Now that marijuana is legal in Colorado, the intent is to regulate the drug like alcohol. That's not so easy in practice. As attorneys practicing family law in Colorado, we know how consequential the new law will be for families, and how far the state must go to address unresolved issues.
Last fall, voters for the first time approved the legalization of marijuana for recreational use at the state level – in Colorado and Washington. Since then, much attention has focused on the conflict between state and federal law, which still classifies the drug as illegal. But state legalization also raises important questions at the personal level. Many of them center around the family.
As attorneys practicing family law in Colorado, we feel it's important to consider these questions, especially since the push is on for recreational legalization in other states. Oregon, California, and Maine may be next. (Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana.)
Colorado's constitutional amendment states that individuals can purchase marijuana from authorized retailers and that licensed growers can produce commercial quantities for retailers. The intent is to treat marijuana like alcohol. That's not so easy in practice.
Based on our legal experience, we'd like to offer a scenario – fictional, but realistic – to illustrate how consequential Colorado's change will be for families, and how far the state still needs to go to address unresolved issues.
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