DENVER — Cannabis enthusiasts across the state of Colorado are smoking a bowl of freedom on Monday, as Governor John Hickenlooper signed an executive order officially legalizing marijuana following the approval of Amendment 64 by voters last month.
But before pot smokers start planning a road trip to the Centennial State, there are some details that still need to be ironed out by the state legislature – including laws regarding the possession, sale and distribution of marijuana.
According to KDVR-TV in Denver, Hickenlooper signed an “official declaration of the vote” regarding Amendment 64 on Monday, which, according to the Governor’s Office in a statement, “formalizes the amendment as part of the state Constitution and makes legal the personal use, possession and limited home-growing of marijuana under Colorado law for adults 21 years of age and older.”
But the statement also adds that it’s still illegal to buy or sell marijuana, or to consume it in public. And marijuana is still illegal under federal law, as the U.S. Department of Justice is still reviewing how to handle the pot-legalization laws passed by voters in Colorado and Washington State.
“(The) responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado John Walsh in a statement. “Neither States nor the Executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress.”
Hickenlooper is establishing a task force to work on implementing Amendment 64, including – according to a statement – the need to amend current state and local laws regarding the possession, sale, distribution or transfer of marijuana and marijuana products to conform them to Amendment 64’s decriminalization provisions; the need for new regulations for such things as security requirements for marijuana establishments and for labeling requirements; education regarding long-term health effects of marijuana use and harmful effects of marijuana use by those under the age of 18 and the impact of Amendment 64 on employers and employees and the Colorado economy.
“Voters were loud and clear on Election Day,” Hickenlooper said. “We will begin working immediately with the General Assembly and state agencies to implement Amendment 64.”