Dec 10, 2012 11:45 PM by Zach Thaxton
Governor John Hickenlooper signed Amendment 64 into law Monday, officially legalizing use, possession, and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana in the state. But pot's legalization in Colorado does not mean anyone can light up wherever they want and get away with it, and municipal leaders across the state say there are still more questions than answers.
"I think all the cities and counties -- our city included -- have a number of questions we have to answer with regard to public safety, with regard to enforcement, with regard to employee policies and practices," said Colorado Springs City Attorney Chris Melcher.
Melcher and other municipal attorneys and officials will rely heavily on Hickenlooper's newly-appointed Amendment 64 Task Force, a group of 24 leaders charged with answering all the lingering questions about implementation of the new law's technicalities. "Their role is to bring expertise to the table," said Mark Couch, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Revenue, "to help design the implimentation legislation that the legislature will take up."
Legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado could have a dramatic impact on the state's thriving medical marijuana industry. Under Amendment 64, medical marijuana dispensaries will still only be allowed to sell marijuana for medicinal purposes, however MMJ shops can apply to be come retail sellers of marijuana once licensing for retailers begins, likely late next year at the earliest. "It's been pretty torn across the industry," said Tanya Garduno, president of the Colorado Springs Medical Cannibus Council. "A lot of folks wanted to stay focused on the medical, some wanted to go to the recreational. Those that are wanting to go to the recreational, I think, are really going to try to convince folks that it's a responsible way to do things, so we'll support any responsible regulation that we can."