(USNEWS) — Colorado will make history Wednesday as the first American state allowing stores to sell marijuana for recreational use – eliciting fear and predictions of doom from anti-drug campaigners.

On a Tuesday conference call hosted by Smart Approaches to Marijuana, former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., said Colorado and Washington state – where stores will open later in 2014 – are “canaries in the coal mine.”

“There are a lot of ‘unintended consequences’… that will make them ponder whether this was the right decision,” Kennedy said, predicting more traffic accidents, increased school truancy, higher drop-out rates and a general decrease in public health.

Kevin Sabet, who co-founded SAM with Kennedy after advising the Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama administrations on drug policy, said “we see tomorrow as the dawn of big marijuana in Colorado. … In Denver it seems like it’s going to be going hogwild.”

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