Staff CMM - Wednesday, December 26, 2012
As the new amendment becomes a reality in Colorado, representatives from the Department of Revenue gather together as a task force to discuss the various issues that will arise under the new marijuana law. Issues such as licensing requirements to whether the state should regulate potency will all be discussed. The task force will have until February 28th to iron out any issues and get something together. Because recreational marijuana in Colorado is a completely new subject, the task force will be setting brand new rules for the state. To make the task less daunting, they will divide themselves into five groups to focus on key issues, including recreational store regulations, types of local regulations cities and counties can impose, employment issues and taxes, criminal law and social issues related to legalization.
Staff CMM - Tuesday, December 18, 2012
When Colorado passed its first medical marijuana laws in November 2000, law enforcement officials saw a rise in the number of impaired drivers. Now with the passing of Amendment 64, officials are expecting the number of impaired drivers to increase even more. Driving under the influence of marijuana can cause dizziness, slowed reaction time and drivers are more inclined to drift and swerve, making it dangerous to be on the road. As of yet, there has been no consensus about the standard rate of THC impairment, which means that the development of a roadside test much like they do for alcohol has not yet been successfully integrated. Different states have different laws when it comes to acceptable limits of THC. Although five nanograms seems to be the standard, lawmakers in Colorado have tried and failed three times to set a THC driving limit owing mainly to the fact that the Colorado legalization measure didn’t set a standard when written. Lawmakers in Colorado are prepared to reconvene on the issue in the coming year as the availability of the drug increases in the state.
Staff CMM - Friday, December 14, 2012
The passing of Amendment 64 in Colorado legalizing marijuana has raised concern with Colorado’s immediate neighbor to the north – Wyoming. Officials in Wyoming are putting law enforcement on the alert as things begin to change in Colorado. The main concern for the state is the illegal transportation of the drug over state lines. Although it will be legal to travel to Colorado to purchase marijuana, possession of the drug in Wyoming is still against the law. Officials have made it clear that anyone caught in possession of marijuana in Wyoming will be arrested, taken to jail and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Officials also stated that although Colorado has legalized the drug under Amendment 64, federal law still considers the substance illegal and the state of Wyoming will act accordingly.
Staff CMM - Wednesday, December 12, 2012
In the wake of Amendment 64 passing in Colorado, marijuana laws are being scrutinized with a more critical eye. What worked to an extent for medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado in the past will simply not suffice as new businesses begin to take shape on the horizon. Recreational marijuana dispensaries will need to have a new set of regulations to operate by and the Department of Revenue’s Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division (MMED) is settling down to the task. MMED spokesperson Julie Postlethwait stated that the division is expecting to hold three public forums to discuss new rules, with the first coming January 11th. Current regulations for Colorado medical marijuana are not always clear, as evidenced by several court cases recently where dispensary owners were charged with growing more plants than the state allows. With a fluctuating client base and the state falling months behind on processing paperwork, dispensary owners have found it difficult to stay in compliance at all times. Spokespeople for the new marijuana initiative are hopeful that the state will be able to work out the kinks by the time the law takes effect in 2014.
Staff CMM - Friday, November 30, 2012
Although Colorado recently passed a bill to make marijuana possession legal to adults in small quantities, setting rules and regulations for the substance moving forward will be no easy task. Most lawmakers are estimating that depending on how the federal government will approach the new state law, it could take until July 1, 2013 to even adopt new regulations for marijuana stores and these new stores wouldn’t be looking at opening until January of 2014. Considering that it took a full year for departments to write and implement new procedures for medical marijuana in Colorado, it is a safe bet that the new marijuana store process will take at least that long. The goal for state lawmakers is to construct a set of rules and regulations that will be the least offensive to the federal government as possible in order to avoid a federal crackdown.
