At 8am Mountain Time, Sean Azzariti made history as the first American adult to legally purchase marijuana for personal use -- in his case, to alleviate the post-traumatic stress he has suffered since returning from the war in Iraq. 

Azzariti appeared prominently in the Amendment 64 political campaign ads to legalize marijuana in Colorado. He made the case that Colorado’s thriving medical marijuana system, as successful as it is, didn’t go far enough in protecting medical users like him, since PTSD was never included in the list of qualifying conditions.

Azzariti’s purchase at the 3D Cannabis Center was hailed with a press conference featuring Mason Tvert, Brian Vicente, and Betty Aldworth -- the leaders who ran the successful Amendment 64 campaign. In a statement released yesterday, Tvert said, “Millions of adults use marijuana in the United States, but only in Colorado will they be purchasing it from regulated businesses instead of in the underground market. Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and Colorado is the first place in the country to start treating it that way.”

While adults 21 and over can purchase marijuana, finding the outlets may prove difficult, as only licensed medical marijuana dispensaries had first crack at the recreational licenses, and only a few of them successfully completed the process.  Fortunately, our friends at Colorado NORML have posted a recreational marijuana shop listing that will be your guide to purchasing legal Colorado buds. Those will Colorado IDs will be limited to one ounce per day and those with out-of-state IDs are limited to a quarter-ounce, so marijuana isn’t being treated like alcohol quite yet, since I can buy kegs of beer, but not bales of pot. 

Still, it’s an historic first step, and any legalization beats all prohibitions. As Tvert explained, “Making marijuana legal for adults is not an experiment. Marijuana prohibition is the experiment, and the results have been abysmal. If we can successfully regulate alcohol, we can surely regulate a less harmful substance like marijuana. Colorado is going to prove that regulating marijuana works, and it won’t be long before more states follow our lead.”

Washington State’s first legal sales should come around springtime and the country of Uruguay has to finalize its recreational marijuana regulations by April 6. Come 4/20/2014, there will be three places in the world where tokers are smoking legal store-bought weed to celebrate Cannabis Liberation Day and strong campaigns in Oregon, Alaska, and California to make it three more states for 2015.

Happy New Year indeed!