The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

December 10, 2012

Pot legalized in Colorado with gov's proclamation

— DENVER (AP) — Using marijuana for recreational use is now effectively legal in Colorado.

Gov. John Hickenlooper declared a voter-approved marijuana legalization amendment as part of the state constitution on Monday. It was the last procedural step needed for the amendment to take effect.

The drug became legal in Washington state last week.

Hickenlooper, a Democrat, opposed the measure but had no veto power over the voter-approved amendment to the state constitution.

"Voters were loud and clear on Election Day," Hickenlooper in a statement.

Adults over 21 in Colorado may now possess up to an ounce of marijuana, or six plants. Commercial sale of the drug remains illegal until Colorado lawmakers set up a system of regulation and taxation next year. Public use of marijuana use is not allowed.

Colorado and Washington officials both have asked the U.S. Department of Justice for guidance on the laws that conflict with federal drug law. So far the federal government has offered little guidance beyond stating that marijuana remains illegal and that the controlled Substances Act will be enforced.

Hickenlooper announced a state task force Monday to help craft marijuana regulations. Task force members include law enforcement, agriculture officials and marijuana advocates.

Colorado and Washington officials both have asked the U.S. Department of Justice for guidance on the laws that conflict with federal drug law. Neither state will allow commercial sales for a year or more.

Colorado's marijuana measure, Amendment 64, was approved with 55 percent of the vote last month.

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