Possible Legislative Changes In Recreational Marijuana Use Law

Legalization of marijuana use

On January 1, 2014, as the result of a voter initiative to amend the state constitution, Colorado became the first state in the Union to allow recreational marijuana use for anyone who is at least age 21. Since then, the Denver police department has been vocalizing its opposition to the law, saying that it makes the city "like the wild, wild West," as quoted by thewire.com website. Despite that assessment, the crime rate in the city has seen a significant drop, while revenue has soared, which might explain why the Legislature has, until recently, kept its hands off making changes in the law.

Drug-related homicide?

Things may be changing, though. On April 14, 2014, a woman from Denver made a 911 telephone call and told the operator her husband was experiencing hallucinations from the marijuana candy that he had just purchased and ate. The police took 15 minutes to respond, by which time the woman had been killed by being shot in the head. The police told reporters that they were investigating whether the suspect ate pot preceding the shooting. If he had used marijuana, it may end up being the state's first marijuana-related murder since the legalization of recreational drug use.

Changes in law

Perhaps in response to this crime, two bills were filed in the state Legislature in April of 2014 to put real limits on the use of recreational marijuana and appear to be on the fast track for approval. As part of the legislative process, and adding fuel to the fire, a doctor at Colorado Children's Hospital testified that he had, since the beginning of the year, treated seven teenagers for acute illnesses that had stemmed from their ingesting edible marijuana.

The bills make the following changes:

  • It would impose limits on concentrations of marijuana. The original constitutional amendment permits state residents to make purchases of a single ounce of marijuana, but it does not distinguish between an ounce of leafy green plant and an ounce of concentrated forms (such as hash oil, used for edible drug forms).
  • It would put further restrictions on edible forms, including the elimination of items mimicking popular candies and cookies that might appear attractive to children.

The testimony relating to edible marijuana causing sickness in children, and the report of edible marijuana possibly being involved in the April 14 homicide, coincides with a recent study purporting to show a link between casual marijuana use and brain changes. Published in Journal of Neuroscience, a report arising out of the study says brain alterations occur for young adults who use marijuana. The report's author has said that studies over the long term are needed to find out whether brain changes cause symptoms over time.

Conclusion

If you are a recreational marijuana user, and you have been arrested for drug possession, or for another crime arising out of drug possession, you should immediately contact on experienced criminal law attorney. Although marijuana use is legal when used in small quantities, using larger quantities, or engaging in harmful behavior as the result of such use, is still illegal and requires a vigorous and diligent attorney to be on your side, to protect your rights, and to provide you with the best possible defense.