Say goodbye to the bear
It’s important to ensure the safety of children; Keeping medications, cleaning products and other dangerous materials put away and out of reach of curious fingers. When it comes to THC-infused edibles, the strategy should be no different.
However, some people believe gummies shaped like bears, worms, people and fruit slices are just too appealing and tempting to children and need to be banned promptly.
On Friday, Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper, signed a bill banning the sale and disruption of THC-infused gummies shaped like animals, fruit slices or people. The hope is, with the new bill in order, children will have less access to THC treat that looks all too familiar to them.
The infused version is nearly indistinguishable from standard gummy bears, making it easier and more likely for children to mistake the THC treat for their regular confection.
Colorado edibles must come with a stamp or sticker stating the product contains THC, but apparently that’s not enough for some. Supporters of the ban believe the gummies are simply “too attractive” for youngsters, making it nearly impossible for them not to eat if they should stumble upon them.
Um, what? When was the last time someone’s child ate an entire bottle of gummy antacids? They’re fruit shaped and can cause serious problems if too many are ingested, but responsible parents keep things like that stashed away, just like THC edibles should be.
With the gummy bear ban taking effect July 1, the cannabis market will undoubtedly bounce back, but with less fun shaped THC gummies. Squares and disc-shaped edibles are likely to be seen popping up on shelves of local dispensaries, as many manufacturers have already begun phasing out the illegal shapes.
If customers, for whatever reason, have an issue with the new shape, time is running out to stockpile the cute gummies. In less than three weeks, gummies shaped like worms, bears, people, fruit slices and any other whimsical shape will be removed and destroyed; not resold or given away as part of a compassionate care program.
Parents should be held accountable if edibles fall into the wrong hands. Just like Tylenol, Xanax or Adderall, medications are not meant to be in places where children have open access to them. If Colorado is experiencing an issue with kids accidentally ingesting THC gummies, the parents should be at fault.
Flintstone vitamins are people shaped, but we don’t ever hear about children consuming mass amounts of those. Why? Because parents know enough to keep them put up and away. Unfortunately, lesser intelligent people can’t seem to do the same with their cannabis edibles, meaning all of Colorado must suffer from poor parenting.
While marijuana laws have become lax in recent years, a "Marijuana DUI" can still get you in a lot of trouble.
criminaldefenselawyer.com by Monica Steiner, Contributing Author
The often tragic consequences and harsh legal penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol are well publicized. What many people don’t realize is that it is also illegal and punishable in all 50 states to drive under the influence of marijuana (or a combination of alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs).
Laws defining what it means to be “under the influence” of marijuana vary by state, as do applicable punishments.
Any amount = under the influence. In some states, any amount of marijuana in the driver’s system will conclusively establish that the driver was under the influence.
Above the threshold = under the influence. In other states a driver who is above a certain blood or urine concentration level will be considered under the influence.
The defendant’s behavior or actions= under the influence. A minority of states require the prosecutor to prove that the driver was under the influence, by pointing to his behavior or driving, regardless of the amount of marijuana in the driver’s system.
States also differ in their definitions of "driving." For example, in many states, a DUI charge can result from merely sitting in a stationary car while under the influence. Whether this definition of “driving” applies to you depends on the law of the state where you live, and is discussed further below.
What it Means to be "Under the Influence"
In most states, being “under the influence” means that the driver is incapable of driving safely due to the effects of drug or alcohol use.
As you are probably aware, when it comes to alcohol, a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent of the driver's blood, by volume, will conclusively establish that the driver is under the influence (if the level is less, the prosecutor can still point to the driver's actions to prove that he was under the influence). In some states, the blood alcohol level threshold is even lower if the driver is a minor.
When marijuana is involved, however, states have different approaches to establishing that the driver was under the influence, as shown below.
Per se laws
In states with so-called “per se” DUI laws, any amount of marijuana in the driver’s system at the time of the offense will conclusively establish impairment. In these states, a prosecutor will not need to present any further evidence (such as behavior consistent with being under the influence or unsafe driving) in order to establish that the driver was under the influence.
