Recreational marijuana legalized in Colorado by Governor's order adding Amendment 64 to constitution

DENVER - With the signing of an executive order, Gov. John Hickenlooper has made Amendment 64 part of the state constitution.

Hickenlooper's "official declaration of the vote," a procedural step, means that marijuana is effectively legal for recreational use in Colorado. It is still illegal under state law to buy or sell marijuana in any quantity or to consume it in public.

The drug became legal in Washington state last week.

Hickenlooper opposed the measure but had no veto power over the voter-approved amendment to the state constitution. He said Monday he saw no reason to wait until a Jan. 5 deadline and didn't see any point in letting marijuana become legal without his proclamation.

The Democratic governor said voters were "loud and clear" when they voted last month to make pot legal without a doctor's recommendation. Adults over 21 may now possess up to an ounce of marijuana, or six plants.

The governor also signed another order to create a task force to work on the implementation of Amendment 64. The 24-member group will be assigned to considering and coordinating work to implement other aspects of the amendment.

Specifically, the task force will consider what other state laws need to be changed, the need for security requirements at marijuana stores, labeling requirements for the drug, marijuana education and the impact on businesses in the state. The results of their work are due to the governor by Feb. 28, 2013.

All meetings of the task force will be open to the public. The first will be held at noon on Dec. 17 in the Department of Revenue Gaming Conference Room at 17301 W. Colfax Ave., Suite 135, in Golden.

State Attorney General John Suthers sent a letter on Nov. 14 to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to ask about the federal government's position on Amendment 64. The state has not yet received a response.