News / USA

Colorado's Marijuana Regulations Strive to Balance Freedom, Responsibility

Colorado's Marijuana Regulations Strive to Balance Freedom, Responsibilityi
X
February 21, 2014 7:42 PM
Amendment 64 creates for first time an overarching regulatory structure on the industry
Brian Padden
When the U.S. state of Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational purposes this year, it also imposed tighter restrictions and regulations on the drug, compared to those it has on tobacco and alcohol. 

Amendment 64, the Colorado law that legalized the sale and possession of marijuana for personal use, is groundbreaking.

It creates for the first time an overarching regulatory structure on the industry and imposes strict limits on usage.

The regulations are based on three guiding principles, says Barbara Brohl, executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue.

“We want to keep it out of the hands of kids.  We want to keep it out of the hands of criminals and we want to keep it out of the hands of people who are not supposed to have it, so people from other states.  So we don't want it leaving our state," said Brohl.

Colorado requires growers to register and tag with electronic chips all plants to ensure that marijuana is legally produced.  And all products must be tested for drug potency and for harmful mold or pesticides.

Retail marijuana stores must check IDs to ensure customers are over 21-years-old.  There is no smoking of the drug allowed where it is sold or in any public areas.  So visitors won't find any pot bars or cannabis clubs open to the public.

Lieutenant Matt Murray with the Denver Police Department says officers still arrest people for driving while intoxicated but it is not as simple as it was in the past.  

“Before if you smelled marijuana when you stopped a car, that was reasonable suspicion to develop probable cause to make a search.  Well not anymore.  So it actually makes our jobs somewhat more complicated," said Murray.

The law defines marijuana intoxication as five or more nanograms of THC - the active ingredient in marijuana - in a person’s blood stream.  But marijuana advocates point out that unlike alcohol, THC can stay in the blood for weeks.

Denver airport officials say no added security is needed to screen for passengers who may be trying to carry marijuana out of Colorado.  But police are reporting a rise in marijuana leaving the state by land.

“States around us are dealing with huge amounts of marijuana crossing the border because marijuana in Colorado that might cost $1,500 is worth $5,000 or $7,000 in New York City," said Murray.

Murray says while regulation and interdiction efforts cannot stop all illegal activities, so far there has not been any significant rise or drop in crime since marijuana became legal.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs