Nine things to know about legal pot Questions About Legal Pot
Hooray! Pot is kind of legal.
People who’ve never been high are suddenly wondering how much an eighth really is. And those that could spot an eighth of weed from across a room can now, in some places, walk into a store and buy it. (Try Mary Mart, Bud Commander or the Happy Crop Shoppe — all stores in Washington.)
But rules are still hazy about where you can buy pot and who can smoke. It gets more complicated for those who want to sell it.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Anyone over 21 can buy marijuana in Colorado and Washington. There are 833 recreational pot shops in Colorado and 123 in Washington.
2. You can smoke it legally in Alaska, D.C. and — by the end of the year — in Oregon, as long as you’re older than 21. But it won’t be legal to buy it in those states for at least another year while lawmakers hammer out the details. It could take longer in D.C.
3. No one can smoke weed in public, anywhere.
4. Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states, and D.C.
5.You can still be fired for smoking marijuana. Even if you show up for work stone cold sober, you can be fired for flunking a drug test in most states. But that’s being challenged in court.
6. There is actually one government-run pot store. The profits from a shop in Washington State called Cannabis Corner will go to special city projects, like upgrading the local playground.
7. There’s still a black market for pot, even where it’s legal. That’s because it’s cheaper. Pot sold legally in stores is taxed heavily. In Colorado the rate is 28%.
8. Everyone in Colorado could get a pot tax refund. Thanks to Colorado’s new pot tax and a quirky state law, residents may get a special one-time tax refund next year. It’s expected to be about $58 million distributed among 5.4 million residents.
9. Banking is still a huge problem for pot shops. Pot is illegal on the federal level, which means many shops can’t get bank accounts, since banks are regulated by the feds. Retailers have to pay employees and taxes in cash, which makes the business dangerous. But there is legislation has been proposed to make banking easier for selling medical marijuana sellers.
By Katie Lobosco
CNNMoney (New York) April 13, 2015: 5:32 PM ET
Questions About Legal Pot