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Colorado Amendment 64 Passes

Colorado Amendment 64 Passes

On November 6, 2012, Colorado became the first state ever to pass a state law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Amendment 64 passed by an overwhelming majority of 55% and allows persons over the age of 21 to legally possess and consume under an ounce of marijuana. The newly passed law will attempt to regulate the use, production, and distribution of marijuana like alcohol. Colorado had already been successfully regulating the use of marijuana for medical purposes for sum three years without much incident.  In fact, it has been noted by state officials that crime rate did not increase and teenage usage actually went down. Add in the fact that previously abandoned industrial parts of towns flourished after marijuana business moved in and took up shop and you can begin to see how Colorado residence voted in favor of the amendment.

Amendment 64 will allow dispensaries to decide to remain as a medical marijuana outlet or become a recreational outlet. The law will also allow Colorado farmers to grow commercial grade hemp for industrial use which until now has been largely imported (legally) from China. With the passing of the law, Colorado residence at least 21 years of age will be allowed to grow up to six plants in their home as well as purchase marijuana from a dispensary. However, users of marijuana in Colorado should know that employers still have the right to set their own rules when it comes to its employee’s usage of marijuana and its tolerance of marijuana being found in its employees systems during drug screenings.

Many marijuana advocates say that it makes sense that Colorado would be the first to blaze the trail to legalization. After all, some of the first settlers to Colorado were trail blazers who mined for gold and risked all for the riches the land could divulge. Marijuana prospectors think the risk reward to be somewhat similar.  Marijuana is still federally illegal. So, Colorado residences are still at risk of committing a federal offense punishable by law although the amendment passed legalizing its use in Colorado. State officials will need to work with federal agencies to figure out a means to abide by its constituents request. Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper, said in a recent interview that although he personally opposes the measure that he would work to enact the law. Opponents to the law say they plan to take the fight to the Supreme Court. So, it may still be sometime until Colorado residences are able to walk into a store and buy marijuana off the shelf like a bottle of wine without a medical marijuana card. In fact, the law provides that state officials have at least six months to a year to work out the details of its recreational marijuana law.

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