December 10: Historic Day as Colorado Marijuana Legalization Law Takes Effect

Press Release December 9, 2012
Media Contact

Contact:&nbsp; Ethan Nadelmann 646-335-2240 or Art Way 720-288-6924</p>

As of today, people 21 and over will be able to legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana in Colorado and grow up to six plants in an enclosed space. On election day last month, 55 percent of voters in both Washington State and Colorado voted to make marijuana legal, making those states the first two to approve legally regulating marijuana like alcohol. The Colorado Department of Revenue has until July 2013 to create rules for the regulated market.  The state is estimated to save $12 million a year due to the decriminalization of marijuana alone.

Although Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was in opposition to the initiative and made some disparaging remarks upon its passage, proponents are pleased with his subsequent efforts and public comments to bring the will of the people to life in Colorado.

“Washington State and Colorado made history on Election Day by becoming not just the first two states in the country – but the first political jurisdictions anywhere in the world – to approve the legal regulation of marijuana,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.  “The only way federal marijuana prohibition is going to end is by voters and legislators in other states doing just what folks in those two states just did.”

There were more than 210,000 arrests for marijuana possession in Colorado over the past 25 years. More than half of these arrests took place from 2000-2010, with nearly 70 percent of those arrested under the age of 24.  A single arrest for possession creates a permanent criminal record that can severely limit an individual’s ability to obtain housing, schooling, employment, and credit.  As of today, this waste of taxpayer dollars – and human potential – comes to an end.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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