Colorado Calling: The Great Marijuana Experiment Has Begun

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On January  1, Colorado became a social and legal laboratory for marijuana. Just 15 months after voters took to the polls to voice their opinions, the state legalized the cultivation, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products. The experiment is a landmark for the anti-prohibition movement and a step toward ending America’s war on drugs.

Colorado state voters approved Amendment 64 on November 16, 2012, declaring “that the use of marijuana should be legal for persons twenty-one years of age or older and taxed in a manner similar to alcohol.” The amendment was proclaimed into the Colorado Constitution on December 10, 2012, and that same day, the state directed a special task force ”to identify the legal, policy, and procedural issues that must be resolved, and to offer suggestions and proposals for legislative, regulatory, and executive actions that need to be taken, for the effective and efficient implementation” of the amendment.

By March 2013, the task force had released its report and policy recommendations, and after after two months of consideration and revision by a select joint committee, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bills into law. The bills authorized the state Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division to regulate the retail sale of the drug.

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