On Tuesday, Nov. 6, when voters in Colorado and Washington state approved similar measures legalizing and regulating marijuana much along the same lines as alcohol, Amendment 64 and Initiative 502 respectively, the entire world took note.
It was the first time in history that voters opted to overturn the prohibition of pot and it will forever be known as a big day for dope. But it’s not the only big day for dope. Because of the laws in Colorado and Washington state, Dec. 5 is another big day for dope and the chronicles of cannabis.
That’s because Election Day was exactly 30 days ago Wednesday. In Colorado and Washington, 30 days after an election is an important legal benchmark. And for that reason Wednesday also is a very big day for the marijuana movement, even though it is still illegal in the eyes of our federal government.
In Colorado, it is a big day because it is the day that Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler can certify the election results from that first Tuesday in November. Once the results are certified, the Secretary of State will then send a letter to the governor’s office officially letting Gov. John Hickenlooper know that the results are certified.
After contacting both the Secretary of State’s office and that of the governor, I have confirmed that Mr. Gessler will indeed be sending a letter of certification to Mr. Hickenlooper today.
After Gov. Hickenlooper receives the letter from the Secretary of State, he has 30 days to sign a proclamation which will make Amendment 64 part of Colorado’s constitution. If the governor chooses not sign the proclamation, Amendment 64 will automatically be amended into the state’s constitution at the end of the 30 days, which is Jan. 5.
Although Gov. Hickenlooper and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers are both on record as being against Amendment 64, the governor has indicated that he will bend to the will of the people and respect the plebiscite by signing the proclamation. But the big question is when will he sign it? Will he do it today or will he wait? And if he waits, how long will it take? When will Amendment 64 become law of the land in the Centennial State? The clock is ticking.
In an attempt to get an answer to those questions I contacted the governor’s office by phone and email. After exchanging emails with the governor’s spokesman, Eric Brown, and pushing him on an answer as to when the governor will sign the proclamation, even asking if he had an inkling, I was told that it would be “soon.” With it being a developing situation, Mr. Brown could only repeat a statement released earlier last week. In case you missed it here it is: “We are working to create a task force to identify the policy, legal and procedural issues that need to be resolved related to Amendment 64. The task force will be charged with offering suggestions for legislative and executive actions that need to be taken for the effective and efficient implementation of the amendment. The task force will include lawmakers, state agency representatives, stakeholders, marijuana advocates and others. We expect to have more details about the task force ready to announce soon.”
Although Mr. Brown was unable to answer my questions before deadline, I do appreciate his timely responses. I also appreciate Andrew Cole in the Secretary of State’s office for calling me back so swiftly.
Up in Washington state it’s a different story. Marijuana legalization is a done deal there. Perhaps because it was an initiative and the laws in Washington state differ from those in Colorado; Initiative 502 goes into effect today and the Evergreen State is about to get a whole lot greener.
In what’s being dubbed “Legalization Day,” folks across Washington will be legally lighting up and celebrating their state’s stance on cannabis. In Seattle, even though it does violate the provisions of the initiative because it is a public place, there is a smoke-out scheduled to take place under the iconic space needle and the Emerald City will be the jewel of the marijuana movement because Washington state will be the first to fully legalize it on a state level.
With what’s happening in Colorado and Washington state today, Dec. 5 will surely join April 20 and Nov. 6 as another big day for dope.
Contact Jeremy at firstname.lastname@example.org.