The voters may have passed the bill to make marijuana legal in Colorado, but there is still a long way to go before marijuana is legalized. The win this election was just the first step in the process. If anything the new law brought an abundance of new questions to light as to how to implement the law and just how this state law will be received by the feds.
The process of regulating marijuana the same as alcohol may seem simple, but it really is not; for one, how does the current law in regards to Medical Marijuana affect the new law? Under the MMJ law, only dispensaries or Registered Care Givers are allowed to sell marijuana to patients with a MMJ prescription. The new law would make it legal for anyone over age 21 to purchase marijuana from any licensed retailer, such as a liquor store. How will it be determined what classifies a specific marijuana type as medicinal and only attainable through dispensaries or Registered Care Givers, versus recreational and available through licensed retailers? Additionally, the MMJ law states the card carrier is allowed 2 ounces per day, where the new law says recreational users are permitted 1 ounce per day. Logically it would make sense to treat this question the same as the 3.2 laws on alcohol. Realistically this is a problem as marijuana is not so easily measured. The alcohol content of alcoholic food and beverage items is easily measure before it is sold. Since some plants can be more potent than others no matter what strain they are, this measuring process is not as easy.
Another issue is that marijuana use of any kind is still illegal according to Federal Law. Since Federal Law trumps State Law, this new bill passing is a direct slap in the face to the Federal Legislative process and may cause back lash and an influx of federal intervention in order to avoid other states jumping on board and following in Colorado’s footsteps. Even the MMJ law has been under scrutiny due to this State versus Federal legal standoff. The new law may well be just enough to push the Feds over the edge.
So for those eager and excited to be able to openly go to the corner store and purchase their first bud of legal marijuana, don’t expect to find it in your neighborhood liquor store any time soon. These are simply the tip of the ice berg easy questions. There are a lot more that still need to be answered before marijuana is readily available to the public.