As many Boulder residents are aware, the state of Colorado took a major step — along with the state of Washington — during the last election to legalize marijuana. Now, the law is not a universal allowance to carry the drug. The individual still has to be at least 21 years of age, and they cannot possess more than one ounce of marijuana. In addition, the law does not protect anyone from federal prosecution; marijuana possession is still illegal per federal law.
However, if you fit these restrictions in Colorado, you are safe from prosecution by the state. But that federal specter still looms.
In a recent statement though, the federal government took a symbolic step away from the marijuana legalization debate. The Justice Department, citing “limited prosecutorial resources,” said it will not pursue legal action to try and reverse state laws that legalize marijuana (either in small amounts or for medicinal use). It is a major decision that could dictate how the federal government feels about this topic when it rears its head again.
This is a good time to remind residents in Boulder and Colorado that the marijuana law is clearly very restricted. Possessing vast quantities of marijuana or marijuana plants could potentially get you into a lot of trouble. The consequences of drug charges often outweigh the crime itself, in that there are usually extensive periods of incarceration involved. Contact a lawyer if you have been accused of drug crimes to ensure your rights are being protected.
Source: New York Times, “U.S. Won’t Sue to Reverse States’ Legalization of Marijuana,” Ashley Southall and Jack Healy, Aug. 29, 2013