Colorado’s Amendment 64 Passes but Faces Legal Hurdles

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Colorado’s Amendment 64 legalized Marijuana, but how high will the new law fly with the federal courts? Credit: LancerenoK

On Election Day, Coloradans passed a measure that calls for the state’s constitution to be amended to legalize the use, cultivation, possession, and sale of marijuana under limited circumstances.

The ballot initiative passed 54.8 to 45.1.

Although these activities will become legal in the state of Colorado, the use, growth, and sale of marijuana will still constitute criminal offenses under federal law.

Amendment 64

The amendment is officially known as The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012.  It allows anyone 21 years of age or older to legally purchase up to an ounce of marijuana at a time. Colorado residents will also be allowed to legally grow up to six plants at the same time.

The Act also provides for the legal sale of up to an ounce of ‘pot’ per person by designated retail outlets, and allows businesses to grow the plant commercially for legal sale. The provision also allows the state to regulate and naturally, to tax, the legal marijuana industry.

Under Amendment 64, legal marijuana must be used in private, and smoking in public places will still constitute a criminal offense.

Controlled Substances Act

No matter what changes the state of Colorado makes to its constitution, marijuana remains a prohibited Schedule 1 drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act (21 USC, Section 821).

Schedule 1 drugs are those drugs and substances that have a high potential for abuse. They are found to have no currently medically accepted use within the United States, and the drugs and substances listed in Schedule 1 are not considered safe, even if used under medical supervision. The law remains intact despite the arguments that marijuana does have legitimate medical purposes.

Currently, there are no specific plans to remove marijuana from the list of controlled drugs.

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