For years, there has been debate about the legalization of marijuana. For many, it was hard to envision a state legalizing marijuana for any purpose other than medical use.
Recently, however, Colorado legalized the limited use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Nonetheless, there are restrictions on the amount that can be purchased and consumed at any one time and on activities one can pursue while under the influence of marijuana, such as driving.
Colorado’s new recreational marijuana law
The passage of Amendment 64 in Colorado permits adults age 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use. Adults of drinking age can also buy up to an ounce of marijuana from sanctioned dispensaries and cultivate up to six marijuana plants in their residences. There are also plans to establish stores to purchase the substance as well as regulation and taxation measures that will be implemented over the next few years.
It is important to remember, however, that selling marijuana without a license or purchasing it from a non-licensed vendor is not legal, and the public use of marijuana also remains prohibited.
There have been concerns about current laws that may conflict with the legalization of recreational marijuana use. Though marijuana may be legal in Colorado, it is still illegal according to federal law. State officials are waiting for federal officials to respond on the issue of growing and distributing marijuana for recreational use and are trying to figure out how to implement the new state law locally. The district attorneys in Denver and Boulder have dismissed simple possession cases, but will still consider each charge on a case-by-case basis.
Personal injury cases involving driver intoxication/impairment
Marijuana may be legal, but driving under the influence is still a violation of the law. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main ingredient in marijuana. THC affects thinking, memory, and motor skills such as coordination and sensory perception; such effects are a great danger behind the wheel of a car.
Colorado penalizes those driving under the influence of marijuana the same way it does drunk drivers. A conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana can result in jail time and an increase in insurance rates. Insurance companies do not care which substances were involved in an accident, they only care that there is a conviction on the person’s driving record.
It is important for potential plaintiffs to be aware of their legal options if they are involved in an auto accident as a result of someone else driving under the influence of marijuana or alcohol. It is wise to consult an experienced Denver car injury attorney who can guide you through the process of pursing a claim against a negligent driver.