Some of the basic principles of Colorado cannabis possession and use laws.

Colorado Cannabis Laws Explained

The state of Colorado has been at the forefront of the movement to end the prohibition of cannabis for nearly ten years now, beginning with the 2009 legalization of medical marijuana and continuing with recreational legalization in 2014. Over the years, the laws have changed and will continue to do so.

Reforms and expansions of the current programs are always in the works. It is important to keep up with industry news to ensure you are always legally purchasing and consuming.

In order to legitimize the cannabis industry and keep everyone safe, it is important that you understand the laws and always consume legally and responsibly.

Let’s take a look at Colorado cannabis use laws as of June 2018.

The Basics of Colorado Cannabis Laws

Here are some of the basic principles of Colorado cannabis possession and use laws.

  • You must be 21 or older with ID to buy, possess, or use recreational marijuana.
  • If you are between the ages of 18 and 21 you will need a medical card to purchase cannabis.
  • It is illegal for any unlicensed person or entity to sell marijuana.
  • It is illegal to give marijuana to minors.
  • Marijuana may only be purchased at licensed retail stores.
  • Medical marijuana patients can also obtain marijuana from a caregiver or grow their own.
  • Marijuana may not be consumed in any indoor or outdoor public places such as restaurants, bars, on public transportation, parks, sidewalks, etc. This includes smokables, edibles, and vaping.
  • You are legally allowed to purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana or the THC equivalent of concentrates and edibles per day:
    • 28 Grams (1 oz.) of dried flower.
    • 8g of concentrate (Shatter, Wax, etc)
    • 800 mg of edibles
  • It is illegal to use or consume marijuana in a motor vehicle.
  • Marijuana may be transported by car but must be in a sealed container.
  • It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.
  • It is illegal to transport marijuana into another state.

The Subtleties of Colorado Cannabis Laws

The regulations listed above the overarching rules of the program. But there are some subtle details of which it’s important to be aware.

  • In the case of a private limo or other transportation services, assuming the operator allows it, cannabis may be consumed in the rear passenger areas only.
  • Some hotels may allow marijuana to be smoked in their smoking rooms.
  • Not all municipalities in Colorado allow retail marijuana stores. Visit city websites for city-specific sale and consumption laws.
  • Residents of Colorado 21 years of age or older are permitted to cultivate up to 6 plants, 3 of which can be in the flowering stage. Home grows must be in an enclosed, locked space.
  • Social consumption lounges are beginning to appear in certain areas where cannabis may be vaped but not smoked. The lounge is not allowed to sell cannabis products. Patrons must bring their own.
  • Assuming it’s allowed by the operator, private club members can consume marijuana products safely and legally. Indoor smoking may also be permissible.
  • State cannabis laws do not apply on federal lands such as national parks, national forests, monuments, courthouses, etc. Note that some ski area trails are located on federal land. In all these cases federal laws apply and cannabis is not allowed.
  • DUI laws have a legal limit of 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood.
  • Also, schools and employers may decide on their own rules and disciplinary actions.

Penalties For Violating Cannabis Laws

Below is some brief information about the penalties for breaking the rules listed above.

  • Public consumption can result in tickets and fines.
  • Possessing more than the allowed limits of THC can result in jail time up to 18 months, and fines up to $5,000.
  • The possession of more than 12 ounces of dried cannabis flower is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison, and a $100,000 fine.
  • Sale and distribution of fewer than 4 ounces is a misdemeanor and can result in 18 months of jail time, and fines up to $5,000.
  • Sale and distribution of more than 4 ounces is a felony and can result in up to 32 years in prison, and fines up to $1 million.
  • Growing more than 6 plants is a felony punishable by up to 6 months to 6 years in prison, and up to a $500,000 fine.
  • The laws for possession and distribution of extracts, concentrates, and edibles are very similar to those above.
  • Penalties for cannabis DUI in Colorado are the same as alcohol DUI.
  • Possession of marijuana on federal land is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000 on the first offense. There is also a 15-day mandatory sentence for first offense and up to two years in prison for a second offense.

For a complete chart of the rules and penalties mentioned above, visit NORML’s list of Colorado cannabis laws.

For more information about medical marijuana, please visit the Colorado Official state web portal.

As a cannabis consumer, it’s important to fully understand state cannabis laws in order to avoid any legal troubles as well as to be a responsible consumer.

Remember when you’re out there in the world, you represent all of us who cherish the cannabis lifestyle, so please consume responsibly.