Hickenlooper signs historic marijuana regulation bills

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May 30, 2013


By Alex Murray

DENVER, Colorado: Governor John Hickenlooper (D) signed several bills regulating and taxing recreational marijuana on Tuesday, making the state of Colorado the first in the country to do so through the legislative process. Voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing the use of the drug last November.

One of the bills signed sets a 15 percent excise tax with a 10 percent sales tax. Per state law, voters will decide whether to approve the taxes individually in November. Revenues from the sales tax would go toward the costs of regulation, as well as an educational program to prevent children from using the drug.[1]

A legal driving limit of 5 nanograms of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, was also signed, allowing defendants in DUI cases to contest their charges. While residents are permitted to purchase one ounce of marijuana from licensed retailers, which are due to begin operation next year, visitors cannot purchase more than one quarter of an ounce in a given transaction, though they may still carry as much as one ounce.[1][2][3]

Hickenlooper also signed a bill allowing the grant of permits to produce industrial hemp.[4]

The issue of regulation is still not entirely settled; in particular, the definition of illegal 'public consumption' has been cited as a matter for future bills.[2]

Voters in Washington state also chose to legalize marijuana last November; unlike Colorado, a state board is tasked with developing regulations, which are currently in the draft stage. The drug remains entirely illegal under federal law; Hickenlooper said he expects a response from the U.S. Department of Justice soon.[5][1]

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