With Amendment 64 passing on November 6th, 2012, the recreational use of marijuana has been approved in Colorado. Amendment 64 will allow adults 21 and over to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana from a licensed marijuana dispensary. In addition, adults are allowed to have up to six marijuana plants growing in their homes. However, selling marijuana without a license and purchasing marijuana from an individual or group without a license will still remain illegal.
Even though the amendment has passed, it may still be awhile before the citizens of Colorado will see the legal sale of marijuana enacted in the state. On the other hand, individuals will be able to start growing their own plants once the governor assures that the results of the vote are legitimate. The governor is required to do this within 30 days of the election. Another important aspect of this law is that marijuana can now be taxed and regulated much like alcohol and tobacco. There is much discussion on how much revenue this will help bring into the state. Analysts predictions for tax revenues range from anywhere from 5 million to 22 million for the state each year.
For those interested in partaking in the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado, there are still some issues to be considered. First of all, marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Federal law trumps state law, so even though Colorado has legalized the use of marijuana the federal government still considers it illegal. It is still unclear about how the federal government will allow Colorado’s law to play out. However, there are many in the current administration that remain staunchly opposed to the legalization of marijuana. This means that the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration can still prosecute individuals for the recreational use of marijuana.
Overall, Amendment 64 in Colorado may be good news for recreational marijuana users who are willing to take a risk. Allowing people to buy up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to 6 plants in their home will help to bring in additional tax revenues for the state. There are still some issues to be concerned about, mainly how the federal government will deal with the legalization of recreational use of marijuana in a state. If the federal government does decide to bring criminal charges against users in Colorado, the outcome does not look good. The Supreme Court has already set a precedent for the federal government in this kind of marijuana case, so unless Congress intervenes, legal challenges by Colorado will be defeated. People wishing to take advantage of recreational marijuana use in Colorado will need to be aware of the laws and risks in order to enjoy their new found freedom.