Colorado Opens Nation's First Legal Marijuana Industry - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Colorado Opens Nation's First Legal Marijuana Industry

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The nation's first recreational pot industry has opened in Colorado, kicking off a marijuana "experiment" that will be watched closely around the world. The nation's first recreational pot industry has opened in Colorado, kicking off a marijuana "experiment" that will be watched closely around the world.

DENVER, CO - The nation's first recreational pot industry has opened in Colorado, kicking off a marijuana "experiment" that will be watched closely around the world.

Activists hope it will prove that legalization is a better alternative than the costly American-led drug war.

Business owners in Colorado who threw their doors open for shoppers at 8 AM Wednesday are hoping the industry will prove to generate as much revenue as the state hopes it will. At least 24 pot shops in eight towns in scrambled to get ready for the opening, increasing staff, inventory and security. 

Legalization critics say increased access will lead to an increase in drug abuse, including among teenagers, and crime.

Sales of recreational marijuana in Washington state are set to begin around late spring, but there aren't exactly welcome mats for pot businesses throughout the state. 

A new Seattle-based marijuana think tank called The Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy surveyed the 75 most populous cities in Washington state to look at how local governments are handling the legal pot law. 

The survey found that a few cities, including Yakima, have effectively banned or threatened to ban pot businesses until the drug is legalized federally.

Just under three dozen other cities, including Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, West Richland, and Walla Walla, have imposed moratoriums of six months to one year.

23 cities have passed zoning rules dictating where the pot shops, gardens and processing facilities can open.

14 cities haven't taken action.

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