A new Colorado state law went into effect January 1, permitting anyone 21 years of age or older to buy and consume small amounts of marijuana, despite the fact that it remains a Schedule I controlled substance at the federal level.
Therefore, weed is now legal (in some states)…awesome. Nope. There are still a lot of things to iron out before there is seamlessness between industry and freedom to toke on the ganja. So, before you get involved, check out these 5 reasons legal pot is not as cool as it seems.
#5. Weed Money Is Still Drug Money
Because banks are federally regulated and marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, there is a huge schism happening in Colorado: on one hand you have a completely legal industry (dispensaries) breaking federal laws by lying to banks about the nature of their business and their large cash deposits. Then, think about this: these same business owners are being left vulnerable to possible violent crime because they’re handling brick-loads of cash on the down-low.
#4. You Can Still Be Fired for Smoking in the Privacy of Your Home
The very same Colorado law that says it’s legal to buy and consume limited amounts of marijuana also states that businesses can still prohibit marijuana use among its employees; courts have ruled that employees can be terminated for smoking pot on the job and even in their private, personal time.
If a company has a drug policy in place, and an employee fails a drug test, the employer can take whatever action they see fit. Furthermore, employees can even be fired for using medical marijuana with a doctor’s prescription.
#3. You Still Can’t Smoke in Public
The new recreational marijuana laws apply only to the realm of private property. In Colorado, there exists a statewide smoking ban in restaurants and bars. And, it’s pretty safe to say that hoteliers are unwilling to allow pot smoking in their rooms –as of yet. This means that tourists have pretty much nowhere to casually smoke.
#2. You Can’t Leave the State with It
If you are not a resident of the state of Colorado, the good news is that you can travel there in order to purchase pot for recreational purposes. However, you cannot leave the state with it in your possession. Nor can you mail it home. In fact, that would be a huge no-no as it is an automatic felony offense to do so. You’ve probably heard of drug trafficking. It’s not just for drug cartels and drug runners anymore.
#1. You Can Still Go to Jail for It
In Colorado, if you caught a marijuana drug charge prior to the new laws, you are still seen as a lawbreaker. Because, you did in fact break the law at the time of the incident. There are still a lot of pending cases for weed-related offenses and, although many of them have been dropped, not all will be. It depends on the county in which the offense took place; some counties in Colorado are choosing to pursue cases for pot-related transgressions.
Federally speaking, the Department of Justice technically could still go after pot users, even though President Obama has ordered them to stand down. And with this being Obama’s last term, the next leader of the free world could, under federal law, choose to make an example of the Rocky Mountain state.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.