Drug Policy

Colorado Task Force Says Visitors Should Be Allowed to Buy Marijuana

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Jacob Sullum

This week the Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force decided to recommend that visitors as well as Colorado residents be allowed to buy marijuana at the state-licensed pot stores that are supposed to start opening next year. The task force's recommendation to the Colorado General Assembly acknowledges the concern that "opening recreational sales to out-of-state residents could attract greater federal scrutiny and the displeasure of our neighboring states." But it suggests that issue "could be addressed through labeling and education"—for example, by "providing point-of-sale information to out-of-state consumers reminding them that marijuana cannot leave the state" and putting up "signage at airports and near borders reminding visitors that marijuana purchased in Colorado must stay in Colorado."

Deputy Attorney General David Blake, a task force member, was not happy. "The out-of-state tourism is exactly what I don't want," he said. "I don't want Colorado to become the pot-tourism mecca of the country." Yet it is hard to see how banning residents of other states from pot shops can be reconciled with Amendment 64, which allows "persons twenty-one years of age or older" to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, without reference to where they live.

"It is clear that under current state law out-of-state residents may possess less than an ounce of marijuana without penalty," the task force says. "Forbidding those from out-of-state from purchasing the marijuana that they may lawfully possess in Colorado would thus encourage straw purchases and unauthorized resale to out-of-state residents." Furthermore, Amendment 64 specifies that the Colorado Department of Revenue, which is charged with regulating marijuana producers and sellers, "shall not require a consumer to provide a retail marijuana store with personal information other than government-issued identification to determine the consumer's age." If a customer presents, say, a U.S. passport to show he is 21 or older, the retailer will not be able to determine where he lives, and requiring the customer to produce a form of identification showing his address would be unconstitutional.

That problem casts doubt not only on a rule making residence in Colorado a requirement for buying marijuana but also on any attempt to limit how much people buy based on where they live. Blake argued in favor of allowing visitors to buy no more than one-eighth of an ounce at a time as a way of discouraging people from reselling marijuana in other states. Christian Sederberg, a representative of the Yes on 64 campaign, said such a rule would not be much of an obstacle for a serious trafficker, although it might deter an "opportunistic tourist" like "the guy who says 'all my frat brothers at the KU frat house would really like it if I brought home some pot.'" In the end, the task force rejected Blake's proposal, leaving the issue of how much pot visitors can buy to be settled by the General Assembly. But even if legislators decide a limit lower than an ounce is appropriate, it will be difficult to enforce given Amendment 64's restriction on the information that can be demanded from pot purchasers.

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  1. “The out-of-state tourism is exactly what I don’t want,” he said. “I don’t want Colorado to become the pot-tourism mecca of the country.”

    It’s completely unsurprising that even when liberty advances, the paternalistic attitude remains.

    1. Maybe the pot tourism can make up for the jobs lost with Magpul leaving.

    2. Gosh, wouldn’t it be awful if lots of Coloradons got jobs and made some money off of tourism.

      Just terrible.

    3. Notice how this shit-stain repeats the phrase “I don’t want” twice in two sentences. No reasoning or justification necessary. Just “I don’t want”

      This guy’s a spoiled child. He ought to be paddled.

  2. Meh. NYS figured out how to deal with PA fireworks sales a long time ago. Park an unmarked police car outside one of the fireworks emporiums in Erie, call in any NYS license plates you see there, which are relayed to a State Trooper sitting on I-90 at the state line. Don’t see why UT and KS can’t do the same with marijuana from CO.

    1. MA tries that every so often in NH. Usually leads to quite a shitstorm and eventually MA backs down.

      1. Hmmm, I don’t see a problem with this. Unless this is another RLC issue where liberty is confused with lawbreaking.

        1. Unless this is another RLC issue where liberty is confused with lawbreaking.

          I don’t know what “RLC issue” means, but if a law is immoral and illegitimate, like the War on Drugs, I don’t see how it can be considered lawbreaking (outside the scope of the legal system).

          1. Republican Liberty Caucus.

            1. The Republican Liberty Caucus of Colorado issued a letter on A64: http://rlccolorado.com/2013/02…..lican-way/

          2. TULPABOT 3000 CAN NOT COMPUTE YOUR STATEMENT *BEEP* *BOOP*

          3. RLC := red light camera

            And I’m sure you have a different idea about cops who don’t consider beating up suspects to be lawbreaking because they don’t like that law.

        2. In which Tulpy confuses ‘freedom’ with kneeling before the law.

        3. Tulpa, I tell my children that there is no moral obligation to follow immoral laws. Should I assume from your comments that you would have returned escaped slaves to their “owners” because it was the “law”?

          1. That’s different; following the FSL violated people’s rights. Abstaining from marijuana does not violate anyone’s rights.

