May 292013
 

colorado marijuana legal hickenlooper signs billsBy Barry Poppins

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed off on the state’s new recreational cannabis laws, thus making Colorado the first “officially” legal state in America. Washington will soon  follow suit, meaning there’s only 48 states left to go!

While it’s an exciting development and a historic day in America (and the world’s marijuana community), there are a couple hiccups in these six bills that will give some pause. Here are those six regulations, which will “seek to regulate the newly legal drug and keep it away from children, without being so strict that weed stays in the black market:

- YOU CAN COME BUY IT, BUT YOU CAN’T TAKE IT HOME: Visitors to Colorado will have purchasing limits of a quarter-ounce of marijuana in a single transaction. The law doesn’t ban adults over 21 from possessing a full ounce, residents or not. But the purchasing limits were seen as an effort to reduce interstate trafficking and help persuade the federal government not to crack down on recreational sales. (Note: Ironically, of all the 6 Measures, this will have the biggest impact, turning Colorado into a tourist stop for cannabis enthusiasts around the world. Exactly what the Governor said he did not want the state “to be known for.”) 

- THE POT BUSINESS ISN’T OPEN FOR BUSINESS, YET: Colorado’s marijuana industry will for the first few months be limited to people already licensed to sell or produce medical marijuana. Even once the grandfathering period expires, licensees will need to be Colorado residents for two years, and investors will face residency requirements, too. The residency requirements were added to try to prevent Colorado from becoming a production ground for criminal drug cartels.

- THE CAMERAS BETTER BE ROLLING WHEN YOU GROW IT: Colorado tried and failed to establish constant video surveillance of medical marijuana, establishing a seed-to-sale tracking system to keep the industry honest. The vaunted system hasn’t worked out as expected because of a lack of money, but the agency that oversees pot says it has learned its lesson and will have the money to follow through with seed-to-sale tracking next year.

- NOT EVERY TOWN WILL SELL IT: Colorado’s marijuana framework gives local and county governments broad power to ban retail pot sales if they wish, though home growing will be allowed statewide. Legalization backers say the next Colorado political battle to watch will be which communities ban pot shops, prompting the possibility that marijuana sales will be largely concentrated in big cities that currently allow retail medical marijuana shops.

- MARIJUANA CLUBS AREN’T SAFE: Entrepreneurs in Colorado have been testing the new marijuana law in recent months by opening private clubs that allow communal pot smoking, but no sales, for a membership fee. The legislation tries to crack down on the spread of such cannabis clubs by stating that they’re not exempt from clean indoor air laws, unlike membership cigar clubs.

- KIDS GET NEW PROTECTIONS: Colorado’s new laws aim to prevent youth marijuana use as much as possible. The laws create a new crime of sharing marijuana with someone under 21, an analogy to current delinquency laws and alcohol. The laws also mandate child-proof packaging for marijuana sales, and bans types of marketing thought to appeal to kids, such as cartoon characters in advertisements and packaging. The new 10 percent marijuana sales tax will be used in part on educational campaigns telling people under 21 to avoid the drug.

- DON’T SMOKE AND DRIVE: After years of debate, Colorado now has as blood-level limit for marijuana and drivers. The law says that juries can presume drivers are too stoned to drive if their blood contains more than 5 nanograms per milliliter of THC, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient. Washington state adopted the same driving standard on the ballot last year, but Colorado left the question to the state Legislature. [Seattle Times via AP]

It’s a monumental moment indeed, and a mostly triumphant day for Marijuana. But, as we’ve mentioned before, it’s still not all fun and games in Colorado’s pot market. Driving after a hit off a joint can still land you in jail, weed clubs are unfortunately prohibited, and safe access in certain towns will not be guaranteed.

That said, it’s a step in the right direction and a moment worth lighting up for and celebrating. But Colorado-and the rest of our country-still have a long, long way to go.

Source: Marijuana.Com

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About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-McLaughlin/100000039777325 Matt McLaughlin

    all blood draws need a warrant.

  • howtomakebong

    woooohoooooooo thank you America! At last :)) Hope all states will join to joint :)

  • SodaPop

    SO this means, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but I can now go into any MMJ caregiver/dispensary with my OUT OF STATE I.D. while I’m waiting to get my CO driver’s license, and purchase my own meds??

    • Pat Cowdin

      Until January 1st, 2014, the only way you can legally buy cannabis in Colorado is with a Valid Colorado Medical Marijuana card from a licensed MMJ retailer. After that date, it will only take an acceptable ID that proves you are 21 or older.

      • JesterDev

        You can, if you really need meds, check craigs list. People are finding all sorts of unique ways to “Gift” you some cannabis. i.e. buy some “art” and get a free ounce. Check the Health and Beauty section for MMJ.

  • THEE 420

    DRIVING LAW PART IS WRONG ….. THIS ARTICLE NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED . COLORADO SUPREME COURT SAYS 5 NANO GRAM LAW ….. STILL REMAINS UNSCIENTIFIC. LAW HAS BEEN STRUCK DOWN IN COLORADO EVERYTIME. RESPONSABLE PEOPLE …. DONT NEED STUPID LAWS FOR the man TO HATE ON US.

  • Cindy

    but…we’ve come a long way baby! I’m hoping for a snowball effect with the legalization for recreational use in these two states.

  • RobertChase

    Prohibition has not been ended in Colorado — this is a dangerous fallacy which has already put people’s liberty in jeopardy. Almost every single felony penalty for cannabis remains on the books and in full force. We the People just declared that cannabis “should be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol”, and violations of the Liquor Code are misdemeanors, but no one on the Amendment 64 Task Force or in the Colorado General Assembly so much as broached the idea of rescinding felony penalties for cannabis. Colorado plans to license activities for which it will still be making felons of its citizens next January, and this is clearly wrong.

  • THEE 420

    EVEN MINOR WEED OFFENSES ….. HURT HARD WORKING COLORADONS . TRY TO GET A DECENT JOB IN THIS STATE ….. WITH A MINOR WEED OFFENSE . GOOD F ‘N LUCK …. YOUR SCREWED .