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The ups and downs of marijuana in Colorado
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By Joseph Rios

The marijuana business in Colorado has been booming since the state first legalized recreational marijuana in November of 2012. Just last year, the state collected over $247 million in tax revenues from marijuana sales.

Colorado is making sure to do something with the marijuana excise tax. It distributed $40 million of it to the Marijuana Cash Fund Program, a program that funds capital construction projects for public schools. Other parts of the program funded include an investment into the state’s public-school fund.

While the extra revenue is great for the state, there is another positive attribute that came with the legalization of marijuana – it created more jobs from owners, operational and management employees and other types of employees like “budtenders,” who’s job is to sell marijuana products.

Marijuana is legal under Colorado law, but federal law is much different. The substance is still classified as a controlled substance, therefore making it illegal. This can mean a lot of different things for citizens, depending on certain things, like holding a federal job.

Since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, federal employees are not allowed to use the substance. Even upon applying for a federal job, it is recommended that consumers avoid using marijuana.

Students who are applying for financial aid can be impacted as well. If a student is charged with underage use of marijuana, or possession charges, students can lose any federal financial aid opportunities. Things that fall under that include work-study programs, Perkins Loans, PLUS Loans, Pell Grants and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants.

Marijuana can also impact citizens who are looking to purchase a firearm. Certain federal forms must be completed that ask about unlawful marijuana use when purchasing a weapon. If one were to lie on the form, then it would be considered a federal felony, and that person could face a maximum prison sentence of up to five years.

Under federal law, marijuana is still illegal on certain federal properties including national parks, ski slopes, military bases and other forms of federal land. If a citizen lives in federally subsidized housing, then that citizen can lose federal housing benefits with any marijuana use or possession charges.

Driving while under the influence of marijuana is also illegal, and people can get slapped with a driving under the influence charge. Colorado law officials say drivers with 5 nanograms of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter of whole blood can be prosecuted for driving while under the influence. Marijuana containers are not allowed to be opened, and drivers can be charged with a traffic offense if the marijuana product isn’t sealed properly.

Leaving the state with any marijuana product is also illegal, and the substance cannot be brought to Denver International Airport, or other airports.





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