In July, two groups ran campaigns pushing for the legalization of marijuana and, at press time, were working on proposals for legislation that would make it legal to use, possess and grow marijuana in Colorado. According to The Colorado Independent, the groups have different ideas of what constitutes legalizing marijuana.
One group ran a campaign pushing for the legalization of the use of marijuana by persons over 21. A person could buy and possess one ounce of marijuana without risk of facing drug charges. In addition, a person could grow no more than six marijuana plants and keep all the marijuana produced without prosecution. Groups like SAFER Colorado, the Marijuana Policy Project, the Drug Policy Alliance, and Sensible Colorado supported and/or sponsored the group’s efforts. Under the initiative proposed by the group, the state of Colorado would regulate marijuana as it does alcohol, and the state would be able to collect sales and excise taxes. Persons using medical marijuana would be exempt from the taxes, and individuals who dispense medical marijuana could apply for retail center licenses.
The number of marijuana cases Colorado criminal defense attorneys handle could significantly decrease if Legalize2012, the other pro-marijuana group mentioned in the news story, has its way. According to the Colorado Independent article, Legalize2012 criticizes groups that push for the regulation of marijuana and not actually legalizing its use. At press time, the group was petitioning for abolishing all marijuana crimes from Colorado’s law books.
Until then, it will remain illegal to use and possess an ounce or more of marijuana in Colorado, and that includes growing pot plants. Offenders can look forward to a $500 fine and a six- to eight-month jail term. The more marijuana you’re caught with, the more you pay in fines and the longer you stay in jail. Sell and distribute marijuana, and you’re going to need a really good Colorado criminal defense attorney.