In four months, adults in Colorado will be able to walk into a store, plunk down cash and leave with a drug that used to land people in prison.
No one, though, is sure what the future holds.
Will the new industry damage the state's reputation, grow the drug culture, spread marijuana into neighboring states, intoxicate young people and spur more crime? Or will it bring an unrecognizable change, produce needed tax revenue, drive a stake in marijuana's black market and extinguish unnecessary prosecutions?
"It's like being sucked into a black hole. What is going to be on the other side? No one knows," said Ry Prichard, part-owner of a hash oil company, TC Labs.
During the first week of January, when the first stores are expected to open in Denver, the world's media will probably descend on Colorado to document the occasion.
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