Quiet welcome for marijuana in Colorado

2012-12-11 14:01

Denver - Colorado gave a lonely reception to marijuana when it became the second US state to legalise the drug. Just as state officials planned.

Governor John Hickenlooper on Monday quietly removed the final barrier to legalisation by declaring that an amendment passed by voters in November was officially part of the state constitution.

He announced the move on Twitter and e-mail after the fact. In response, a handful of marijuana activists celebrated by toking up on the Capitol steps, but there were no crowds and little fanfare.

It was a different scene in Washington state, which last week became the first state to legalise marijuana. There, activists counted down to legalisation outside Seattle landmarks such as the Space Needle. Colorado officials wanted no such revelry.

Hickenlooper, a Democrat who opposed the marijuana measure, said he purposely sought a low-key enactment.

Colorado law gave him until 5 January to declare marijuana legal. He told reporters he saw no reason to wait and didn't see any point in letting marijuana become legal without his proclamation.

Smells like freedom

"I could have made a bigger deal out of it, you know, tried to make a hoopla out of it," Hickenlooper told reporters after the marijuana declaration.

"But if we are concerned about young people thinking that this ... is really in some way a tacit endorsement, that's it's OK to smoke pot -we're trying to mitigate that as much as possible," he said.

About two dozen marijuana activists gathered outside Hickenlooper's office on the Capitol steps to pass around joints and bongs after the announcement. Public consumption in both states remains illegal, but no police officers were in sight of the small celebration in Denver.

"It smells like freedom," said a smiling, puffing Timothy Tipton, a longtime marijuana activist.

When Colorado's marijuana measure passed last month with 55% of the vote, Hickenlooper cautioned pot smokers not to get too excited because the drug remains illegal under federal law.

 Colorado and Washington state officials both reached out to federal authorities to see if they planned to sue to block the state pot measures. There's been no signal, with federal authorities simply repeating that the Controlled Substances Act remains intact.

Pot rules

Hickenlooper said there are still many questions to be answered about how federal authorities plan to respond to state marijuana legalisation. Colorado's measure specifically directs lawmakers to regulate commercial sales of marijuana, something federal authorities have repeatedly said they won't allow.

The governor said he's not frustrated by the slow federal response.

"They're going as fast as they can," Hickenlooper said. "There's no black and white, right and wrong answer here."

Colorado's constitution now allows adults over 21 to possess about 28g of marijuana, and six plants. Hickenlooper has set up a task force of lawmakers, law enforcement, marijuana activists and agriculture officials to suggest how the drug should be regulated.

The group has a February deadline for suggesting pot rules, which must be approved by the state Legislature.

  • JNaMolefe - 2012-12-11 14:18

    This is so stupid, get rid of this damn thing... You can't see what you have been through, its abusing your body... I can see some people has sometimes communication breakdown, confused, mind unstably like focus on TV while others are calling you that you won't look up...

      JManAtheoi - 2012-12-11 14:30


      thatTallCPTgay - 2012-12-11 14:34

      What? That comment makes no sense.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-12-11 15:11

      What were we talking about again...??

  • bradley.kecskes - 2012-12-11 14:25

    Ahhhh me so jealous!!

  • - 2012-12-11 14:30

    add another i in africa. left that one for you hahahahahahahah

  • - 2012-12-11 14:33

    And patiently I wait for your lies to materialise. nothing? Plus-minus 4 years? so you can smoke in the gutter like a dog. You are nothing but a hound dog smoking all the time.

      hondbyt - 2012-12-11 15:48

      Zion, your anti cannabis stance is completely ill-founded and proof that the prohibition propaganda of the old governments was successful, everything you have learned about cannabis in all your life is WRONG and none of the "facts" that you were taught back in the day about cannabis was ever based on any scientific data. Please get with the times, I am not saying that you need to start using marijuana but you can at least read up more on the facts and then in the future refrain from meddling in and commenting on affairs that don't concern you.

      dracolusus - 2012-12-11 16:59 There you go, actual FACT that legalising it works.

      Only.Nanatjie - 2012-12-11 17:12

      u think u are better than people who smoke weed. dont judge others. have u even tried it? dont sit on your high limp horse looking down on others, esp with ur dried up english, drier than bultong! nx, u make me sick!

  • thatTallCPTgay - 2012-12-11 14:38

    Slowly but surely, the world is coming around. I'm glad people are thinking critically and not just accepting everything government dictates to us. The regulation centre's in Colorado work. What a pleasure it would be to go there, instead of to a dealer who overcharges anyway.

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-12-11 14:47

    I must be stupid-but around the world there is a big hoo ha about smoking cigarettes yet this twit legalises maijuana?????

      greg.meyer.543 - 2012-12-11 14:52

      Yeah, because its called freedom of Choice..

      richard.hipkin - 2012-12-11 15:12

      Because tobacco is 100 times worse then marijuana... wakey wakey..

      thatTallCPTgay - 2012-12-11 15:14

      Shirley, do you understand the concept of freedom of choice? No one has the right to dictate to another person what he/she can or cannot put in their bodies. Plus, weed is not toxic. Has never killed anyone. Cigarettes and alcohol are legal and they kill hundreds of thousands of people.

      gerhard.bacharach - 2012-12-11 15:59

      Shirley, none but ourselves can free our minds. Watch:

  • sachasea - 2012-12-11 15:43

    I can't wait for the all the prohibitionists who think the world would end if dagga was legalised to eat their words when they see life goes on as normal and society actually improves as a result of legalisation, regulation, taxation and education of dagga. We must do the same here in South Africa before we miss all of the benefits associated with a legal and regulated dagga industry!

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