Governor John Hickenlooper quietly signed a proclamation Monday morning making Amendment 64 part of the state's constitution.
The amendment, approved by voters in November, allows for the recreational use and possession of marijuana by adults 21 and over in Colorado.
While possession is legal, licenses for marijuana distribution cannot even begin until October of 2013.
Public use of marijuana will not be permitted under Amendment 64, and municipalities will be allowed to opt out of licensing marijuana sales should they choose to do so. Already counties like Douglas County have announced that they intend to do so.
To help inform the upcoming legislative process, the governor Monday also signed an executive order to create a task force on the implementation of Amendment 64. The task force will consider and resolve a number of policy, legal and procedural issues.
The Task Force will be co-chaired by Jack Finlaw, the Governor's Chief Legal Counsel, and Barbara Brohl, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Revenue. There will be 24 total members:
- Rep. Dan Pabon, appointed by the incoming Speaker of the House;
- Sen. Cheri Jahn, appointed by the incoming President of the Senate;
- Rep.-elect Dan Nordberg, appointed by the incoming House Minority Leader;
- Sen.-elect Vicki Marble, appointed by the incoming Senate Minority Leader;
- David Blake, representing the Colorado Attorney General;
- Kevin Bommer, representing the Colorado Municipal League;
- Eric Bergman, representing Colorado Counties Inc.;
- Chris Urbina, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment;
- James Davis, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety;
- John Salazar, the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture;
- Ron Kammerzell, the Senior Director responsible for the Colorado Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division;
- Christian Sederberg, representing the campaign to pass Amendment 64;
- Meg Sanders, representing the medical marijuana dispensary and cultivation industry;
- Craig Small, representing marijuana consumers;
- Sam Kamin, a person with expertise in legal issues related to the legalization of marijuana;
- Dr. Christian Thurstone, a person with expertise in the treatment of marijuana addiction;
- Charles Garcia, representing the Colorado Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice;
- Larry Abrahamson, representing the Colorado District Attorney's Council;
- Brian Connors, representing the Colorado State Public Defender;
- Daniel Zook, an at-large member from outside of the Denver area;
- Tamra Ward, representing the interests of employers; and
- Mike Cerbo, representing the interests of employees.
The federal government, through the U.S. Justice Department, has stated repeatedly that marijuana possession and distribution remains illegal under federal law, but has yet to issue a firm directive to both Colorado and Washington state.
U.S. Attorney John Walsh sent out the following statement regarding the Governor signing Executive Order implementing Amendment 64:
"The Department of Justice is reviewing the legalization initiatives recently passed in Colorado and Washington state. The Department's responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged. Neither States nor the Executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress. In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance. Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on December 10th in Colorado, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Members of the public are also advised to remember that it remains against federal law to bring any amount of marijuana onto federal property, including all federal buildings, national parks and forests, military installations, and courthouses."