While some residents celebrate Colorado State Amendment 64, Colorado law enforcement and government officials still raise some concerns. The amendment was passed by a majority vote during the most recent election and removed most of Colorado’s legal penalties when it comes to possession of a small amount of marijuana. However, it is not quite a smoker’s free-for-all as there are still many unknowns facing Colorado’s law enforcement.
Governor Hickenlooper’s signature on Monday made possession and recreational use of under an ounce of marijuana legal for adults over the age of 21 in Colorado. Under the new pot law plaw enforcement can no longer issue citations or arrest people for possession or using the drug privately or in their repppppolice can no longer issue citations or arrest people smoking weed privately in their residences. Additionally, if an officer makes a traffic stop and sees marijuana in plain view, there is now nothing that can be charged provided the driver is not under the influence. However, much like alcohol use, a simple traffic stop can still turn into a serious DUI or DWAI charges. Driving under the influence will continue to be policed similar to alcohol use, which can hold very serious and stiff legal consequences.
There are still many restrictions and unknowns that come with the passing of Amendment 64. Minor consumption under the age of 21 is still against the law, as well as any use in public places. While it is legal to purchase, possessing more than the legal limit of an ounce of marijuana is still considered illegal and the distribution and sale still a felony. The amendment clearly still has some gray areas and asks for further legislation to set a series of laws to regulate marijuana in a very similar way to alcohol.
Officials say they predict the amount of driving under the influence citations will now increase as marijuana is already one of the most common drugs when it comes to DUI, DUID, and DWAI charges. The penalties and consequences for these charges can be very harsh, even for first time offenders, and can result in costly fines or even jail time. If you have been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana seeking immediate criminal defense can aid in understanding the vast gray areas of Amendment 64.
Source: Cortez Journal, “Marijuana: Smoke screen or smoke scene?” Dec 12, 2012