State per se laws often include marijuana metabolites—compounds left over when the body metabolizes (or processes) marijuana—which can remain in a person’s body for days, weeks, or longer after marijuana use. While metabolites indicate that the person ingested marijuana at some point in the past, they do not indicate how long ago, or necessarily point to current impairment. Even so, state per se laws that include metabolites accept their presence as conclusive evidence of impairment for the purposes of a DUI charge.
Blood or urine marijuana concentration levels
As they do with blood alcohol thresholds, some states consider a level of marijuana (or marijuana metabolites) in the driver’s blood or urine—usually in nanograms/ liter—as conclusive proof of impairment. As with per se laws, the prosecutor will not need to prove that the driver’s senses were impaired—no need for field sobriety test results, or testimony about the driver’s speech, balance, or poor driving.
In these states, having a concentration level that’s lower than the threshold does not necessarily mean that the driver was not under the influence, however. The prosecutor may still point to the driver’s actions and behavior (such as his driving) to show that the driver was under the influence.
The driver’s behavior or driving
In the minority of states, the prosecutor must always establish that the driver was behaving in a way that showed that he was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the arrest—regardless of (even relatively high) marijuana blood or urine concentration levels. Prosecutors can do this by showing that the driver had impaired balance or speech, or that he was driving erratically—even that he smelled of marijuana.
People are sometimes surprised to learn that the prosecution need not show actual unsafe driving to prove that the driver was under the influence. Merely being under the influence and driving will suffice. For example, suppose you are involved in an accident that you did not cause—your driving was just fine. But the police officer who comes to the accident scene smells marijuana in your car, observes your reddened eyes and tell-tale behavior, and sees half-smoked joints in the ash tray. This may be enough evidence to charge you with driving while under the influence, even though your driving was not unsafe.
Driving as a Medical Marijuana Patient
Eighteen states have made it legal to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, as long as the patient follows the law with respect to amounts, registration, and so on. But no state has gone so far as to say it’s okay to drive after using medical marijuana, even when the patient has scrupulously followed the rules. This can be especially problematic for medical marijuana patients in states that employ per se laws, because as explained, metabolites may remain in the body for some time after use, arguably with no effect on the person's driving.
Medical marijuana patients should know how their state approaches the issue of being “under the influence,” as explained above. For more information on this topic, see Medical Marijuana and Driving.
What Constitutes "Driving"?
Most state DUI statutes consider someone to be a driver within the meaning of the DUI law when he is “in actual physical control” of the vehicle at the time of arrest. This definition is broader than our common idea of “driving” or “operating” a vehicle. The policy goal behind this broad-reaching definition is to keep people from doing a wide range of vehicle-related activities while under the influence, thus increasing safety for other motorists, pedestrians, and property along roadways.
Because of this expansive definition, most state statutes do not limit DUI charges to people who are operating moving vehicles. Being “in actual physical control” of the vehicle can include being in control of a parked car, if the judge believes that the defendant intended to begin driving, or even that the defendant had already driven the vehicle before being found by the arresting officer.
If a DUI can include more than simply driving, what constitutes “actual physical control” of a vehicle? Judges tend to consider a combination of factors, including whether:
the vehicle was on or off
the vehicle was moving or stationary
the vehicle was operable
the keys were in or out of the ignition (and whether the defendant even had access to the keys)
the driver was awake or asleep (was the defendant perhaps “sleeping it off” in a parked vehicle?)
there was any gas in the tank
the vehicle’s gears were engaged, and
the defendant was in the driver’s seat.
Whether you were in “actual physical control” comes down to the judge’s consideration of the specific facts surrounding your case.
Marijuana DUI Penalties
The most common punishments for DUI offenses are a fine, jail (or prison) time, or both. Many states will also impose some length of license suspension or require the use of an ignition interlock device, so that the defendant’s vehicle will not start without a clean breathalyzer sample. Specific penalties for DUI convictions vary by state, though all states impose some combination of the following to punish DUI convictions:
jail (or prison) time
victim impact program participation
home confinement (also known as house arrest)
ignition interlock device use
vehicle impoundment or forfeiture, and
drug and alcohol abuse programs.
