Legal marijuana in Colorado approved

Colorado became one of two states Tuesday to be the first in the nation to legalize marijuana.

While the fallout of what that will mean is far from known, supporters of the measure say overall it will be a good thing, particularly when it comes to reducing drug-related crimes and increasing tax revenues.

Amendment 64 was one of three statewide questions on this year’s ballot that passed.

“Over the past eight years in Colorado, we have argued that it is irrational to punish adults for choosing to use a product that is far less harmful than alcohol,” said Mason Tvert, head of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “Today, the voters agreed. Colorado will no longer have laws that steer people toward using alcohol, and adults will be free to use marijuana instead if that is what they prefer. And we will be better off as a society because of it.”

A similar measure also passed in the state of Washington on Tuesday.

The Colorado amendment, which passed with 53 percent of the vote, calls on the Legislature to enact rules to regulate weed much as alcohol is controlled.

That includes allowing for liquor store-like outlets to be opened where marijuana would be sold, but giving local governments the authority to decide where.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, who came out against the measure, said there’s still much to be worked out before those stores can open.

“The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. “This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly.”

Voters also supported Amendment S, which reforms personnel rules for state workers.

That measure, which passed with 56 percent of the vote, gives the state more flexibility in how it deals with state workers under the rules, which operate much like union rules.

Hickenlooper said the changes will help the state operate more efficiently in its hiring.

The measure allows the state to consider more candidates for certain positions, and gives veterans more preference points in getting those jobs.

“We owe a big thank you to Colorado,” the governor said. “We are grateful voters saw the benefits in overhauling the state’s outdated personnel system. The changes approved (Tuesday) will improve delivery of services and give our veterans more opportunities to compete for state jobs.”

Voters also approved Amendment 65, which doesn’t actually change or create new law.

The measure, which passed with an overwhelming 73 percent of the vote, calls on the state’s congressional delegation to push for federal law to reverse a controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows corporations and labor unions to spend unlimited amounts of money in political campaigns.


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