source : Denver Westword
Although Amendment 64 passed last week, Governor John Hickenlooper has told us not to bring out the Cheetos and Goldfish
just yet. But apparently people need a firmer reminder that there are
more hurdles to be surmounted -- and we're not just talking about the
feds -- before pot shops can open in Colorado.
Several dispensary owners have told us non-patients are showing up at
their doors asking to buy pot. One told us he hated turning away all
those smiling faces, but at least the potential customers seemed to
understand once he explained the process.
I saw the confusion firsthand last week when visiting a dispensary for
an upcoming review. While I was waiting in line, two people walked in
off the street; with one asking if he could now buy cannabis and the
other acting offended when the receptionist asked for his medical
marijuana card. Other patients have told us they've spotted signs
saying, essentially, "We can't sell you marijuana" on the front door of
their regular dispensaries.
Nor will centers be able to sell you marijuana for at least a year -- not unless you have a medical marijuana card.
For starters, Amendment 64 isn't yet part of the Colorado
constitution -- not officially. After the election results are certified
on December 6, Hickenlooper has thirty days to sign it -- a move he has
indicated he will make within that time frame. Once Amendment 64 is
signed into law, people 21 years of age and older will be able to
possess up to an ounce of marijuana in this state, and Coloradans will
be allowed to grow as many as six plants here. The law will also allow
patients to keep their entire harvest, even if it's over an ounce.
But pot shops will still be many months away.
According to the language in Amendment 64, the Colorado Legislature must
draft rules and regulations for the state's new recreational marijuana
industry. It has until early May to do so, and then the licensing
process will begin in October, with January 2014 the absolute earliest
that any store can open -- assuming any want to be the first to
challenge federal laws regarding marijuana sales and distribution.
Hickenlooper reached out to U.S. Attorney Eric Holder last Friday
for some clarification, but the governor's office is keeping mum about
the contents of the conversation. Presumably, then, the Controlled
Substances Act as the law that will continue to guide federal officials
actions, at least for now.
And though they would clearly love your business, dispensaries aren't
willing to risk their current licenses by helping anyone other than
registered medical marijuana patients. According to Elliott Klug, owner
of the Pink House chain of dispensaries, the day after the election,
dozens of people showed up at their doors, eager to buy pot. The
excitement is understandable, he says, but "the law is the law."