TODAY   |  January 02, 2014

New Colorado marijuana law draws crowds, and backlash

As a new law allowing recreational use of marijuana in Colorado takes effect, crowds begin to line up outside stores selling the psychoactive plant, while critics go public with their concerns. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reports.

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>>> legal marijuana for recreational purposes. while people lined up outside stores, no everyone is happy about the change. 71st, though, nbc's gabe gutierrez is live this morning.

>> reporter: good morning. this lines were long, as you can see at the 3d cannabis center, there is plenty of supply. meanwhile, all this attention on colorado is firing up a debate among parents nationwide. this morning the novelty may be wearing off.

>> i'm going to go home so i can do what i got.

>> reporter: but the buzz is not.

>> it's basically here to pick up a quarter bag. go home, watch movies and play video games .

>> reporter: a day after colorado became the first state to allow recreational marijuana sales, buyers are euphoric, but critics are weighing in.

>> it's awful. it's foolish.

>> reporter: benefit cord works in the drug rehab program at the university of colorado . he's a recovering addict, himself.

>> the experiment that we're talking about is taking place in my home state where my three kids go to public school .

>> reporter: with pot laced desserts and drinks, they say they are marketing to young people .

>> i think we are inviting all sorts of people, unsavory people that want to be in the drug business.

>> reporter: 20 years ago, more than 70% of high school seniors consider regular marijuana use dangerous. now that's down to less than 40%.

>> if somebody tries it be every the age of 18, one in six develops addiction to the drugs. if somebody waits until after they are 18, the number is more like 1 in 9.

>> reporter: in places like denver, 3d dispensary, there is no shortage of supports.

>> if alcohol is legal, why can't marijuana be legal? i confess people use it responsibly. there is no harm in that.

>> reporter: here at this location, they had more than 400 customers yesterday. they had turned another 100 away because of time constraints. anyway you look at it, erica, this is a lot of weed.

>> yes, it is, gabe. that's a lot of weed.

>> when you are done with that story, you might want to get those clothes dry cleaned.