DENVER (CBS4) – Voters in Colorado made history on Election Day by passing Amendment 64, which allows possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults.
Amendment 64 allows those 21 and older to purchase up to one ounce of the drug at specially-regulated retail stores.
Adults could grow up to six marijuana plants on their property. Amendment 64 also sets up a direct challenge to federal drug law, which regulates marijuana as an illegal substance. Federal authorities have not said how they will respond.
Until the governor’s office certifies the election results, which could take a few weeks, the recreational use of marijuana remains illegal.
Gov. John Hickenlooper said he doesn’t believe big retail chains like 7-Eleven or grocery stores, will be able to sell marijuana because of the federal implications.
Ganja Gourmet sells medical marijuana grade food. They’ve been getting a lot of inquiries since Election Day.
“We open at 9 a.m. Since eight this morning it’s been ringing,” said Ganja Gourmet owner Steve Horwitz. “Every five minutes the phone rings.”
Horwitz said calls are coming in from all over the country.
“The existing medical marijuana centers on paying bills and having licenses and having first priority to get licenses for recreational,” said Horwitz. “Now all these people that no one knows don’t even smoke are going to come out of the closet. It’s going to be a very good thing.”
The Department of Revenue posted a timeline on their website with language from Amendment 64; July 2013 is their deadline to set up the regulations, July 2014 is the deadline for lawmakers to enact legislation.
“In terms of the state it’s decriminalized. We will not prosecute on a state law basis,” said Hickenlooper.
Hickenlooper said he’s now looking to the U.S. Attorney General for direction to see if the feds will allow states to unilaterally begin decriminalizing marijuana because federal law trumps state law.
“Should the federal government say, ‘We’re going to leave this up to you and stay out of it’ then our general assembly will create the details and propose a taxing initiative,” said Hickenlooper.