Picture of Marijuana Plant

COLORADO AMENDMENT 64

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History repeats itself. The Twenty-first Amendment (Amendment XXI) to the United States Constitution repealed the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which had mandated nationwide Prohibition on alcohol on January 17, 1920.

But in 1918, Colorado amended its constitution to allow the production and consumption of alcohol. A large majority of Coloradoans, after passing Prohibition laws three years before the Eighteenth Amendment was passed, came to believe that Prohibition made criminals of ordinary citizens, threatened health, lowered morality, endangered young people. So, voters suspended the state’s prohibition laws in 1919 and then, by a vote of two-to-one, they ratified the 21st Amendment to repeal National Prohibition.  

Marijuana in accordance with Federal Law is illegal to possess and use.

Judge Pratt, Arapahoe County District Court (a great Judge) concluded Colorado’s entire medical-marijuana law is invalid because it is trumped by federal law.  Pratt wrote:

”(A)ny state authorization to engage in the manufacture, distribution or possession of marijuana creates an obstacle to full execution of federal law, therefore, Colorado’s marijuana laws are preempted by federal marijuana law.”

To just add to the complexity, Gonzales v. Raich (previously Ashcroft v. Raich), 545 U.S. 1 (2005) held Congress may criminalize the cultivation and use of cannabis even if the state approves its use for medical purposes.

We will see if congress makes any change of its dope statutes. Given it seems all the politicals involved during some time of their life did pot, I expect the issue to get solved in congress and for now the U.S. attorney will not rock the boat.

Portrait style photo of Robert L Pitler

Robert L. Pitler

Senior Attorney

Call Me 303-758-2221

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