In November Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, which made it legal for adults over 21 to possess and use small quantities of marijuana for recreational use. In response to the new law, Colorado is considering new DUI standards for THC and prosecutors are dropping many drug offense charges. However, Colorado is not the only state affected by its new law.
Law enforcement officials in Wyoming expect to see more marijuana crimes. With Colorado no more than 180 miles from any city in Wyoming, a lift on the marijuana ban in that state could increase access to the drug for Wyomingites as well.
The law could affect not only residents of Wyoming who may gain more access to marijuana, but also Coloradoans who cross state lines and engage in activity that is legal in this state but against the law in Wyoming, including possession or use of marijuana.
In Wyoming, possession of up to an ounce of marijuana can result in a year in jail or up to a $1,000 fine. And despite the Obama administration’s statements that going after marijuana users in Colorado is not a priority for federal law enforcement, marijuana use is still a federal crime and being caught with pot in Wyoming could come with serious federal criminal consequences.
Marijuana users in Wyoming could also face less direct penalties beyond the scope of law enforcement. Using marijuana could result in a positive drug test, affecting parolees and people who must undergo tests as a condition of their employment.
As Colorado’s new drug law takes hold and develops, new legal issues will continue to arise. If you are facing accusations of a drug-related offense it is important to seek help from a criminal defense attorney who can help you protect your rights and navigate changing laws.
Source: The Republic, “Wyoming expects more marijuana crimes because of Colorado’s law making recreational use legal,” Jan. 1, 2013