Within each state, the severity of the applicable penalties in each case usually depends on whether the offense was a first or subsequent violation, and aggravating factors may increase applicable penalties (see below).
The following circumstances will increase the penalties that would normally apply to a DUI conviction. These include (but are not limited to):
second and subsequent offenses
a minor in the vehicle at time of offense (sometimes referred to as “child endangerment”)
a minor as the defendant
DUI while driving on a suspended license
DUI while driving a school bus
causing a traffic accident, property damage, bodily injury, or death, and
driving with particularly elevated alcohol or drug content levels
Sentence ranges and mandatory minimum sentences
Although many state statutes list maximum fines, jail time, and license suspension periods, unless the law requires minimum fines, jail time, and suspension, the judge usually has discretion to sentence for periods up to the various maximums. This means that a defendant can theoretically end up with no, or very low, jail time and penalties.
Defendants who have prior DUI convictions probably can’t count on a mild sentence due to the absence of a mandatory minimum sentence in the statute, however. In all states, penalties increase for second and subsequent offenses, and in most states, that means mandatory minimum penalties for these subsequent violations. However, often there’s a “wash out” provision—a rule that effectively makes a prior DUI of a certain age go away for purposes of enhancing subsequent sentences. For example, a mandatory minimum may apply to a current conviction only if the prior conviction was incurred less than five, seven, or ten years ago. When a prior has washed out, the subsequent offense is treated as a first offense for punishment purposes.
....Weeks after the introduction of legal recreational marijuana sales in Colorado and we already have a speed dating event for people who partake.
“For those who do partake, it’s important their partner or potential partner do that as well,” said Tina Allman, the SpeedLA Dating office manager who oversees events in 18 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. “It’s a nice icebreaker, and it’s nice going into a group knowing that that question’s off the table.”
SpeedDenver had posted a 420-friendly event in February that was rescheduled because of weather — for 8 p.m. April 8 at Vinue (the cost is $42). It might be perfect timing for a 4/20 connection.
“We posted it in the first place because we got requests,” said Allman. “We’ve been hosting events across the country for seven years. We’re a bit on the cheeky side. We don’t offer specialized events all that often, but we got so many requests for a pot-friendly event in Colorado that we thought it would be a fun thing to do. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of crowd comes in.”
SpeedLA’s events are known for being casual, chic and informal, according to user reviews. And perhaps most importantly, the company will have an even number of men and woman at the 420-friendly event — regardless of pot’s patriarchal stereotype.
“We’ve already had a great response,” said Allman. “Usually our events are 15-20 guys, 15-20 girls. We don’t like to do much more than that, because it can be overwhelming to meet so many people over the same night. If this one is successful, we could do one a month, especially in the warmer months.
“I’m surprised at the female response. I thought (there would be more men than women interested), but right now the female response is higher than the male response. Women are more shy to ask than men, and that’s likely why.”
What kind of reaction is Allman’s company hearing exactly?
“People seem to be appreciative that we’re offering it,” she said. “Some find it funny or embarrassing. It’s still kind of taboo to some people. Some have asked if they can partake at the venue, but we can’t do that because we’re not in a private space. But that would be nice, and maybe down the line we could look at other opportunities where partaking could happen on site.
“But mostly they’re glad it’s a question they don’t have to ask. They want to ask it, but they’re still shy.”
Via The Cannabist
I was in Mexico on ‘Green Wednesday’ last week when those pot shops opened in Colorado, making it the first jurisdiction in the world to allow the legal sale of recreational marijuana. The reaction there was partly one of puzzlement. The war on drugs was born of American pressure. What the heck is going on?
The cost of that policy has been horrible for Mexico, where 70,000 have died since former president Felipe Calderon made crushing the cartels his top priority in 2006. While his successor, Enrique Pena Nieto, is focusing less on the cartels and more on restoring public security, blood is still being spilled every day.
