A perplexing situation with marijuana

Bill Christopher, Crosscurrents
Posted

Leave it to Coloradans — we like to make things challenging.

The whole marijuana thing is absurd to me in the first place, but I must admit based on the outcome of the constitutional amendment votes (medical marijuana and recreational use of marijuana), I am in the minority.

There is a perplexing situation that the two amendments have caused. You have heard and read about it, but it remains unresolved.

The federal law and now Colorado’s Constitution are in conflict over aspects of the medical marijuana law and recreational use.

New state laws will need to spell out the details on growing, selling and using up to one ounce of marijuana for “recreational use.”

Difficult situation

So, you may think that such a legal conflict is no big deal.

Well, it puts law enforcement personnel in a difficult position.

And it presents some challenges to local policy makers in deciding what to do while this pending conflict exists. While some of our Colorado Congressional Delegation (Rep. Diana DeGette in particular) has expressed a desire to move quickly on federal legislation to take away the conflict, it remains to be seen just how popular this idea might be among the rest of Congress.

So far, such a law would only apply to Colorado and Washington.

‘Opting out’ is encouraged

Some Colorado counties and cities are marching ahead to ban recreational marijuana.

Douglas County officials have already approved such a ban Weld County is right behind them while Englewood has imposed a moratorium.

While I can appreciate the legal perplexities of banning recreational marijuana at this time, I would hope Westminster and other Adams County cities would move as quickly as possible to ban all aspects of recreational marijuana.

The constitutional amendment provides for this “opting out” and I sure hope our local elected officials decide to enact such a ban. In the meantime, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder would do Colorado a big favor if he would respond to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s request on the federal government’s position on the conflicts in the laws.

Stay tuned on this one.

It may get as hazy as the marijuana smoke.

Issues abound

With the new year, comes the next session of our Legislature.

Lots of issues for the Democratic-controlled Legislature and governor’s office.

While the state government is enjoying increased revenues, we still have a long way to go to return to fuller coffers.

Even if the federal Fiscal Cliff is resolved and does not impact the state, there is plenty for the state Legislature to consider.

Funding both K-12 public schools and higher education remain on the list as does state highway maintenance and new construction.

Gun control measures cannot be ignored, but will cause a lot of emotion.

Illegal immigration warrants attention since Congress is deadlocked. It looks to be a lively legislative session!

Bill Christopher is former city manager of Westminster and used to represent District J on the RTD board of directors.

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