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This New Year is also Opening Day for retail stores licensed by the State of Colorado to sell marijuana to the public. For the first time the drug will be  sold legally over the counter with no medical or other authorization required. Any Colorado resident over the age of 21 can now  purchase up to one ounce of pot and those from out of State can purchase a quarter of an ounce at a time. There seems to be no control over the frequency of purchases permitted, which is understandable since it is hard to see a reason why anyone would stock up when it is so simple to acquire. Re-selling could only be profitable in the case of under age buyers, as is the case with alcohol. Proponents of legalization predict  organized crime will be eliminated from the drug trade, with profits being re-directed to legitimate businesses, resulting in major tax revenues for the Government,  not to mention enormous savings in the costs of policing, court proceedings and incarceration. This in turn would permit substantial increases in spending on education to prevent  drug abuse and fund rehabilitation programs for abusers of all drugs, including alcohol. The coming months will be pivotal in settling the debate over the direction of Government policy on recreational drugs. Many predict the only losers will be the owners of the privately operated for profit prisons!

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