For a long time the only place you could get a real sense of what having legal marijuana stores (or at least quasi-legal stores) would be like was by going to the Netherlands. While the Netherlands is a great place that proves letting adults buy marijuana isn’t a problem, it is also a country few Americans have any first or second hand experience with.

There haven’t been many Dutch immigrants to the United States in the past 20 years and only about a third of Americans currently hold passports. It is safe to assume only a small fraction of Americans have ever been there. Flying to Amsterdam takes roughly 8-11 hours depending on where you are in the United States and trans-Atlantic plane tickets are not cheap.

Colorado is different, there is no need to get a passport. It is a popular tourist destinations that offers great winter and summer activities situated in the middle of the county. It is days drive or a cheap few hours flight from almost every major American city. That is why in 2009 the state welcomed 51.7 million domestic visitors.

In addition, Americans tend to move a lot within the country. There is a good chance most people will have at least one family member, friend, classmate or co-worker from the state.

Colorado is going to provide millions of Americans with their first real example of what legal marijuana could actually be like. This first hand experience is going to start a whole new chapter in this debate.