Amendment 64: What’s the Law?
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- By now you've probably heard about Amendment 64 and the controversy surrounding it.
It allows for the legalization and regulation of marijuana like alcohol.
Voters in the states of Colorado and Washington said "yes," but that doesn't necessarily mean things are different yet.
Mesa County officials say it may be some time before we see any changes.
"I’m under the impression that it won't be the law until around the New Year," said Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger.
The measure was perhaps the most controversial on the ballot.
Coloradans voted 54 percent in favor of the amendment and 47 percent against it.
However, folks must still wait until the Colorado secretary of state certifies the election results before it becomes state law.
“But once that happens then it is no longer a crime under Colorado state law to be in possession of small amounts of marijuana,” said Hautzinger.
In the long run, Mesa County officials say it will help make things simpler for Colorado prosecutors.
"We’ll have fewer cases to prosecute,” said Hautzinger. “All of the possession of marijuana cases that we currently prosecute we won’t have to anymore."
Once the new law does go into effect, it's in effect from that day forward only.
That means those who have been previously incarcerated or charged because of the drug will still face penalties
"Those who are arrested today for being in possession of marijuana, we are going to prosecute them until the law is certified and we are directed by the constitution not to do so," said Hautzinger.
Officials warn residents that this drug is still illegal on the federal level.
Once the amendment is certified on the state level, you will still need to be at least 21 years of age and can only carry up to an ounce.