Yet America is suddenly projecting muddle. The Justice Department says it still considers marijuana an illegal psychotropic substance but in the same breath promises not stand in the way of states moving to legalise it. Such is the miracle of federalism. But if marijuana is now deemed OK in Colorado – and dispensaries will open soon in Washington as well, the other state that approved legal marijuana at the end of 2012 – what message does that send to Mexico and others fighting the war on drugs largely on America’s behalf?
“It looks hypocritical that we are allowing this experiment to go forward while Mexico is waging a life-and-death war to prevent people from consuming these drugs in the United States,” remarks David Shirk, a fellow with the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center who also teaches at San Diego University.
“Imagine you’re a Mexican soldier about to raid a major marijuana plantation. He has to be asking himself, ‘Why am I risking my life for a bunch of gringos who are going to smoke this stuff freely in Colorado?’”
Yet there are those in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America who see hope in the Colorado ganja rush. These are the voices that contend that only by legalising can governments weaken the cartels that have so direly poisoned society with violence and by corrupting civic institutions.
Vicente Fox, Mexico’s president before Mr Calderon, has been preaching the legalisation gospel – and blasting the American-led anti-drugs campaign – to anyone who’ll listen. The war on drugs, he told High Times magazine last summer, has “been a total disaster”.
He added: “My highest priority is to stop violence in Mexico. And this is one clear way that we will accomplish that in the process of time.”
Last month Uruguay decided to move towards the complete legalisation of cannabis, and some important voices in Argentina and Peru are now starting to urge public debate on the issue also. But here in the United States, any such discussion has until now been routinely smothered.
In the religion of interdiction, all mention of legalisation is heresy. But as Americans now ponder the weed haze over the Rocky Mountain skyline, the possibly benign impact on criminal trafficking of legalisation can no longer be dismissed.
The general premise here is that if cannabis is being produced and sold legally and more cheaply in big states like Colorado and Washington – and with polls showing a majority of Americans now supporting legalisation it’s a fair bet others, including California, will soon follow – Mexican product will no longer be competitive or even of equal quality. The impact becomes all the greater if weed legally grown in those states begins to migrate to others across the US, even as far away as New York, as it surely will.
The cartels will move to compensate for the shortfall, stepping up the trafficking of cocaine and meth and growing their other businesses like kidnapping, ransoms and extortion.
Nor do we know precisely how important marijuana sales are to them; drug lords don’t generally open their books to outside scrutiny. A 2012 research paper by the Mexican Competitiveness Institute in Mexico called ‘If Our Neighbours Legalise’, said that the legalisation of marijuana in Colorado, Washington and California would depress cartel profits by as much as 30 per cent.
A 2010 Rand Corp study of what would happen if just California legalised suggests a more modest fall-out. Using consumption in the US as the most useful measure, its authors posit that marijuana accounts for perhaps 25 per cent of the cartels’ revenues. The cartels would survive losing that, but still.
“That’s enough to hurt, enough to cause massive unemployment in the illicit drugs sector,” says Mr Shirk. Less money for cartels means weaker cartels and less capacity to corrupt the judiciary and the police in Mexico with crumpled bills in brown envelopes. Crimes like extortion and kidnappings are also more easily tackled.
There is an awful lot to weigh in what Colorado has done. As a father I am not thrilled to see marijuana consumption encouraged. What I surely do welcome, however, is the opportunity for the first time to test in practice the argument that legalisation will do more to diminish violence in America’s immediate neighbour and points south than any amount of militarised prohibition.
Mr Shirk puts it this way. If you ask enforcement folk how large a dent their interdiction efforts – seizures, arrests, helicopter raids and so on – actually have on cartel earnings, they will say between 5 and 10 per cent. But just few states embracing legal cannabis may end up robbing them of two to five times that amount.
Yes, we will soon hear of some tragedy due to legalisation – a Denver kid high behind the wheel will kill someone or crash into a ravine. But put that beside the tens of thousands who have perished in Mexico thanks to a war on drugs that traces back to Richard Nixon and I can live with that.
