Colorado makes history, legalizes marijuana with the passing of Amendment 64

At 9:03 p.m. it was official; voters have chosen to end the prohibition of marijuana in the state of Colorado.

Shouts erupted from Fort Collins resident Brie Hawley’s table at Avogadro’s Number Tuesday night as the results of Amendment 64’s passing made history.

With this legislation, marijuana will now be legalized and regulated in Colorado similar to alcohol for individuals 21 years old and older. The amendment will modify Colorado’s constitution to allow these individuals to possess, use, grow and transfer up to one ounce of marijuana or up to six marijuana plants — with some restrictions.

Amendment 64 passed with 963,204 votes, which came out to roughly 53 percent of the total 1,811,317 votes. In Larimer County, Amendment 64 received 83,210 “yes” votes of the total 153,055 votes counted.

Every seat was  filled at Avogadro’s Number as about 120 community members gathered to watch live election coverage from MSNBC on a large projection screen at the front of the room.

“I’m all for it,” said Jesse Festa, who sat on the edge of the stage and sipped a beer with his girlfriend. “I’m originally from California. I think it’s a boost to the economy and it’s a natural drug — coffee is a natural drug and that’s legal.”

Hawley, however, said she felt that the law will be difficult for marijuana growers to navigate until the drug is federally legalized.

In response to Amendment 64 passing, substance abuse prevention group Team Fort Collins said they will continue to focus on education.

“No matter the outcomes of Amendment 64 or Question 301, Team Fort Collins will stay the course of its mission to prevent alcohol and drug abuse,” said Ashley Kasprzk, executive director of Team Fort Collins.

“We also plan to address the increasing misperception that marijuana is not harmful,” Kasprzk said. “Team Fort Collins will do this by working on clear, effective and enforceable policies that ensure access is limited to those over 21.”

Mason Tvert, co-director for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said Coloradans demonstrated that they are done with marijuana prohibition and ready to move on to a more sensible approach to marijuana.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol hosted a watch party Tuesday night at Casselman’s Bar in Denver.

“A lot of people have worked really hard over the last several years, let alone months, to bring this campaign to where it is today,” Tvert said. “And people are very excited, this is a historic moment and I think people are proud to be a part of it.”

Tvert said they look forward to working with state officials and potentially federal officials to implement this initiative.

In September Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper opposed Amendment 64 on the grounds that marijuana would detract from Colorado being the healthiest state in the nation.

Tuesday night he warned voters about the legalization of marijuana.

“The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will,” the Washington Post reported that Hickenlooper said. “This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don’t break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly.”

Initiative Question 301 also passed in Larimer County with 38,213 “yes” votes out of the total 69,722 votes. Initiative Question 301 will overturn the current ban on dispensaries in Fort Collins.

George Hayduke was in support of Amendment 64 and Initiative Question 301.

“If it (the money) is going towards schools, that’s where the future is at,” Hayduke said.