Our resident critic answers your burning questions about pot
Dear Stoner: The governor signed Amendment 64 into law, but do you think the federal government is going to really allow this to happen?
Dear 'cynic: Attorneys have pointed out that there's not much the feds can do about the decriminalization aspect of it at the state level: If Colorado doesn't want to spend our money on prosecuting people for small amounts of pot, so be it. The personal-possession stuff? Same deal. A lot of people also seem to think that the federal government wouldn't waste its time busting and prosecuting private growers following state law. I tend to agree with that, though I don't think the Drug Enforcement Administration would forgo making a raid if it stumbles on a grow. Even with the small amounts allowed here, it's still a five-year stint in the pen and a $250,000 fine at the federal level.
Now, will the feds allow the recreational pot shops? Probably not. At least not right away. The feds could do something like pull all our highway funding if the state licenses even one of those shops, all in the name of keeping our nation safe from the menace of all you red-eyed drivers distracted by the smoldering bowl of Kurple Fantasy in your lap. That's pretty much what they did when they limited consumption of booze to people 21 and up back in the day.
Of course, people also said the feds would never allow medical marijuana dispensaries twenty years ago, and look where we are today. Maybe, just maybe, things are starting to change, and for once the powers-that-be will listen to the voters.
But I wouldn't hold my hit in too long waiting on that.
Dear Stoner: My wife and I are both over 21 and want to grow. Can we have up to twelve plants in our basement since the amendment allows six per person?
Really Green Thumb
Dear Thumb: The amendment language was left vague enough that having six plants for every adult in a household could be legal. But even if state lawmakers decide that's okay when they create the enabling legislation, that doesn't mean your local municipality will. For example, with fears of skunky odors making neighborhoods unlivable and mold from dirty indoor grows consuming entire blocks, Denver City Council limited medical marijuana growers to just twelve plants — 24 fewer than medical caregivers are allowed to have under state law.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.