States Vote to Legalize Marijuana

States Vote to Legalize Marijuana

Colorado and Washington voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for persons over the age of 21. The change in Washington will start within a year, no later than Dec. 6. Photo Credit: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2012/11/12/legalized-marijuana-colorado-washington/1701271/

Rylan Andersson, Reporter

A recent vote in two states legalized the recreational use of marijuana. As of Nov. 6, amendment 64 was passed in Colorado, which legalized marijuana for persons over the age of 21. A similar measure, called initiative 502, was passed the same day in Washington.The vote to pass amendment 64 in Colorado was very close, 45 percent to 55 percent. This amendment allows adults over 21 years of age to possess and use marijuana; however, there are certain regulations. As well as the age limit, one can only be growing three immature and three mature cannabis plants at any given time. These plants must be in a private, locked room. One can also only carry one ounce of marijuana at a time.Consumption of marijuana is permitted in a similar way to alcohol, with equivalent laws in regards to driving.Amendment 64 also provides for licensing of cultivation facilities, retail stores, etc. that may be regulated by the local government. Amendment 64 requires the general assembly to enact a tax to be levied upon the wholesale of cannabis.

In Washington, the vote for Initiative 502 was just as close as the vote in Colorado. It will take effect over the course of a year, starting no later than Dec. 6. Initiative 502 distinguished marijuana from other parts of a cannabis plant, legalizing only small amounts of marijuana related products to adults.

Possession of large amounts of marijuana and the growing of cannabis is still illegal under state law. Legal possession, driving under the influence limits, and other key rules have not quite been decided on yet, but will be in place by Dec. 6, as well as licenses for retail sales to the public. These type of businesses and the use of marijuana is required to take place at least 1000 ft. from any public school. The public use of marijuana is also prohibited.