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Colorado's pot law is now officially in effect. Gov. John Hickenlooper issued a declaration Monday formalizing the law, known as Amendment 64. Hickenlooper could have waited until January, but chose not to because "voters were loud and clear on Election Day," The Coloradan reports.
This means people 21 or older may now use, possess, distribute, and cultivate limited quantities of marijuana, according to Colorado's new law. However, those eligible to smoke weed must still do so in a private place -- not outdoors like the pot-smoking revelers who celebrated in public Monday night.
Those pot supporters should keep in mind that smoking marijuana in public can still get you arrested. And there are other caveats to keep in mind as well.
Adults may possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and can pass it from person to person, provided that it is not a commercial transaction, reports the Coloradoan. State lawmakers have still not clearly laid out how marijuana can be legally sold, or the mechanisms for such sales. In addition, private individuals may also be able to cultivate up to six marijuana plants.
Even before the law went into effect on Monday, many jurisdictions had already stopped prosecuting drug-possession cases involving less than 1 ounce of marijuana, so there may not be much difference in how the law is enforced after the governor's signature. For example, the District Attorney's office covering Boulder County had already dismissed all pending pot-possession cases involving less than an ounce, as well as marijuana paraphernalia cases for defendants over the age of 21.
Still, marijuana users should remember that it remains illegal to drive while under the influence of any drug. So even if you can legally smoke, make sure you don't get behind the wheel.
Colorado'a marijuana laws are still in flux and the legislature is hammering out many details about how the law will be implemented. If you face criminal charges for a marijuana-related offense in Colorado, you may want to talk to an attorney to learn about your rights regarding this evolving area of law.