I’m feeling a bit edgy today, perhaps because I haven’t smoked any weed. In ten years! And no, it wasn’t a habit before then. It was a very infrequent indulgence. I last purchased the stuff in 1986, a whopping quarter ounce that lasted about a year. The last quarter ounce I possessed was a gift I received about 12 years ago, and most of it was discarded a couple years later. Qualifications thus dispensed with:
- Colorado did not just legalize pot on the 1st.
- Decriminalization is NOT legalization.
- If you’re going to write on a subject, please research it first.
On point the first: Possession of up to one ounce of cannabis by one 21 years of age or older has been legal under Colorado law since December 10, 2012. What became legal on the first of January was retail sales.
On Point Two: Colorado decriminalized pot in 1975. Decriminalization made possession (by an adult) of up to two ounces of marijuana an infraction rather than a criminal offense. Some overzealous police officers still arrested people for possession alone, but it was an error to do so and probably motivated by desire to inconvenience (AKA hassle) the arrestee. The maximum penalty for a first offense was a fine of one hundred dollars and, naturally, confiscation of your weed. Smoking in public could have got you up to fifteen days on ice. Simple possession, though, was not a criminal act under state law so did not leave you with a criminal record. Unless the feds got you.
Point three speaks for itself. If you’re going to pretend to be a journalist, don’t write that Colorado legalized pot on January 1, 2014 or make the bonehead mistake of using the terms decriminalization and legalization interchangeably.