And that is why I say open all the pot shops that you can, as fast as you can, even if I won’t be visiting them.
By Colleen O'connor and John Ingold, The Denver Post
As the new year approached, Courtney smoked marijuana for the first time, after a lifetime of being against it.
“I never smoked before,” said Courtney, a young mother who wants to be identified by first name only. “I always said, ‘I’m a good kid, I’m not going to do that because it’s illegal.’ ”
But she was around marijuana a lot because her husband has smoked it almost daily for 14 years. And she began to wonder whether it could help with her persistent health issues, including chronic pain and loss of appetite. So she decided to try what she had long avoided.
“I cannot eat otherwise,” Courtney said.
The rapid changes in Colorado’s marijuana laws have caused many people across the state to re-evaluate their relationship with cannabis.
Those who are curious about marijuana and plan to try it include people who have never used it, as well as those who smoked decades ago, before marriage and kids. They say they now plan to buy some marijuana because it’s easy, convenient and legal.
But the continuing stigma surrounding marijuana use — not to mention the very real risks to their jobs — keeps many cannabis newcomers from stepping fully into the light. A 52-year-old man who plans to try pot for the first time didn’t want any part of his name published.
“My hesitation comes from 50 years of negativity associated with drug use and concern about my name being in a news report,” he wrote in an e-mail.
Peter Adler, a professor at the University of Denver who has studied the sociology of drugs, said Colorado’s legalization of adult use and purchase of marijuana will probably lessen the stigma.
“Some of that still exists,” he said. “It’s a very political issue, and people don’t understand exactly the effects of marijuana. But I don’t think there’s any question that the passage of the law in Colorado is a sign of things to come for the destigmatization.”
Even marijuana advocates warn that there can still be serious consequences for cannabis use in Colorado. Employers can fire employees for off-the-job use, and landlords can evict tenants. Marijuana use can impact a person’s government benefits or a child-custody case.
“It’s going to take time to work it out,” said Brian Vicente, one of the architects of Colorado’s marijuana-legalization law. “But we’ve taken a significant step toward mainstreaming marijuana.”
Health concerns may deter some of the curious, and many doctors and drug-treatment professionals worry that enthusiasm over Colorado’s new laws will lead to a public health disaster for the state. In addition to the negative effects that smoking marijuana can have on users’ lungs, treatment experts say there is a risk for adults to become dependent on pot.
Ben Cort, who runs the Colorado Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation, said his center has seen an increase in admissions of adults seeking treatment for marijuana use as the state’s laws on marijuana have loosened. Cort said pot use may even lead to psychosis in some people.
“It seems like marijuana is almost always on the list of substances that adults are seeking treatment for,” he said.
But there’s another reason why Colorado won’t completely go to pot. Not everybody is interested in marijuana, even with the new laws.
“I am 60 years old and have never tried any street drugs of any kind,” said Fred Rish. “I don’t understand what the hoopla is about this drug.”
Rish graduated from Northglenn High School in 1971, back when many kids were experimenting with drugs. Raised in a military family, he was never tempted.
“It was like, ‘What are these people doing? What’s the attraction to getting high?’ My wife and I could never see that,” he said. “There are other ways to achieve an altered state of consciousness. I achieve that just by holding my wife’s hand.”
Among people who have never tried marijuana, though, attitudes have shifted in recent decades. In 1977, about 72 percent of people thought marijuana use leads to harder drugs, according to a Pew research poll. Today, 50 percent believe that’s true.
There’s also a gender difference. More women than men said they would be bothered by people around them using marijuana, according to the poll: 57 percent said they would feel uncomfortable around people using marijuana, compared with 44 percent of men.
A Gallup poll late last year found, for the first time, that a majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana.
The changing attitudes have pricked the ears of Dan Morris, who works in the construction industry and is a passionate trombone player in his free time.
“I’ve always been curious about it,” he said.
