"an electoral first not only for America but for the world"
- The Economist, 10 November 2012
On November 6, 2012, Colorado's Amendment 64 passed and approved the legalization and recreational use of cannabis in their state. Regulatory framework for the retail of marijuana will be adopted July 1, 2013 as stated by the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR). And by January 1, 2014 retail licenses will be distributed publically. Cannabis products will be distribution ready by January 1st of next year.
Proposals from Amendment 64 include:
--- Regulate the growth, manufacture, and sale of marijuana in a system of licensed establishments overseen by state and local governments.
--- Allow individuals who are 21 years old or older to possess, use, display, purchase, transport, and transfer -- to individuals who are 21 years old or older -- one ounce or less of marijuana.
--- Allow individuals who are 21 years old or older to possess, grow, process, and transport up to six marijuana plants, with certain restrictions.
--- Require the state legislature to enact an excise tax on marijuana sales, of which the first $40 million in revenue raised annually must be credited to a state fund used for constructing public schools. The excise tax must be approved by a separate statewide vote.
--- Require the state legislature to enact legislation concerning the growth, processing, and sale of industrial hemp.
According to Amendment 64, the DOR will announce the licensing and security requirements for marijuana establishments, the prevention of marijuana sales to underage individuals, labeling requirements for marijuana products, health and safety standards for marijuana manufacturing, advertising restrictions, and civil penalties for violations.
If the DOR does not state regulations by July 1, 2013, marijuana establishments may apply through their local government for an annual license. Applications may only be submitted to local governments after October 1, 2013, the deadline for local governments to identify which local agency will process marijuana license applications. In the event the DOR adopts regulations but has not issued any license by January 1, 2014, applicants may also apply for a locally issued license.
Amendment 64 requires the legislature to enact the state excise tax; however, the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR) requires a separate statewide vote to approve the tax and any future tax increases. Under the measure, the excise tax is limited to 15 percent until January 1, 2017.
Each year, the first $40 million in revenue raised by the excise tax will be credited to a state fund used for constructing public schools. This does not apply to medical marijuana.
The measure will enact industrial hemp growth, processing, and sale regulation by July 1, 2014. Industrial hemp is defined as the same plant as marijuana, but with a THC concentration of no more than three-tenths percent, THC being the psychoactive component of marijuana. Federal law currently prohibits the growth of industrial hemp, although it is legal to sell imported hemp and hemp products in the United States. Hemp seeds are sold as food, and hemp fibers are used to manufacture rope, clothing, and building materials.