Marijuana legislation in Colorado, Washington and Massachusetts

Presidential and state representatives weren’t the only things on the ballot this month. In Colorado, Washington, Massachusetts, Oregon and Arkansas the issue of ‘marijuana legalization’ was also opened up to state voters.

Colorado and Washington passed measures to legalize marijuana use by adults. A similar measure was rejected in Oregon. Massachusetts became to 18th state to enact legislation for the “medical” use of marijuana, while Arkansas voters rejected such a proposal.

As a result of a 53 to 47 percent vote, Colorado became the first state to end marijuana prohibition. Since federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal drug remain unchanged, the impact and implications of the Colorado vote are yet to be determined. Regarding the impact this law has on employers, Section 16(6)(a) states that, “Nothing in this section is intended to require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or growing or marijuana in the workplace or to affect the ability of employers to have policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees.”

Washington voters passed regulations to tax the sale of small amounts of marijuana to adults 21 years old or older from licensed retailers. The new state regulation also makes it legal to possess small amounts of marijuana and certain quantities of ‘marijuana products.’

Because of the conflicts between the Controlled Substance Abuse Act and the new state regulations, we expect more developments over the coming weeks. As updates come available, we will continue to pass along this important industry information.

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