs."

And the New York Sun published an article that said the national media was missing the dangers of legalizing marijuana. Not only did the American Medical Association speak out against legalizing the drug, but "virtually any professional drug counselor, and they will warn that pot is a gateway drug," wrote Lawrence Kudlow for the New York Sun.

Kudlow also wrote that more educated research needs to be done on the drug before other states start following in Colorado's footsteps.

"Alcohol and drug addiction are huge problems in our society," he wrote. "And it’s not easy to get clean and sober once the disease of addiction sets in. So many people search for that great initial high, and they keep searching until they get hooked. And if and when they get hooked, the costs and consequences are frequently catastrophic."

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com Twitter: @hscribner