Staff CMM - Monday, November 26, 2012
Mason Tvert, a strong Colorado marijuana activist, made the news again recently as he credited his many years of careful strategy to the success of Amendment 64 being passed in Colorado this November. Tvert’s past strategies included actions such as crashing a law enforcement conference where he was booed by police officers and staging a news conference outside the Drug Enforcement Agency’s local office along with several cases of beer and a wanted poster with Governor Hickenlooper’s face on it. Tvert admits these strategies were mainly for effect but more to simply raise awareness for marijuana in Colorado. Other efforts included hiring a female Latino spokesperson to appeal to the Latino community. Tvert feels his efforts helped Amendment 64 gain the momentum necessary to give it a strong presence on the ballot in November and feels that the past eight years of effort helped raise awareness in such a manner that people are no longer seeing marijuana in Colorado as an illegal substance, but as more of a profitable business prospect.
Staff CMM - Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Recently, heads of the United Nations Drug Watchdog Agency expressed concern over the passing of the recent Washington and Colorado marijuana laws which decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults 21 and over. The U.N. heads are urging federal officials in the U.S. to challenge the recent ballot measure, as they feel this measure sends out a very bad message to both other states in the U.S. as well as to other countries abroad, giving the impression that marijuana possession is acceptable in the U.S. A recent statement by Raymond Yans, the head of the International Narcotics Control Board, to the Associated Press, expr4essed hopes that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will take the necessary measures to ensure that marijuana possession and use continues to remain illegal throughout the U.S. Until officials come to a decision, both Washington and Colorado are holding off on regulating and taxing the drug pending word as to whether the Justice Department will assert federal authority over the recently passed drug laws.
Staff CMM - Friday, November 16, 2012
As the law was passed this November to legalize marijuana in Colorado, leaders of several Latin countries including Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Costa Rica expressed extreme concern over the impact this law will have on their efforts to curb illegal drug smuggling from their own countries to America. The leaders called for the Organization of American States to study the impact of the votes. It is expected that the United Nations’ General Assembly will hold a special session on the prohibition of drugs by 2015. With these countries already experiencing a very high percentage of drug trafficking, leaders are concerned about the death toll that will follow as they continue their attempt to police illegal drug activity. Drug exporting is expected to rise as a result of the law being passed and with the increased inflow of marijuana in Colorado, officials are concerned that more dangerous drugs will also begin to follow suit.
Staff CMM - Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Although the measure was passed on November 6, 2012 to legalize marijuana in Colorado in small quantities, the future of this law is still in question as is the impact it will have on the state. Officials in Mexico are expressing concerns regarding cartels and the pot that is sent from Mexico to the U.S. and Colorado illegally. It is speculated that the passing of this measure will encourage a heavier import of the drug, making work for law officials harder and potentially more dangerous than it already is. According to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, speculation that the pot measure will increase Colorado ‘pot tourism’ is unrealistic. Although the ease of obtaining the drug will initially attract people, it will be difficult to take the drug out of the state and although marijuana in Colorado is legal, it is still considered illegal under federal law. It is believed that federal officials will be keeping an even closer eye on the drug trafficking activity occurring in the state.
Staff CMM - Saturday, November 10, 2012
Although the vote last Tuesday was an overwhelming yes to legalize marijuana in Colorado, officials and head of the Colorado tourism board felt the initiative is raising more questions than anything else. A major concern is that the passing of the law will bring an influx of marijuana tourists – people who come to the state simply to purchase and use marijuana, thus increasing the possible trafficking of the drug. Another concern is that if this should happen, it will begin to deter others who had planned to visit Colorado, thus bringing down the image of the state. A further concern is the fact that marijuana laws in Colorado do not supersede federal laws. Since federal law still considers marijuana illegal, there is the question as to whether the recreational marijuana measure will actually take effect at all. The U.S. Department of Justice is still pending decision on possible lawsuits directed at the state as they determine the assertion of federal supremacy over drug law. Until the issue is cleared up, the most that recreational marijuana users can do is speculate about the future of marijuana in Colorado.