As Colorado prepares to become the first state to allow recreational-pot sales next week, legalization opponents are concerned that its experience trying to police medical marijuana suggests it isn’t ready for fully legal weed, the Wall Street Journal reports. Retail outlets in Colorado will begin selling the drug to anyone 21 or older, tacking on a 25 percent tax that is intended to fund an elaborate regulatory system, as well as provide revenue for public schools and other programs.
Colorado officials are confident they can pull off the next phase of the nation’s experiment in marijuana legalization. Still, the state, which began allowing people with “debilitating medical conditions” to use marijuana legally in 2000, is still struggling to handle the problems created by a flood of pot that followed. Neighboring states complain that Colorado pot is illegally ending up there. Colorado hospitals report more emergency-room visits from people who consume potent marijuana brownies and oils, and get more stoned than they bargained for. A recent survey of American teens has fueled concerns that they are getting access to medical pot, and some youth counselors say more teenagers are running into legal troubles over marijuana use. “It’s very, very difficult to keep this out of the hands of young people,” said John Suthers, Colorado’s attorney general, who opposed pot legalization. “Colorado will do the best possible job that it can, but this is not going to be easy.”