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Colorado Issues First Marijuana Dealer Licences – Recreational use now legal. SZMOKIN!

Colorado on Monday became the first state in the country to issue special licenses for recreational-marijuana businesses.

After weeks of scrutiny of applications, officials at the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division slipped 348 approved licenses into the mail and sent them out to stores, product-makers and cultivation facilities. Those businesses could begin producing and selling marijuana to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1, assuming the businesses also have the approval of their local governments.

The number includes 136 marijuana shops, most of which are in Denver. But stores with approved state licenses also pop up in places from Telluride to Alma to Garden City.

Marijuana advocates hailed the finalized licenses as a watershed moment for Colorado’s legalization of cannabis, which voters approved in November 2012.

“Colorado will be the first state to have a legal marijuana market for adults,” said Mason Tvert, a Denver-based spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project and one of the leaders of Colorado’s legalization push. “We expect it to set an example for other states.”

Opponents of legalization, though, said the licenses are another step in what they fear is an increasingly disastrous pot policy.

“We’re seeing … a massive marijuana industry growing before our eyes,” said Kevin Sabet, who is with a national anti-marijuana group called Project SAM. “I hope it’s not going to be too late before we realize that the road we’re on is going to produce a massive public health problem and public safety problem in Colorado.”

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