Amendment 64

What's legal

Possessing up to 1 ounce of marijuana or six plants, if you are 21 or older

What's illegal

Possessing larger amounts of marijuana

Buying and selling larger amounts of marijuana

Bringing marijuana into federal buildings or onto federal property, including national parks and forests

Gray areas

Smoking in public is not permitted by Amendment 64, but it's not clear how that will be enforced unless the state Legislature addresses it.

Retail sales will be allowed after the state creates a licensing framework. There is not a legal way to buy and sell marijuana until the state issues licenses.

Boulder officials are in a "wait-and-see" mode after Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a proclamation Monday that officially placed Amendment 64 into the Colorado constitution and legalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett and Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner had already announced their intentions not to pursue low-level marijuana offenders even ahead of the amendment taking effect.

What they want now is more clarity around the law and the statutory tools to target impaired drivers, people who smoke marijuana in public and people who sell to juveniles.


For their part, city officials are looking to the state Legislature to develop a regulatory framework so they can determine whether they should allow stores that sell recreational marijuana to operate in Boulder and what zoning and licensing rules they should adopt.

"The major effect of Amendment 64 is to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana," Garnett said. "We have stopped prosecuting those cases, and they have been my lowest priority the whole time. What will be interesting going forward is what needs to be done to give state and local authorities the regulatory control that they need to manage the emergence of recreational marijuana stores."

Hickenlooper, a Democrat, also announced the creation of a task force to attempt to work out the many legal and logistical details that must accompany the amendment, which makes the use, possession and limited home-growing of marijuana legal for anyone 21 and older.

"Voters were loud and clear on Election Day," Hickenlooper said in a statement. "We will begin working immediately with the General Assembly and state agencies to implement Amendment 64."

The 24-member task force, composed of lawmakers, cabinet officials, civic leaders and officials with groups representing employers, the legal community and marijuana advocates, will be co-chaired by Jack Finlaw, the governor's chief legal counsel, and Barbara Brohl, executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue.

Garnett said there are three areas in particular where he wants clarity. He does not believe Amendment 64 was intended to legalize public consumption of marijuana, but it isn't clear what statutes now would be used to prosecute smoking in public.

Beckner said he would not put any resources into ticketing or arresting people for smoking in public, at least for the time being.

"What we need is clarity," he said. "What does the law exactly prohibit and allow? Nobody seems to have clear answers on that. Hopefully the task force can offer that."

Garnett also wants to see clear standards on what constitutes driving while under the influence of marijuana and strong statutes against distributing marijuana to juveniles.

Amendment 64 allows people 21 and older to have up to 1 ounce of marijuana or six plants, but the drug remains illegal for people younger than 21, unless they hold a medical marijuana card.

U.S. Attorney John Walsh issued a news release in which he stressed that marijuana remains illegal under federal law and people should not try to bring marijuana onto federal property, including national parks and forests.

"The Department of Justice is reviewing the legalization initiatives recently passed in Colorado and Washington state," Walsh said in the release. "The department's responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged. Neither States nor the Executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress. In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance."

Garnett said the federal government should respect the will of Colorado voters and the ability of local governments to enact appropriate regulations.

The Boulder City Council recently enacted a ban on smoking on the Pearl Street Mall, and city officials say it will apply equally to marijuana and tobacco.

City Attorney Tom Carr had asked the City Council to consider a two-year ban on recreational marijuana stores while the state works out what the regulatory framework will look like. The council members said last week such a ban was premature, and they plan to hold public hearings on the issue early next year.

The Denver Post contributed to this report.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Erica Meltzer at 303-473-1355 or