What many people don’t realize is that even though the recreational use of marijuana is legal under Colorado law, it is still very much illegal under federal law.
However, while the federal government could seek to prosecute many recreational marijuana users in Colorado under federal law, it has thus far largely chosen not to as long as the marijuana users are complying with state law — although some fear this may soon change.
According to a recent report by U.S. News and World Report, the federal government is now reviewing how they plan to handle state-legal marijuana going forward, with options ranging from keeping the status quo to a marijuana crackdown.
Given the recent closed-door meetings in Denver and Colorado Springs between local representatives and federal officials regarding Colorado’s legal marijuana system — and its possible black market — many now fear that federal authorities are leaning towards cracking down on marijuana users in states with legal weed.
While it is still unclear what action the federal government will ultimately take, if they do decide to crack down, many Coloradans could face federal marijuana charges even though they are compliant with state law — although a legal challenge would most assuredly ensue.
Colorado marijuana businesses, however, may have additional protection if a crackdown were to begin. For instance, as mentioned by U.S. News and World Report, Colorado lawmakers approved legislation allowing retail marijuana businesses to reclassify their recreational marijuana as medical marijuana, meaning federal prosecutors would have a harder time bringing charges.