After Colorado voters legalized recreational marijuana for adults, the question of how to integrate legal pot into the practical, and often bureaucratic, realities of modern life has fallen on two dozen Coloradans. The Christian Science Monitor reports that by month’s end, the Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force must submit a report suggesting how the state should regulate legal marijuana. The task force has considered new rules for what Colorado should do when it inevitably becomes a center of “pot tourism,” it has debated whether smokers can use their backyard patios to light up, and how to deal with “marijuana clubs” that will appear.
At the same time, marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and the U.S. Justice Department may step in and try to invalidate everything the task force has done. At a time when as many as 25 states are considering pro-marijuana laws, what Colorado does could be broadly significant. How it converts a massive black market into what experts call “problematic adult commerce” on the fringes of society – akin to gambling, drinking, and go-go clubs – all amid lingering legal concerns, could provide a framework for other states to follow. So far, the Obama administration has kept its hands off the emerging experiments in Colorado (and Washington State), though it could be waiting until Colorado formalizes new pot laws, expected by May 8.