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There are more details to Colorado marijuana law than 'it's legal'

The recent election is sure to be remembered for many reasons. Among those reasons is the fact that Colorado was one of two states to legalize marijuana for recreational use. In Colorado, the law was defined by Amendment 64 which makes it legal to possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use once the law takes effect on Jan. 6, 2013. No matter how much he has, a juvenile with any marijuana will still be committing a drug crime.

The confusion, in part, lies in how exactly Coloradoans are supposed to get the drug, since the distribution will still be illegal. Another point of confusion is that this use will be legal on a state level but still illegal on a federal level. Still another is that many may not realize that public use is prohibited and that the law changes won't be on the books until January.

While Colorado voters saw the amendment on their ballot, there will likely be many who don't know what is and is not permitted. There is also an age limit of 21 for private use, so underage consumption will also be an issue. Marijuana issues could become more common in juvenile courts.

As is the case with any big change, a lot of kinks need to be worked out, and there will likely be arrests made because people simply didn't understand their rights under the law.

In addition to the "smoke or not to smoke" debate, there will likely be a heightened concern involving those who drive under the influence, since limits are harder to enforce than they are with alcohol consumption. No matter which side of the law one stands on, it may be helpful to get legal advice when it comes to handling the details. Not knowing the law is not an excuse that will excuse someone from a drug charge.

Source: Coloradoan.com, "Colorado marijuana legalization initiative Amendment 64 certified," Patrick Malone, December 6, 2012

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