Colorado marijuana laws have recently come under fire for historic changes. The state’s legislature has finally approved bills that make it the first state of the union to regulate the recreational use and sale of marijuana. However, there is an amount of uncertainty that surrounds the decision. Here is a closer look at the Colorado Marijuana laws and how they may impact the rest of the country.
New Colorado Marijuana Laws
Colorado’s governor signed bills into law that regulate pot and make an attempt to keep it away from children. Here are some of the general ideas that have been incorporated into these laws.
- Purchasing Limits: People who visit the state of Colorado will be limited to one-quarter ounce of marijuana per transaction. However, there is no ban on a Colorado resident from possessing one full ounce. These limits were put into place in order to lower out of state trafficking and to keep the feds from charging recreational sales.
- Licenses Necessary: The marijuana industry in the state of Colorado is limited to people who have a license to sell or grow medical marijuana for the next few months. For two years after this point, only residents of Colorado will be able to open businesses and obtain licenses to sell this drug.
- Video Surveillance: Colorado law states that a person must provide video surveillance over marijuana growth. This is meant to act as a tracking system and will help to deter cartels from moving into the state.
- Not Available Everywhere: The Colorado marijuana laws give local authorities the power to prohibit retail marijuana sales. However, home growing is allowed all through the state. Perhaps a future battle will lie in what areas will prohibit marijuana sales. It is possible that the drug will only be allowed to be sold in larger cities, including Denver. Denver marijuana transactions now involve people who will use the drug for recreational purposes.
- Children: The new laws try to keep children away from marijuana. Statutes are in place that make sharing marijuana with a minor a crime. Child proof packaging is also mandated. No ads can target children with attractive characters and must be kept off channels where children are likely to see or hear them. Also, 10 percent of marijuana sales tax will be used for educational programs that explain the dangers of the drug.
- Driving Under The Influence Of Marijuana: For the first time, these laws have established a blood level limit for a person who drives while intoxicated with marijuana. A person cannot have a blood limit higher than five nanograms per millimeter of THC, the drugs active ingredient.To avoid costly fines or jail time for driving while impaired by marijuana, a person must understand a safe time between smoking and driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advises that a person wait to drive at least three hours after the last hit. This will help to prevent impairment of handling a motor vehicle, lower the sleepiness and lack or coordination, and increase reaction time.
How Colorado Marijuana Laws May Influence The Rest Of The Country
Over the years, many people have fought to legalize marijuana.
Back in the 1950s, marijuana was considered extremely dangerous. Many thought that it was the first step towards more hard core drug abuse. However, by 1980, almost one-third of Americans favored its legalization. Today, almost half of all Americans feel that it should be made legal.
More and more states are allowing marijuana to be used for medical purposes. This is different than recreational use, but does open the door for discussion. As states like Colorado pass laws that allow marijuana to be sold, there will be a great deal of scrutiny as to the benefits that are seen. This state will be under a microscope to determine the success of the laws. If it seems to work well, it may be a turning point toward the legalization in other states. Most people argue that it is a great way to earn money for necessary state projects. If it is possible to responsibly regulate the sale of alcohol, there are few reasons why it is not possible to responsibly regulate this drug as well.
New guidelines have been issued by the Justice Department, which detail priorities of the federal government to enforce laws dealing with recreational marijuana use. The Deputy Attorney General told the Senate Judiciary Committee that no challenges will be posed against Colorado, but it will release new federal regulations if the laws fail. Federal authorities wish to target the prevention of marijuana sold to children and prosecute drug cartels, gang affiliations, and trafficking to states where the drug is still illegal. The authorities will place strict penalties in place for people who drive while under the influence as well. The offense that will be enforced the most rigorously will be against growing this drug on public property.
People who back these laws also support the passing of a strict marijuana tax. This money would help the state enforce marijuana laws and develop an effective education campaign for youth. A 15 percent tax would also provide money for new school construction. A 10 percent tax on paraphernalia would be used for enforcement needs.
Legalizing marijuana has long been an issue that has faced the country. A few states have passed measures that legalize the drug for medicinal purposes. These have not been greatly enforced. Recently, Colorado has become the first state to pass laws that allow a person to buy and use marijuana for recreational purposes. The United States government has stepped away from its war on drugs and is now allowing states to create a system of regulation for the legal use of marijuana. No one knows for sure how successful these new measures will be. After the country has time to analyze the effectiveness of Colorado laws, more states may choose to adopt a similar platform. With time, it may be possible to have a legitimate marijuana industry.