Since the enactment of Colorado Amendment 64, marijuana has been legalized with certain restrictions. It is still very possible for someone to break the law with marijuana. Individuals are still being charged with Unlawful Cultivation, Minor In Possession, Driving Under the Influence of Drugs DUID, and public consumption. Marijuana is now governed strictly by State rules such as: recreational marijuana is for those adults aged 21 or older, they can grow up to six cannabis plants (with no more than half being mature flowering plants), privately in a locked space, legally possess all cannabis from the plants they grow (as long as it stays where it was grown) and give as a gift up to one ounce to other citizens 21 years of age or older. Consumption is permitted in a manner similar to alcohol, with equivalent offenses proscribed for driving such as DUID. Consumption in public remains illegal as with alcohol. Visitors and tourists in Colorado can use and purchase marijuana, but can not take it out of the state, and it is prohibited at Denver International Airport.
Below are some frequently asked questions and answers to the current marijuana law. Please note that this area of law is very new and changes happen frequently. Please contact a marijuana lawyer to find out the latest in the law.
How old do I have to be to purchase, possess or consume recreational marijuana?
– You must be 21 and older to buy, possess or use recreational marijuana. It is illegal to give or sell recreational marijuana to minors.
What is the difference between medical and recreational marijuana?
– Medical marijuana requires a state red card, only obtained by Colorado residents with a prescription from a doctor that a patient suffers from a debilitating medical condition that may benefit from medical marijuana. Medical marijuana patients can obtain marijuana from a licensed center, a primary care giver or self grow. For more information about medical marijuana, please visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment website.
Where can I purchase recreational marijuana?
– Those 21 and older can purchase recreational marijuana at licensed recreational stores. There are several throughout the state.
Where am I allowed to consume recreational marijuana?
– Recreational marijuana is intended for private, personal use. Such use is only legal in certain locations not open or accessible to the public. Marijuana may not be consumed openly or publicly. Generally, marijuana is treated similarly to alcohol and is subject to the same prohibitions such as no consumption in public, no driving under the influence, no possession by minors, etc.
How much marijuana can I purchase at one time?
– Colorado residents 21 and older can purchase and possess up to 1 ounce of recreational marijuana at a time.
– Non-residents can purchase up to ¼ ounce at a time.
What are the consequences if I violate marijuana laws?
– Penalties range from a fine to a possible jail or prison sentence. Colorado State Statutes and Denver Revised Municipal Code spell out the specific penalties for various violations.
– Schools, universities and employers are allowed to put in place their own disciplinary actions for marijuana-related infractions. This means you may still face consequences for marijuana consumption including loss of employment, expulsion from school, etc.
Are the rules different for possession and consumption of edible marijuana than for marijuana that can be smoked?
– No. Possession laws are the same for all recreational marijuana types, and public consumption is always illegal, regardless of form.
Can I have marijuana in my car?
– Yes. Marijuana may be carried in cars but it may not be in an open container and cannot cross state boundaries. It is illegal to use or consume marijuana in a motor vehicle and it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.
Is there a DUI-like equivalent for driving under the influence of marijuana?
– Yes. It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana and it can result in a DUI, just like alcohol. Anyone with 5 nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (known as THC) per milliliter in whole blood (CRS 42-4-1301) while driving can be arrested for DUI. The consequences of DUI is dependent on the driver but they can include fines, jail time and a revoked license.
Can I take marijuana through airport security or travel out of state with it?
– No. It is illegal to take marijuana across state lines. Denver International Airport prohibits possession, use, display, and transfer of all marijuana on its property.
Can I consume marijuana inside a smoke-friendly hotel room or on a hotel balcony?
– It is up to the discretion of the hotel if it allows marijuana smoke to be consumed in their smoking rooms (the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act limits all smoking to at most 25 percent of rooms). You should ask the hotel if they allow it. Denver city laws prohibit marijuana consumption on hotel balconies if visible from any public place.
Does Denver have additional prohibitions on use or display of marijuana?
– It is illegal to consume, use, display, transfer, distribute, sell or grow recreational marijuana at or within any park, parkway, mountain park (including Red Rocks) or other recreational facility, on any city-owned property (including streets and sidewalks) within 1,000 feet of a public or private elementary, middle, junior high or high school and on the 16th Street Mall (including any city street or sidewalk one block in either direction from the mall). Additionally, DIA prohibits possession, use, display and transfer of all marijuana on its property.
Marijuana regulation in the State of Colorado is an experiment in the laboratory of democracy. The rules may change. If you are in need of assistance when it comes to drug defense, contact Marijuana Defense Attorney Steven J. Pisani for a consultation on your situation.