Marijuana Legislation in Colorado, Washington and Massachusetts

Major changes are on the horizon for Colorado, Washington and Massachusetts regarding marijuana usage and the legalization of recreational use by adults.

Colorado and Washington passed measures to legalize marijuana use by adults. A similar measure was rejected in Oregon and Massachusetts became the 18th state to legalize marijuana for medical use.

Colorado is the first state to end marijuana prohibition. Federal law still classifies marijuana as an illegal drug, so the impact and implications of the Colorado legislation are an unknown factor. The legislation protects employers in Section16(6)(a), stating “Nothing in this section is intended to require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or growing of marijuana in the workplace or to affect the ability of employers to have policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees.”

Washington passed regulations allowing adults over the age of 21 to purchase and tax the sale of marijuana in small amounts. The legislation allows for possession of small amounts in certain quantities.

Because of the conflicts between the Controlled Substance Abuse Act and the new state regulations, we expect more developments over the coming weeks. As updates become available, we will continue to pass along this important industry information.