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Colorado: Where You Can Legally Sell Pot

On January 1, 2014, Colorado became the 1st state in the nation to started legally selling marijuana. The formal language is “comprehensive marijuana regulation.” More colloquially, it is called “retail marijuana.” Pot is the third most popular recreational drug in the U.S., after alcohol and tobacco.

Why Legalize the Selling of Pot?

Colorado voters hope that the legal sale of marijuana, not unlike alcohol, will reduce crime and keep marijuana away from children. The retail sale of pot was approved by 55% of voters in Colorado. Marijuana taxes will generate $67 to $70 million a year in Colorado. Atop the basic cost of the drug, there is a 25% special state tax plus the usual 2.9% state tax. The $27.5 million of taxes collected annually by the retail sale of marijuana will go to building schools.

The arguments include:

  • Marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco
  • Pot legalization will save $10 billion a year on enforcing marijuana prohibition

Pot Rules in Colorado

Colorado regulates marijuana from seed to retail sale. There are three-dozen state-licensed retail stores, 18 of which are in Denver. There are an additional 160 retailers with license applications awaiting approval.

Medical pot still needs physician recommendation. Medical dispensaries are separate from recreational retail stores. Medical marijuana costs $250 an ounce plus taxes.

Users can be ticketed for driving under the influence (DUI), if a blood level shows over 5 nanograms of the active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC levels usually drop to an acceptable level 3 hours after consumption of pot.

Federal laws still consider possession, manufacture and sale of pot to be illegal. They are focused on preventing trafficking and protecting children, especially with the growing legalization of marijuana.

  • It is still illegal to possess pot if under 21 years old butthe city of Denver has decriminalized pot for people 18 to 21 years old. Decriminalized means that the fines for possession remain in place but there is no jail time for being caught with one ounce or less
  • Anyone age 21 or older can purchase and use weed
  • A purchase is limited to one ounce with a Colorado ID, which can cost $200-$400. In many places, 1/8 ounce costs $45, $55 after taxes
  • A purchase is limited to ¼ ounce for people outside Colorado
  • Users can share their pot with friends, if no money is exchanged.
  • No one can smoke pot in public or any establishment governed by Colorado’s Clean Indoor Air Act
  • Users can only smoke in private properties with the owner’s permission
  • Residents can grow up to six plants in their private home, if the plants are enclosed and locked

Future Pot Laws

Currently, 58% of Americans support marijuana legalization. Washington is the next state to legally sell marijuana later this year. Voters have passed the law. Alaska is also expected to make the move this year.

In 2016, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, Maine will bring the vote to the public in 2016. Lobbying is underway in Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Wisconsin lawmakers are the holdouts and refuse to advance the bill.

 


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