At 33, Morris has never smoked marijuana even though lots of his friends do. He knows it was an integral aspect of the jazz culture in 20th-century America.
“I don’t think I’m going to suddenly sound like Miles Davis,” he said, “but it might give me insight into those players, because that’s what they were using when they were being creative.”
If he decides to experiment, he’d rather use edibles because he believes smoking would harm his lungs, which he wants in good shape for trombone playing.
Curiosity is a common theme among those who say Colorado’s new laws might cause them to experiment with marijuana.
Amy, a married mother of three kids, will soon visit one of the new recreational pot shops but isn’t sure whether she’ll consume on a regular basis. For now, the idea is intriguing.
As a teenager, she smoked pot about a dozen times, and she knew that a hit or two was her limit. Since then, she has smoked and ingested only a few times.
“I’m not against weed used in a responsible way — and it might be something, now that I’m in my 40s, that I might partake (in) from time to time, more the way I do alcohol,” she said.
Amy, who has two kids in high school and the third in middle school, feels that a trip to a pot store will be educational.
“Raising kids in Denver, you have to be aware of it and be familiar with it, and know what the laws and rules are,” she said. “It’s a big topic of conversation with us. This is the world they live in: ‘What does that mean? What’s it like?’ Kids are curious, and they want to know.”
Ric Weiler, who bought a quarter-ounce and some edibles at BotanaCare on New Year’s Day, works in information technology and knows lots of people who are curious.
“One guy is the only person I know who has no desire to try it, but others haven’t used it in 10 years, and they plan on swinging by once the excitement dies down,” said Weiler, 60. “One told me he quit when his son was in fifth grade and started going to the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program. But now he’s in college working on his Ph.D.”
Derek, a working dad, had a similar experience. For years, he smoked pot daily and swore he’d never stop because it helped him chill out. Then, 11 years ago, his son was born, and “it just didn’t seem as cool or as important as he was.”
A decade and a divorce later, he plans to visit a recreational pot store.
“When I don’t have my kids, I think it will be fun to kick it old school,” he said. “I’m not going to be puffing down, but I’m really excited to get some edibles.”
Courtney, too, wanted to go slow in her first experiences. She said she had no idea how it would feel and didn’t want to become too stoned. Her husband offered her advice.
“He said, ‘Take one hit, then see how your body reacts,’ ” she said.
Courtney liked it so much that she plans to use it on a regular basis.
“I was just really relaxed,” she said, “and I couldn’t stop laughing.”
Via The Denver Post
By Matt FernerA man holds a sign referring to Colorado legalizing marijuana with the state capitol dome in the background at the 4/20 marijuana holiday in Civic Center Park in downtown Denver April 20, 2013. (Photo: REUTERS/Rick Wilking)
The Colorado Department of Revenue released a 60-plus page report Monday detailing the rules of how recreational marijuana should be licensed, regulated and sold in Colorado.
The recreational marijuana industry in Colorado will be regulated by the state revenue department.
The state department report sets very specific rules for recreational marijuana in Colorado from licensing to how a retail marijuana store should operate to how retail grow operations should function to marijuana testing to marketing and to labeling of marijuana products.
Safe product testing and proper labeling were two of the key areas the Department of Revenue needed to provide rules on by today's deadline and the report provides ample detail.
Labels must conform to the specific language requirements of the state including information on potency, amount of THC in the marijuana product, a clear set of instructions on how to properly use the product, a complete list of nonorganic pesticides, fungicides and herbicides used during cultivation and much more depending on the type of product which can range from marijuana buds for smoking, a marijuana-laced food or a THC-concentrate like a marijuana "wax."
All retail marijuana products must also contain these warning statements:
- “There may be health risks associated with the consumption of this product.”
- “This product is intended for use by adults 21 years and older. Keep out of the reach of children.”
- “This product is unlawful outside the State of Colorado.”
- “This product is infused with Retail Marijuana.”
- “This product was produced without regulatory oversight for health, safety, or efficacy.”
- “The intoxicating effects of this product may be delayed by two or more hours.
