Colorado legislature passes laws regulating legal pot
May 8th, 2013
09:45 PM ET
12 months ago

Colorado legislature passes laws regulating legal pot

(CNN) – Colorado’s state legislature passed a pair of measures Wednesday regulating the sale of legal marijuana, becoming the first state to pass bills dictating how the now-legal drug will be taxed and sold in stores.

The votes come roughly six months after voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing the recreational use of marijuana in the state. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order in December to officially legalize the personal use and limited growing of marijuana for those 21 or older.

Hickenlooper, a Democrat, was expected to sign the new laws passed Wednesday. They included House Bill 1318, which imposes a 10% tax on the sale of retail marijuana and related products in a store. The measure specified the 10% tax was in addition to a 2.9% state sales tax. An additional excise tax of 15% was also included in the bill for sales of unprocessed marijuana to retail stores.

The new taxes, which will help fund the new marijuana regulatory structure in the state, will be subject to a ballot referendum.

A second measure passed Wednesday delineated how marijuana will be sold legally in the state. Licenses for retail stores will only be given to Colorado residents, and in the initial three months of the law will only be distributed to current operators of medical marijuana dispensaries.

Owners of stores selling marijuana must have been Colorado residents for at least two years prior to applying for a license, and their employees must also live in the state, according to the law.

Non-residents will still be permitted to purchase marijuana in the state, but only a fourth of an ounce at a time.

Marijuana mixed with nicotine and alcohol prior to sale is prohibited, and the product must be placed in a “sealed nontransparent container at the point of sale,” according to the legislative text.

Earlier this week Colorado lawmakers passed legislation setting a legal limit for driving under the influence of marijuana. Drivers with 5 nanograms or more of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in one milliliter of blood would be in violation of the law. THC is the main psychoactive element in cannabis.

In November, voters in both Colorado and Washington state approved ballot measures allowing for the personal, recreational use of marijuana. Nearly 20 other states permit the use of marijuana for medical reasons.

The new laws put Colorado and Washington at odds with the federal government, which classifies marijuana as an illegal substance.

In a statement Wednesday, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said that while he disagreed with the overarching amendment allowing legal use of marijuana in the state, he supported the legislature’s work in enacting regulations on its sale.

“It is difficult to do a good job of implementing bad public policy,” he said. “However, given that the voters directed the Legislature to implement Amendment 64, and given that the marijuana industry had an aggressive and well financed lobbying effort, I believe the Legislature did a credible job of implementing most of the Marijuana Task Force’s recommendations.”


Filed under: Colorado
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. S.B. Stein

    I guess if they are going to allow it, then there should be rules about it.

    May 8, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  2. Ed1

    When will the FEDS start enforcing the law guess Obama doesn't want that might cost his party votes.

    May 8, 2013 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  3. Barry Burch Jr

    About time. Let's get this show on the road. Too many people are in prison over this nonsense.

    May 8, 2013 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  4. Thomas

    Tax it !

    May 9, 2013 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  5. vikingwoman

    I so applaud this effort! Of course it must be taxed & regulated, like alcohol! When the other states & the federal government figures out the advantages of legalizing weed, I'm certain there will be a lot of "jumpin' on the band wagon"! Thanks Coloradoans for taking the 1's step!!

    May 9, 2013 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  6. Catmandew

    Well I guess it sounds like they are gonna tax the stuff quite highly. Maybe it will help their budget balance. The potheads will buy the stuff at any price so they could charge whatever they want.

    May 9, 2013 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  7. Guest

    Of course Holder and BO admin wont challenge Colorado/Washington or threaten with lawsuits as the states that are or have moved gun rights legistlation or attempt to enforce policy on illegals, something sketchy going on in dumbocratic party.

    May 9, 2013 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  8. Minnie Mouse

    Marijuana is not a drug. It's an addiction just like nicotine, alcohol ect.. You will not have any more control over keeping it out from under people of age 21, just like you cannot with alcohol and nicotine. If your having to set laws on how much is in your system while driving, this alone tells you it should be off the market because there's already enough trouble with alchohol. If it was fantastic, then all states would be passing the same laws but it's not. It's great to bring in more tax revenues but don't jepordize peoples health and safety just to do.

    May 9, 2013 07:04 am at 7:04 am |