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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Expect 2014 to begin with a huge puff of smoke — at least in Colorado.

Beginning January 1, licensed marijuana dispensaries in the state will be permitted to sell recreational marijuana to customers age 21 or older, even though the drug is technically still banned under federal law.

Colorado is the nation’s first state to legalize and open recreational pot stores after 55 percent of the state’s voters voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana in 2012. The state will also serve as an example for Washington, which also voted yes to legalizing recreational marijuana in 2012, but will not open its first marijuana retail outlets until sometime later in 2014.

As of December 30, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division – which is now in charge of regulating marijuana from manufacturing to distribution – mailed out licenses to 136 pot retailers. Of the over 500 medical marijuana dispensaries located in cities throughout the state, only 160 have actually applied to sell recreational pot. Medical marijuana dispensaries are finding it costly to sell recreational pot – doing so requires the dispensaries to ban all underage patients or create entirely different entrances and inventories for patients and recreational users.

Despite the limited retail access, the state is expected to see a boost in revenues from sales of the drug come 2014. All retail marijuana will be accompanied by a 25 percent state tax, along with an additional 2.9 percent state sales tax. According to CNN, the additional revenue “will initially amount to $67 million a year, with $27.5 million of it designated to build schools.”

Those who continue to purchase marijuana with a doctor’s prescription will not be subject to the additional sales tax.

Recreational users will be limited to buying up to an ounce at a time, which will cost about $200.

Customers will be allowed to smoke only on private properties, with the owner’s permission. Smoking in any public area or government establishment governed by the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act – including marijuana retail outlets and medical marijuana dispensaries – remains illegal in Colorado.

The U.S. Justice Department has said that it will not challenge states that choose to legalize recreational marijuana.

Photo: Jeffrey Beall via Flickr

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)

Twitter has restricted access to a tweet posted Monday by Rep. Matt Gaetz, in which the Florida Republican called for what commenters described as extrajudicial killings of protesters.

"Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?" Gaetz tweeted, joining Donald Trump and other Republicans in blaming anti-fascists for the violence across the country at protests over the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes, even as Floyd said he could not breathe. Autopsies have found that Floyd died of asphyxia.While Gaetz's tweet is still up, users have to click on it to see its contents. It's covered by a box that reads, "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."

Democratic lawmakers called out Gaetz in response to the tweet and urged Twitter to remove it from the social media platform.

"Take the Gaetz tweet down right now @twitter. RIGHT NOW," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted Monday night. "The survivors of mass shootings are lighting up my phone. They are scared to death this will inspire someone to start shooting into a crowd tonight. They are right."

After Twitter took action against his tweet, Gaetz said, "Their warning is my badge of honor."

"Antifa is a terrorist organization, encouraging riots that hurt Americans. Our government should hunt them down. Twitter should stop enabling them. I'll keep saying it," Gaetz said in a tweet that he pinned to the top of his profile page.

Donald Trump has demanded that the antifa movement be labeled a domestic terrorist organization.

However, as noted, "There is no such official federal designation for domestic terrorism organizations." Even if such a designation existed, the site said, it would be "difficult or questionable" to categorize antifa in that manner because it is not an organized group with a hierarchy and leadership.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.