Colorado is 1 of 8 states in the country that has legalized recreational weed. The state has been working to build a functional infrastructure for legal weed and stamp out black market marijuana for the past few years and has managed to build a thriving industry. This doesn’t stop the black market from making itself known. While it is illegal to sell marijuana without a license, it is not illegal to advertise the sale of marijuana. This is what is happening throughout Colorado now as black market marijuana is advertised on websites like Craigslist and law enforcement can’t do anything to stop it.
The Proposal to Ban Black Market Marijuana Ads
A new measure, sponsored by Sen. Irene Aguilar is proposing to outlaw all marijuana advertising by persons who don’t have a license. She informed lawmakers that over 690 ads for cannabis were discovered on Craigslist in Denver alone. Up until now, law enforcement could not affect the issue as they would need to be physically present during a sales transaction to be able to stop the activity and arrest the person. The new bill would outlaw the advertisements and allow law enforcement to take charge of the situation. Under the new law, the offending person would receive a level 2 drug misdemeanor. They may face up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $750.
“That’s Called Drug Dealing”
Sen. Bob Gardner was frustrated by the issue as well, saying, “We are talking about the fact that we have people advertising the sale of marijuana who are not licensed to sell marijuana. That’s called drug dealing, frankly.” Gardner and Aguilar’s concerns were shared by the lawmakers of Colorado. Although final approval will not be able to take place until later in the week, the bill was universally agreed upon during a voice vote. Once the final approval is made it will move on to the House.
The Political Connection
The Obama administration sent a memo to states that have legalized marijuana, encouraging them to keep it off the black market. Since it had no legal force, it wasn’t enough on its own to take the kind of action that is necessary for cracking down on black market marijuana. This new law is a big step in starting to limit the reach of the black market and solidify the legal infrastructure that Colorado has worked so hard to build over the past few years. The hope for marijuana advocates is that the new Trump administration doesn’t interfere with marijuana policy in states across the country. During his campaign for president, Trump insisted that he would allow states to create their own laws with regards to marijuana. With his nomination of Jeff Sessions, a known marijuana opponent, for Attorney General, anxieties are high as we await how this will ultimately play out.
For now, Colorado moves forward in fighting to legitimize and legalize marijuana and take out the black market. Should the new bill pass and become successful, it may become a standard law in states across the country that have legalized recreational marijuana.