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Clearing the Smoke in Colorado

Posted by: headm on: January 16, 2015

Last fall, voters in both Colorado and Washington voted to legalize marijuana, even for recreational users.  These states, now home to some of the loosest regulations for pot, are in the process of smoothing out the legal wrinkles that come along with the first legal market for marijuana.  This newest round of voter-approved legislation is the biggest step taken in the liberalization of marijuana policy; it was just in 2000 that Colorado legalized marijuana use for medicinal purposes.  Beginning this October, Colorado will be regulating marijuana, in essence, just like alcohol.  The federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule one narcotic, and any possession or use of the drug,medicinal or otherwise, is illegal.  
Colorado governor John Hickenlooper has assembled a task-force charged with setting up the logistics of the nation’s first legitimate pot market.  The duties of this task-force include banking, licensing of sellers and public safety provisions.   

Legal Questions

Medicinal marijuana sellers now face a choice: whether to acquire a license to sell marijuana recreationally or continue to sell only to medical users.  Will medical users feel put off if their clinic is overrun with recreational users?  What additional risk posed by the Federal Government for selling recreationally?
According to one dispensary owner, it will come down to whether or not recreational dispensaries will be able to distinguish themselves from the stoner-culture that typically characterizes marijuana users.  If they can maintain their image as a legitimate business working within the confines of the law, many owners do not feel that there is prohibitive level of risk selling non-medicinally.  Of course, when buying pot will no longer require a 100 dollar license registration, what incentive with there be to become a ‘medical marijuana user’? I highly suggest they use portable vaporizers instead, which is more clean and aesthetically pleasing.

A Growing Future?

The Obama administration has made medical marijuana the lowest priority for enforcement.  Much to the delight of marijuana activist groups, the capital seems willing to allow states experiment with new pot laws. Just one of the benefits of legitimizing marijuana sales is that dispensaries will no longer have to remain cash only, eliminating the risk that comes with storing large amounts of cash.  
Colorado and Washington are being emulated by a number of other states seeking to rewrite their medical marijuana laws and some of them are considering legalization.  The executive of NORML (National Association for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) says the issue of pot has become “almost pedestrian”

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