It's a thrilling thing, watching the world change in front of your eyes. I've been writing about marijuana legalization for most of the past year--my Rolling Stone feature in the Jan 3 issue just went up this morning--so I couldn't miss the official start. I flew in to Denver on the afternoon of New Year's Eve, checked in to my hotel, took a nap, and then walked into the city to see the War on Drugs come to an end. At Casselman's, a party space in Denver's NoDo district, marijuana advocates and business owners rang in midnight with champagne-and-reefer toasts. I hung out until around 1:30, talking history and hope with folks who were there back in the day. After dodging the running of the drunks (all screaming at taxis or their girlfriends, sometimes both) I caught a van back to the Quality Inn, slept four hours, then hustled across town to catch Iraq War veteran Sean Azzariti make the first purchase at 3-D Cannabis Center. An hour later at Medicine Man, Denver's largest dispensary (now retail shop), the industry's most charming brother duo, Andy and Pete Williams, gave me a tour of their massive warehouse grow--which is about to double in size. While Pete took me behind the curtain to get a look at their operation, Andy worked the three-hour line outside with Clintonian ease. As the masses queued up peacefully, MM staff busily transplanted, harvested, and trimmed to meet the demand. After checking in on six other retail shops--all mobbed, all day--I stopped back at Medicine Man at 6:30pm and joined the line. The City of Denver requires pot shops to close at 7pm, and MM was taking no chances on day one. They'd set their computers to refuse all sales after 7:00. A beat-the-clock atmosphere set in, as customers thrust their dollars at budtenders, those of us in line cheering every sale. (That's me in line in the photo at left, in front of MM's Wall Of Weed.) I got in on one of the last transactions of the day, and went out shaking the hand of a very happy Andy Williams. I'll have more on this later. Right now I'm exhausted and hoping to catch a plane home. Without my purchase.