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Amendment 64

On November 6, 2012, Colorado Constitutional Amendment 64 was passed by the voters legalizing recreational use of marijuana. The amendment permits a person 21 years of age or older to consume or possess limited amounts of marijuana, as well as provides regulations for the licensing of cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and retail stores. The amendment also permits local governments to regulate or prohibit such facilities. As result of this amendment, the state government will tax marijuana sales like cigarettes and alcohol.

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What Does this Mean to Coloradoans?

pot leafJust because Amendment 64 has passed does not mean it is now legal for anyone to use or possess marijuana or marijuana plants. Individuals will have to wait until 2014 before they can be permitted purchase, possess, or use marijuana. It will be up to the Department of Revenue and local governments to make rules and regulations to control this new industry. However, these timelines may be pushed back because, under the Controlled Substances Act, the Department of Justice views the use and possession of marijuana as a crime.

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Regulation Process: What To Expect During 2013

In January 2013 our governor, John Hickenlooper, will certify (approve) the results of the election. Between January 2013 and July 1, 2013, the Department of Revenue will adopt regulations necessary for the implementation of licensing requirements for this new industry.

Between January 2013 and October 1, 2013, each city and county will establish rules and processes pertaining to licensing to the operation of marijuana establishments within the city and county. A city or county may choose to prohibit the sale, manufacture, cultivation, or testing. However, that city and county must prohibit these functions by having a ballot initiative in the year 2014. The Department of Revenue will begin accepting and reviewing applications to be licensed to operate marijuana establishments on October 1, 2013. The licenses will be issued between 45 and 90 days after the Department of Revenue receives the application.

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When Marijuana Becomes "Legal"

In 2014, marijuana will potentially be available to people in Colorado. When these regulations go into effect, individuals who are 21 years of age or older will be allowed to posses, transport, display, or purchase no more than an ounce of marijuana. However, individuals will be prohibited from consuming marijuana in public places.

Individuals who are 21 years of age or older will also be able to grow marijuana in Colorado. The number of plants one person can grow is limited to six plants, and no more than three of these plants can be mature or flowering. The growth of these plants cannot occur openly or publically and the plants must be in an enclosed, locked space. The marijuana produced from this personal growth cannot be sold to the public.

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Effect on Employers, Driving, and Property Rights

Amendment 64 does not require an employer to accommodate those who chose to use or possess the drug. In other words, employers may still have and enforce policies restricting the use of marijuana by its employees.

Also, when marijuana becomes "legal", a law enforcement officer may still arrest and charge you for driving under the influence of marijuana or driving while impaired by marijuana.

Finally, this amendment does not prohibit a person, employer, school, hospital, detention facility, corporation, or any other entity that occupies or controls property from regulating the possession, use, transfer, distribution, sale, transportation, or growing of marijuana on or in the property. Simply put, someone who occupies or controls property (such as a landlord or a tenant) can prohibit you from having or using marijuana on their property. This can be compared to rules involving consumption of alcohol at work or rules designating areas where smokers can and cannot smoke a cigarette.

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Effect on Medical Marijuana

The amendment will not change the rules surrounding medical marijuana facilities. This amendment will not force the medical marijuana facility to:

  • Purchase marijuana from a source outside of the medical marijuana code,
  • Operate on the same premises as a "retail marijuana store",
  • Discharge any duties to regulate medicinal marijuana,
  • Limit privileges or rights of medical marijuana patient, primary caregiver, or licensed entity, or
  • Force a medical marijuana facility to distribute marijuana to a non-medical marijuana patient.

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Marijuana Legalization in Colorado

Marijuana legalization, whether for medicinal uses or other uses, has been a contentious question in Colorado for several years. Although Amendment 64 has passed, the possession, use, and sale of marijuana can still be prosecuted as a crime in Colorado, and many Coloradoans face drug charges related to marijuana each year.

If you have been charged with a marijuana-related crime in Colorado, the experienced drug crime defense attorneys in Colorado Springs at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. can help protect your rights. Call us today at (719) 475-2555 for a free and confidential consultation.

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