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Colorado governor signs bills regulating recreational marijuana

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper [official website] on Tuesday signed a new set of laws regulating the use and sale of recreational marijuana. One law expands [HB13-1317, PDF] the medical marijuana enforcement division [official website] to encompass retail marijuana. The law also prohibits retail marijuana stores from selling more than one-fourth of an ounce of marijuana to nonresidents. Another law, subject to voter approval in the November statewide election, imposes a 15 percent sales tax [HB13-1318] on retail marijuana or retail marijuana products and distributes 10 percent of the total tax revenue among the state's local governments containing at least one retail marijuana store. A third law [HB13-1325, PDF] provides that drivers who are found to have five nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol [BMC Medicine article] per milliliter in whole blood may be charged for DUI.

The sale and use of marijuana remains a controversial issue in the US and abroad. Earlier this month the Supreme Court of California ruled [JURIST report] unanimously that local governments may outlaw medical marijuana dispensaries, upholding a ban enacted by the city of Riverside in 2010. In February the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the private sale of medical marijuana is illegal [JURIST report]. Additionally, the top court in Ontario upheld Canada's general ban on marijuana [JURIST report]. In December an Arizona judge ruled that the state's medical marijuana law is constitutional [JURIST report] and instructed the state to permit dispensaries to open. In November lawmakers in Uruguay proposed legislation for state-regulated marijuana [JURIST report]. Also that month Washington and Colorado legalized the drug [JURIST report] via state ballot initiatives. Similarly, medical marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts [Harvard Crimson report] for the first time, as over 60 percent of voters approved a similar referendum.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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