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Colorado Tightens Marijuana Restrictions for Minors

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Concerned underage individuals are also benefitting copiously from Colorado’s relaxed marijuana laws, legislators passed a bill in early March to further deter minors from gaining access to unauthorized pot. The bill, known as “Keep Legal Marijuana From Those Under 21,” contains a number of revised instructions for retailers of both medical and recreational marijuana.

One of the biggest changes to the law is that retail-marijuana stores are now allowed to detain those suspected of using fake IDs to purchase pot, and to subsequently confiscate the identification card in question. Failing to confiscate a fake ID is not a criminal offense itself, but selling marijuana to anyone under the age of 21 has been raised to a Class 1 misdemeanor. Those sentences usually involve six-18 months in jail and/or a $500-5,000 fine.

As for children too young to make conscious choices about marijuana use, medical-marijuana retailers must begin selling their products only in an opaque, resealable package intended to be child-resistant. Previously, the retailers were simply able to paste a label on the package stating “medicinal product—keep out of reach of children,” but the updated bill revokes that option. The new packaging rules are akin to those stated in the Poison Packaging Act, which mean to make opening such containers a significantly difficult task for children under the age of five. Patients with a medical condition that find opening child-proof packaging a challenge will, of course, be allowed to use a different type of container.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse claims marijuana use has increased amongst 10th and 12th graders nationally in recent years, and Colorado’s schools have reported a rise in drug-related disciplinary actions since pot was legalized as well. In fact, three days after the bill was put on Gov. Hickenlooper’s desk, three middle-school students in Westminster were arrested for passing around marijuana-laced candies to their peers. The kicker? Most of the students didn’t even realize there was anything “special” about the treat.

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