Recreational marijuana buyers must produce a government-issued photo ID to prove that they are 21-years-old or older.
Colorado adults, 21 and over, will be limited to purchasing up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use from specialty licensed retail shops that can also sell pot-related items such as pipes and accessories. Coloradans can also grow up to six plants -- with only three flowering at a given time -- in their home for personal use. Adults can possess up to an ounce of marijuana legally.
Adult tourists in Colorado are limited to purchasing only a quarter of an ounce.
The state department also intends on setting up a seed-to-sale tracking system which will make all marijuana producers and sellers responsible for each plant produced and sold.
All-in-all the rules are extremely dry and sober and described best by The Associated Press:
The regulations are largely dry details that make pot seem more like a loaf of bread or an over-the-counter sinus remedy than a party drug.
A description which echoes sentiments about marijuana spoken by Mason Tvert, the communications director for Marijuana Policy Project and co-director of the Yes on Amendment 64 campaign in Colorado, on the "All In with Chris Hayes" show in May.
"Tobacco kills about about 400,000 Americans per year, alcohol about 40,000 Americans and marijuana has never killed a single human being in history," Tvert said. "That's not to say it shouldn't be regulated and controlled, it's just to say that while this is new and some people might have knee-jerk reactions, we need to treat the product like it is, which is a relatively benign substance that millions of adults use responsibly."
Recreational pot sales don't begin in Colorado until January 1, 2014.
Back in May, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed several historic measures to implement marijuana legalization in the state, establishing Colorado as the world's first legal, regulated and taxed marijuana market for adults.
Washington State, the only other state to legalize marijuana for recreational use last November, is also preparing for legal retail marijuana sales next year and is currently working out the final draft of its own rules for regulation.
Colorado Lawmakers Set Taxes And Rules For Marijuana Sales
Colorado is set to become the first U.S. state to regulate and tax sales of recreational marijuana, after lawmakers approved several bills that set business standards and rules. Legislators expect enforcement of the rules to be paid for by two taxes on marijuana — a 15 percent excise tax, and a 10 percent sales tax.
Other measures included in the package set limits on how much marijuana visitors to Colorado can buy (a quarter of an ounce), as well as a limit on how many cannabis plants a private citizen can grow (six).
Gov. John Hickenlooper has indicated he will sign the legislation, according to Colorado voters first approved the legalization of pot for recreational use by people over age 21 in a ballot initiative last November.
Voters adopted a similar measure in Washington state, where plans for regulation and taxation are still being formed.
"The first legal marijuana should be on sale in Washington in March 2014," reports the , "and Colorado will have its cannabis stores open as soon as Jan. 1."
Like all new Colorado taxes, voters must approve the new taxation system in a ballot initiative this autumn.
Other states are already taxing pot, but those levies cover medical marijuana. California reportedly raises more than $100 million a year on such sales.
The Colorado legislation adopted Wednesday also includes a requirement that "pot must be sold in child-resistant packages with labels that specify potency," . "Edible marijuana products will have serving-size limits."
Haggling Continues Over Marijuana Testing, Magazines
May 4, 2013 4:00 PM
DENVER (CBS4) – Time running is out for the new marijuana rules. Colorado senators scrambled Friday to advance a sweeping series of regulations and taxes on the newly legal drug.
The Senate Finance Committee approved two measures Friday to tax and regulate pot, but big questions remain before the annual session ends Wednesday.
Senators were haggling over pot testing standards and a proposal to ban the infusion of marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, into premade foods such as Twinkies and Pop Tarts.
As the marijuana measures advanced, Senate President John Morse told reporters he’s still thinking about pushing a brand-new ballot measure to ask voters whether marijuana legalization should be repealed without accompanying taxes. He told Coloradans to stay tuned.
Consider the simple cookie. It can be made with marijuana, but there’s a limit to how much is too much. And when it comes to minors, another state lawmaker has a new idea for the marketing of marijuana minors might see.
