What to know about new marijuana laws in Washington and Colorado 

Twins in legalization

Colorado and Washington will forever be remembered together as the first two states to legalize, up to a certain point, possession of marijuana. And the two pieces of legislation — Amendment 64 and Initiative 502, respectively — are a lot alike as well, though there are a few differences.

Here's what you need to know, as culled from public data and each bill's wording. Certain provisions may change as each state creates new regulations.

How it got on the ballot:

Colorado: Citizen petition

Washington: Citizen petition

Voters on the issue:

Colorado: 2,500,033 (1,383,139 in support; 1,116,894 against, 55 to 45 percent)

Washington: 3,095,444 (1,724,209 in support; 1,371,235 against, 56 to 44 percent)

Voters for the major-party presidential candidates:

Colorado: 2,508,344 (1,323,101 for Barack Obama; 1,185,243 for Mitt Romney, 52 to 46 percent)

Washington: 2,901,499 (1,620,432 for Obama; 1,210,369 for Romney, 56 to 42 percent)

Effective date:

Colorado: Dec. 10, 2012

Washington: Dec. 6, 2012

What's allowed:

Colorado: Possessing, transferring and using up to 1 ounce of marijuana by a person older than 21, as well as personally growing up to six plants, with three flowering. No state-residency requirement thus far.

Washington: Possessing, transferring and using up to 1 ounce of marijuana; 16 ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form; or 72 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form by a person older than 21. Personal grows are not allowed; no state-residency requirement thus far.

Who's responsible for creating the coming rules:

Colorado: The Colorado General Assembly, which awaits recommendations created by a governor-appointed task force.

Washington: The state's Liquor Control Board.

The money:

Colorado: A64 tasks the Legislature with enacting an excise tax not to exceed 15 percent until Jan. 1, 2017 — and at a state-determined rate thereafter — wherein the first $40 million collected will go to the Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund.

Washington: I-502 creates a dedicated marijuana fund, administered by the state treasurer, made up of all proceeds from the 25-percent excise tax, fees, penalties and the like. Funds will go to the state's Department of Social and Health Services; the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington; the Liquor Control Board, for administrative needs; the Department of Health; educational media campaigns regarding the health and safety risks of marijuana; grants to Building Bridges, a state dropout prevention and intervention program; and community health care providers.

Important dates:

Colorado: The Legislature has until July 1 of this year to create regulations regarding marijuana, and until July 1, 2014 to enact legislation governing hemp. "Such regulations shall not prohibit the operation of marijuana establishments," the amendment reads, "either expressly or through regulations that make their operation unreasonably impracticable." Local municipalities that have not banned the practice have until Oct. 1 to designate a licensing authority and begin processing retail applications. If everything checks out, the outlet should receive its license in the succeeding 45 to 90 days.

Washington: The Liquor Control Board has until Dec. 1 of this year to create regulations regarding marijuana. The Department of Social and Health Services, and the Department of Health, also have until Dec. 1 to create rules regarding the distribution of related monies collected.

Changes to existing medical-marijuana laws:

Colorado: None.

Washington: None.



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