Colorado governor signs recreational marijuana regulations into law

Tue May 28, 2013 10:29pm EDT
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By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - Governor John Hickenlooper on Tuesday signed into law measures to regulate the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado, including blood-level limits for motorists and setting up a voter referendum to impose a tax on the non-medical sale of cannabis.

Colorado House of Representatives Assistant Majority Leader Dan Pabon said the legislation reflected the "will of the voters" who charged lawmakers with setting up the regulatory system after approving legalization in a vote last November.

One of the bills signed by Hickenlooper calls for a referendum in November on setting a 15 percent excise tax and an additional 10 percent sales tax on marijuana sales.

Other measures included in the legislative package are setting blood limits for driving while under the influence of marijuana at 5 nanograms per milliter, and limiting purchases of marijuana to non-Colorado residents at one-quarter of an ounce.

"The laws ... signed today put the health and safety of our kids front and center," said Pabon, a Democrat. "They drive a stake into the heart of a large black market while creating a regulated, legitimate industry."

House Republican leader Mark Waller, who sponsored the driving-under-the-influence legislation, said Colorado is in "new and foreign territory" in implementing its marijuana laws and it was vital to add a public safety component.

"Equipping law enforcement with the tools they need to ensure people make safe decisions behind the wheel is critical to maximizing public safety," he said.

Voters in Washington state also approved legalizing recreational marijuana use last November.   Continued...

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (C) speaks before he signs into law the civil unions act in Denver March 21, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking