Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper begrudgingly signed six bills into law on Tuesday that will implement the regulation of recreational marijuana in the state, making Colorado the first state in the country to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for its citizens.
But these new measures are not all fun and games. While Hickenlooper was a very public opponent of legalizing marijuana, Colorado legislators placed heavy regulations on the sale and use of marijuana in the state, likely with the governor's possible objections in mind.
"The laws ... signed today put the health and safety of our kids front and center," said Colorado House of Representatives assistant majority leader Dan Pabon. "They drive a stake into the heart of a large black market while creating a regulated, legitimate industry."
The landmark legislation will allow anyone over the age of 21 to buy marijuana in special retail stores that are licensed to sell the drug. Only Colorado residents will be able to own or invest in the stores. The law will also place a 15 percent excise tax and a 10 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana sales. Marijuana products must also be properly labeled with serving size and information about THC potency.
Similar to alcohol regulations across the rest of the nation, there is also a blood limit set for driving, which is five nanograms per milliliter. Colorado adults can grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes for personal use, with only three flowering at a given time. And, unfortunately for those who were hoping to travel to Colorado and go wild, the law limits the sale of marijuana to non-Colorado residents to one-quarter of an ounce.
"Colorado is demonstrating to the rest of the nation that it is possible to adopt a marijuana policy that reflects the public's increasing support for making marijuana legal for adults," said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. "Marijuana prohibition is on its way out in Colorado, and it is only a matter of time before many more states follow its lead."
Hickenlooper said that Colorado is in violation of federal drug laws and that he believes the federal government will intervene in Colorado's legalization of marijuana soon. However, there is no word yet from the federal government on whether it will take issue with the new law.
The first specialty shops are set to open in Colorado in January 2014.