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story.lead_photo.caption Customers wait in line, which was more than 300 deep by 10 a.m., on the first day of retail marijuana sales at LoDo Wellness in Denver on Wednesday Jan. 1, 2014. - Photo by AP/The Denver Post, Aaron Ontiveroz

DENVER — Long lines and blustery winter weather greeted Colorado marijuana shoppers testing the nation's first legal recreational pot shops Wednesday.

Colorado unveiled the modern world's first fully legal marijuana industry — no doctor's note required (as in 18 states and Washington, D.C.) and no unregulated production of the drug (as in the Netherlands). Uruguay has fully legalized pot but hasn't yet set up its system.

Colorado had 24 shops open Wednesday, most of them in Denver, and aside from long lines and sporadic reports of shoppers cited for smoking pot in public, there were few problems.

"Everything's gone pretty smoothly," said Barbara Brohl, Colorado's top marijuana regulator as head of the Department of Revenue.

The agency sent its new marijuana inspectors to recreational shops to monitor sales and make sure sellers understood the state's new marijuana-tracking inventory system meant to keep legal pot out of the black market.

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  • Fdworfe
    January 2, 2014 at 11:23 a.m.

    We Americans cherish nothing more than our freedom, and rightly so. But, freedom can be a two-edged sword. Case in point, recreational drugs of all levels of potency. Let’s stick with marijuana for a moment. These smiling faces and glassy eyes all lined up for a few ounces of unreality—you’d think by now that most adults would know where their brains are headed. Oh yes, there’s always the story of Uncle Joe who smoked tobacco and more recently pot and lived to age 97. Then there are the countless millions of other earthlings who smoked various kinds of nature’s weeds for a few years that seldom exceeded 45 without a breathing machine. Not to mention the taxpayer-sponsored medical treatment that these very unhealthy people required just to stay in the road during their short and muzzy lives. Nevertheless, the fact remains. Drug laws don’t work; they just make illegal drug dealers richer and more murderous. So here we have it. Marijuana will soon be bought at your local store like radishes. A few years down the road, so will other brain scrambling drugs. It’s freedom. To mess up our lives to whatever extent we choose; to be utterly brain-smashed even at the expense of others. Meantime, maybe we’ll begin to evolve, but only after we’ve come to our senses. But for those smiling faces and glassy eyes in line to get pot, it will almost certainly be too late.