Colorado communities still adapting to Amendment 64
In 2012, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, which was a constitutional amendment that would allow for the recreational use of marijuana within the state. The measure was proposed as a way to change some of the ineffective policies that were being used to punish those individuals convicted of marijuana drug crimes.
The changes allowed adults aged 21 and older to be able to legally use the drug, and also grow limited quantities of marijuana in their personal residences. These individuals would not be charged with drug crimes as long as they complied with the new laws concerning the drug. However, the state did enact a law that allows motorists to be charged with DUI if they have 5 nanograms or more of THC present in their bloodstream.
The changes have led to some concerns from residents about how law enforcement agencies will now handle these types of crimes. Federal law still considers marijuana a controlled substance, but the Justice Department has said it will not aggressively pursue individuals who are in possession of minor amounts of the drug.
The real challenges may come as communities decide how they will permit the legal use of marijuana in public places. Some have already created ordinances that allow for private use only, and those who use marijuana in public could find themselves potentially facing minor citations for these violations.
Amendment 64 also gives cities the ability to decide if they will permit licensed marijuana retail establishments to operate. While several large cities, such as Denver and Boulder, have approved the sale of the drug from these shops, Colorado Springs has decided to ban stores that would sell marijuana within the city.
It may be some time before the state is able to learn the impact of Amendment 64. Officials will need to examine the revenue that is being brought in by the changes, and also determine if the changes have led to less individuals being charged with marijuana-related drug crimes.
If you have been charged with a drug offense, be sure that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will be able to describe the charges against you, and also help you understand any plea bargains that the prosecution may be offering. In many cases, these may seem like great deals, but there could be long-term effects that could lead to problems after the case has been concluded.
A conviction of one of these crimes is a very serious matter, and could potentially result in jail time, fines and other significant penalties, depending upon the allegations. You may also experience problems finding employment or obtaining student loans if you have one of these types of offenses on your record.