            If it’s possible to follow a law without violating rights, you should either follow it or practice civil disobedience (meaning you make no attempt to hide your breaking of the law).

        4. I assume there would be jurisdictional issues with cops from another state spying on activities in your state.

          The spied on state might agree. It might not.

          1. There’s no law against surveillance. It’s a free country.

            It’s not like the NYPD guys making straw purchases in VA — they were breaking the law. If they had just gone to the gun show and hung out watching people, that would have been OK.

        5. Well in the first place, fuck license plates.

        6. Unless this is another RLC issue where liberty is confused with lawbreaking.

          Yes, because not being to confront your accuser, because it’s a fucking computer which may or may not be correctly calibrated at the time of accusation, is an just an excuse for wanting to break the law.

          Derp.

    2. I wonder what a certain super-cop would think of this?

      1. smooches. i am against the war on drugs and of course very happy about colorado and my state (WA) legalizing mj. i think mj tourism is awesome.

        fwiw, i think mj is lame as hell, but i just think it shouldn’t be illegal.

        here in WA, legalized mj is working out great so far, and as i have said, it has made drug sniffing dogs USELESS for devoloping PC, which is a bonus for liberty

        if i wasn’t the super-cop you were referring to, disregard 🙂 i’m feeling pretty super today, but not in a big gay al sense

        1. USE CAPITAL LETTERS PLEASE

          1. Why not ask him to have a brain, or be honest? Capital letters are beyond his 75 IQ.

            1. troll-o-meter: .01

              btw, my iq has tested quite high, but thanks for your “concern”

    3. Who says it will be tourist from neighboring states. An entrepreneurial citizen of CO could be just as liable to bring weed out of the state. Unlikely that the cops will be able to stop everyone entering or leaving the state.

  3. YEah, we’re going to be there for about a week a part of our vacation this summer.

    The thought had never crossed my mind to do a little tourism-related “shopping”. Not at all. Nope.

    We’ll see…

  4. If I’m a resident of a “dry” county, am I not still legally allowed to purchase alcohol in a “wet” location?

    This brings to mind a similar attitude for Americans who visit Amsterdam and partake of locally-legal marijuana. You haven’t broken any laws in the place that you’re *at*. Are you still liable for American laws when you’re not in America?

    To take this to the extreme, American drivers could be cited by their local police department for driving on the “wrong” side of the road during a recent trip to England.

    … Hobbit

    1. with our PD, officers can’t be disciplined for obeying the “law of the land”. so, going to south america and chewing on some coca leaves, or going to mexico and shooting up some steroids, etc. etc. even though those substances are illegal and/or require a prescription in the US – is ok.

      i have heard that TECHNICALLY speaking, the dutch policy vis a vis mj is one of non-enforcement. iow, that is technically illegal, but just not prosecuted – below threshold amounts.

      wikipedia article supports that view. – that cannabis is technically not legal, but there is a policy of non-prosecution. it’s a subtle distinction, but differs from – for example, canada allowing purchases of tylenol with codeine without a script, where that is explicitly legal

    2. This brings to mind a similar attitude for Americans who visit Amsterdam and partake of locally-legal marijuana. You haven’t broken any laws in the place that you’re *at*. Are you still liable for American laws when you’re not in America?

      From a legal standpoint, yes. It is illegal to smoke Cuban cigars even if you’re in Canada, for example. It’s illegal to have sex with someone who would be considered a minor, even if it’s legal under local jurisdiction.

      1. Yeah, both of those powers supposedly come from the foreign commerce clause. I find the constitutionality to be extremely dubious.

  5. Commerce clause, dammit.

    1. That was my exact reaction when I first heard discussions about barring sales to visitors: It would set up a clear dormant commerce clause violation, which could lead to a very interesting 42 USC 1983 lawsuit.

      1. Not sure if that would work, since Congress has already banned the sale to out of state persons (and everyone else). Invoking DCC requires that Congress hasn’t acted.

    2. Well, buying it in CO and transporting it to another state is definitely interstate commerce, even pre-Wickard.

  6. “I don’t want Colorado to become the pot-tourism mecca of the country.”

    “I do, however, want to offend Muslims.”

    1. Pot-tourism Graceland, then?

        1. Pot-tourism Lourdes.

  7. For whatever reason I read “Colorado” as “Georgia.”

    Major WTF as I was reading the article…

  8. Unless this is another RLC issue where liberty is confused with lawbreaking.

    ALL RIGHTS ARE GRANTED BY THE STATE.

  9. MJ tourism? Really? Why would anyone travel to Colorado to smoke weed when you can so easily acquire it in any town in the United States.

    1. So you can post it on Facebook?

  10. My favorite part of this law is that it now makes perfect sense to call the cops and tell them someone stole your weed.

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