Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
An Iraq War veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) became the first American to purchase "legal" marijuana on Wednesday morning.
Coloradoan Sean Azzariti, a U.S. Marine who campaigned for legalization in his home state, bought an eighth of an ounce of Bubba Kush from the 3D Cannabis Center as dozens of cameras captured his stunned reaction. In addition to the Bubba Kush, Azzariti purchased a marijuana-laced truffle for a grand total of $59.74.
-- John Ingold (@john_ingold) January 1, 2014
"Today I was fortunate enough to be the first recreational cannabis purchase in the world," he later wrote on Twitter. "We did it!!"
Azzariti, who served two tours in Iraq, suffers from a symptom of PTSD called hypervigilance, which is alleviated by marijuana. He appeared in an especially hard-hitting ad for legalization, telling fellow Coloradans: "Marijuana helped me from the moment I started using it. It calmed me down, slowed my heart rate down. My anxiety was almost gone immediately."
The drug is now available at 37 different licensed shops in the state.
"Millions of adults use marijuana in the United States, but only in Colorado will they be purchasing it from regulated businesses instead of in the underground market," Marijuana Policy Project spokesperson Mason Tvert said in an advisory. "Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and Colorado is the first place in the country to start treating it that way. Making marijuana legal for adults is not an experiment. Marijuana prohibition is the experiment, and the results have been abysmal."
This video is from Colorado Springs-based KKTV, aired Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014.