Amendment 64 in Colorado, if passed, will make it legal to possess, grow, sell and give away marijuana. As of now, support in the polls is in favour of 64 passing. An estimated $50 million in tax dollars a year would be going to the state of Colorado.
According to the proposed amendment: “Article XVIII of the constitution of the state of Colorado is amended by the addition of a new section to read: “16. Personal use and regulation of marijuana.” The proposed amendment would have marijuana “regulated in a manner similar to alcohol.” This means that an individual could not sell marijuana, but a licensed business would. Smoking marijuana would be illegal publicly. You would have to be 21 in order to possess or buy your ounce of marijuana, or marijuana plants and it would be illegal to transfer ownership to a minor. It would also still be illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. Marijuana would also be treated as a different substance than industrial hemp.
The amendment will appear on the ballot November 6, 2012. The process of getting the question on the ballot began in January and was ratified at the end of February. 86,105 signatures were needed to put the question of the amendment on the ballot and 90,466 were provided.
When growing marijuana, Coloradans would be permitted up to six plants, three of which are flowering at maturity. These personal plants would be legal “provided that the growing takes place in an enclosed, locked space, is not conducted in openly or publicly, and is not made available for sale.”
A business license holder selling marijuana or marijuana accessories will still run into problems. Since selling marijuana is a federal offence, the Drug Enforcement Agency is within its right to bust marijuana retailers in the state of Colorado. Any federally regulated bank will also not be able to do business with pot shops because it is illegal to profit from illegally obtained money. This means that marijuana retailers would have to use local credit unions.
As of July 1, 2013, the State of Colorado would have to implement a series of regulations on the use, possession, growth and sale of the drug. This includes issuing business licenses to marijuana retailers until it eventually becomes a municipal affair by October 1, 2012. The regulations can be as strict as the municipalities see fit unless it makes it “unreasonably impractical” to operate a marijuana retail outlet.
If passed, the governor has 30 days to sign the amendment and marijuana becomes immediately legal to consume, possess and grow. The implementation of business licenses for marijuana retailers is subject to the delay of what will have to be newly introduced regulations on Colorado’s newest industry.