“We’ve seen increases to the emergency room in the last year or so on edibles from children,” said Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver. “We want to make sure that we’re protecting them.”
Pabon has been helping to making marijuana laws for months. Placing a limit of 10 milligrams per serving of THC in something edible has not been controversial and comes with some teeth. Some businesses could be shut down if they sell a cookie that is overloaded with too much THC
“That could be a possible enforcement mechanism, there could be license suspension,” Pabon said.
What is controversial is a late legislative idea requiring the removal of marijuana magazines from store shelves and selling them only from behind the counter, such as pornography.
“The idea is that we need to keep marijuana out of the hands of children; that we don’t want to encourage the use, we want to discourage the use by children,” said Rep. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs.
Gardner is well aware limitations on the placement of a marijuana magazine might violate free speech. But he argues since government can control cigarette sales to minors, why not do the same with marijuana?
“Let me emphasize these publications are not banned, they’re not prohibited, they’re marketing is being controlled,” Gardner said.
Washington, Colorado Allow Recreational Use of Marijuana
Washington will allow those at least 21 years old to buy as much as one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana from a licensed retailer. Colorado’s measure allows possession of an ounce, and permits growing as many as six plants in private, secure areas. Oregon voters rejected a similar measure.
“The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will,” Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said in a statement. “This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.”
Support for marijuana’s recreational use built on measures that allow it for medical purposes in one-third of U.S. states. Previous attempts to legalize pot through ballot measures failed in California, Alaska, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada since 1972, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado said federal law was not affected by the vote.
“The Department of Justice’s enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged,” said Jeff Dorschner in a statement. “We are reviewing the ballot initiative and have no additional comment at this time.”
Washington, Colorado and Oregon were among six states with marijuana on their ballots. In Massachusetts, residents approved a measure to allow medical use, while Arkansas voters rejected such a proposal. Medical-marijuana use is already permitted in 17 states and the District of Columbia. In Montana, a proposal to restrict the use of medical marijuana was leading, 57 percent to 43 percent, with 65 percent of ballots counted, the Associated Press said.
“It’s very monumental,” said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a Washington-based group that advocates legalization. “No state has ever done this. Technically, marijuana isn’t even legal in Amsterdam.”
The approval of recreational pot goes a step beyond its acceptance in medical use. California was the first state to permit medical-marijuana when voters approved it in 1996. Federal prosecutors cracked down on the medical-marijuana industry in California last year, threatening landlords with jail if they didn’t evict the shops.
“Regardless of state laws to the contrary, there is no such thing as ‘medical’ marijuana under federal law,” according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder released a letter a month before California voters considered a ballot measure to legalize recreational use of marijuana in 2010, saying the Justice Department would “vigorously” enforce federal law. The initiative failed.
A Justice Department spokesman, Dean Boyd, declined to comment yesterday when reached by telephone.
In Washington state, decriminalization and new rules on driving under the influence take effect Dec. 6. The state liquor control board must adopt rules by Dec. 1, 2013 for licensing producers, processors and retailers.
The Washington measure may generate as much as $1.9 billion in revenue over five fiscal years, according to the state’s Office of Financial Management.
No, Mitt Romney will not legalize pot
Romney also was hazy about the future of Colorado’s medical marijuana industry, which reaps more than $5 million a year in state sales taxes, saying his administration would enforce federal drug laws, that prohibit marijuana for any use.
“I oppose marijuana being used for recreational purposes and I believe the federal law should prohibit the recreational use of marijuana,” he said.
But whatever his reason was for singling out “recreational” use in that interview, Romney’s position on pot hasn’t changed.
“Governor Romney has a long record of opposing the use of marijuana for any reason,” a campaign spokesperson said. “He opposes legalizing drugs, including marijuana for medicinal purposes. He will fully enforce the nation’s drug laws, and he will oppose any attempts at legalization.”
In a May interview with a Colorado news station, Romney criticized a similar question. “We’ve got enormous issues we face, but you want to talk about medical marijuana,” he said. But he went on to say that he opposed legalization.