to the Colorado Court of Appeals Court of Appeals Case No.
Attorneys for Petitioner: Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney
General Kevin E. McReynolds, Assistant Attorney General
appearance by or on behalf of Alexander L. Wolf.
JUSTICE EID dissents, and JUSTICE COATS and JUSTICE HOOD join
in the dissent.
¶1 This case requires us to determine if Amendment 64 to
which legalized possession of small amounts of marijuana,
deprived the State of the power to continue to prosecute
individuals for possession of less than one ounce of
marijuana after the Amendment became effective. In light of
our holding today in People v. Boyd, 2017 CO 2,
__P.3d__, we hold that it did.
Facts and Procedural History
In September 2012, the police arrested Respondent Alexander
Wolf after a search of his car found various narcotics,
including less than one ounce of marijuana. In October 2012,
Wolf was charged with possession of less than two ounces of
marijuana, possession of cocaine, possession of
dihydrocodeinone, and possession of drug paraphernalia. On
December 10, 2012, before Wolf's case was submitted to a
jury, Amendment 64-a Colorado citizen initiative that
legalized the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for
personal use-became effective. See Colo. Const. Art.
XVIII, § 16(3)(a). Subsequently, in July 2013, a jury
found Wolf guilty of possessing cocaine, dihydrocodeinone,
drug paraphernalia, and less than two ounces of
marijuana. In October 2013, the trial court sentenced
him to twenty-one days in jail and two years of probation.
Wolf filed a timely notice of appeal. On appeal, Wolf argued
that his conviction for possessing what ultimately was less
than one ounce of marijuana should be vacated because
Amendment 64 legalized possession of less than one ounce of
marijuana before he had been convicted. The court of appeals
in a split decision agreed and vacated his marijuana
possession conviction and sentence. People v. Wolf,
No. 13CA2110, slip op. at 19 (Colo.App. July 30, 2015). Judge
Dailey dissented in relevant part. Id. at 21.
(Dailey, J. concurring in part, dissenting in part). We
Standard of Review
The proper interpretation of a constitutional amendment is a
question of law that we review de novo. Danielson v.
Dennis, 139 P.3d 688, 691 (Colo. 2006).
This case asks us to resolve whether Amendment 64 deprived
the State of the power to continue to prosecute individuals
for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana after the
Amendment became effective. We addressed a nearly identical
issue in People v. Boyd, also decided today. 2017 CO
2. In Boyd, the defendant, Pamela Boyd, had been
convicted of possession of what ultimately was less than one
ounce of marijuana. ¶ 2. The State originally derived
its authority to prosecute her from section 18-18-406(1),
C.R.S. (2011), which provided that possession of two or fewer
ounces of marijuana was a class 2 petty offense.
Boyd, ¶ 6. However, before Boyd's right to
appeal had expired, Amendment 64 became effective and
rendered inoperative the relevant language of this statute