Though marijuana has been legal in Colorado for nearly a decade, the drug remains classified as a Schedule I controlled substance at the federal level. However, a recent bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives could decriminalize marijuana nationwide. If the Senate passes the bill, marijuana will no longer be a controlled substance, and states will be able to create their own marijuana policies.
This potential new law has left many Colorado residents wondering what the changes would mean since marijuana is already legal in their state. If it goes as planned, decriminalization could lead to a variety of benefits and risks for Coloradans and Americans in general.
What You Should Know About the Bill
The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, or MORE Act, would eliminate criminal penalties for marijuana possession, manufacturing and distribution. It would also put taxes from marijuana sales into a fund used to support areas and communities affected by the war on drugs. Additionally, it would help expunge federal convictions related to marijuana charges and allow people with marijuana-related offenses to receive federal benefits.
Opinions of Colorado Lawmakers
Colorado lawmakers appear somewhat polarized about the MORE Act becoming law. The Republican opinion is that federal decriminalization will lead to higher use in adolescents, cause widespread addiction and infringe on states’ rights. Meanwhile, the Democrats think that the MORE Act would help marijuana businesses currently battling federal restrictions. They believe it may also help reverse the damage that federal marijuana charges have brought to many Colorado residents.
How the Bill Could Affect Coloradans in Recovery
People struggling with marijuana addiction may see a variety of benefits if the MORE Act passes in the Senate. Individuals with nonviolent marijuana charges could see their convictions erased, leaving them without a criminal record. People in areas affected by the war on drugs could see a boost in public services, including mental health and addiction recovery clinics. Further, Coloradans with past marijuana-related convictions would be able to access federal benefits, such as housing benefits or student loans and grants.
The Possible Risks of the Bill
Though there are many benefits, the bill also carries significant risks for people in recovery. With fewer restrictions on marijuana dispensaries and manufacturers, availability may rapidly increase. This may tempt people in recovery who are surrounded by places to purchase marijuana or other people who use the drug. These relaxed restrictions could also lead to poor-quality marijuana products that have negative side effects. Further, marijuana consumption may rise in general, making people more likely to develop a dependence on the drug.
If you or a loved one are struggling with marijuana abuse in Colorado, The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake can help. Our multidisciplinary team of experts can provide evidence-based care to help you recover from marijuana dependence and addiction. Contact us today to learn more about treatment plans and programs that can work well for your needs.
- Colorado Official State Web Portal. “Amendment 64 Implementation.” Accessed January 14, 2021.
- Lozano, Alicia Victoria. “House passes historic bill to decriminalize cannabis.” NBC News, December 4, 2020. Accessed January 14, 2021.
- U.S. Congress. “H.R.3884 – MORE Act of 2020.” Congress.gov, 2020. Accessed January 14, 2021.
- Bunch, Joey. “Colorado lawmakers split over U.S. House passing marijuana decriminalization.” The Gazette, December 4, 2020. Accessed January 14, 2021.
- Colorado Official State Web Portal. “Federal implications.” Accessed January 14, 2021.