On January 1st, 2014, recreational marijuana retail stores became legal in Colorado. Although recreational marijuana has been legal in Colorado for some time already, it may now be legally sold through licensed stores.
Colorado will still regulate the sale and use of marijuana and users should be aware of the regulations to avoid criminal charges. This guide will help walk you through the basics of marijuana laws in Colorado today.
Who Can Buy Retail Marijuana?
For the most part, marijuana is now regulated similarly to alcohol. Anyone 21 or over can buy retail marijuana. While originally out-of-state visitors to Colorado were limited to buying 7 grams of marijuana at one time, now residents and tourists alike can purchase up to 28 grams at one time. All that is required is a government issued ID to show the buyer is over 21.
When Can I Buy Retail Marijuana?
Licensed stores are permitted to be open between 8 am and midnight. However, some cities may impose additional limitations. For example, retail marijuana stores in Denver must close by 7 p.m.
How Can I Transport Marijuana?
Anyone 21 years-old and over can legally possess and transport marijuana. Marijuana can even be transported in cars, but drivers may not smoke while driving or drive under the influence of marijuana.
How Much Intoxication Constitutes Driving Under the Influence?
The law sets a very low intoxication level for driving under the influence (5 nanograms/mL of blood), so it’s best to avoid any driving after smoking any amount of marijuana. If an officer believes you to be driving under the influence, they can require you to take a blood test. Refusing a blood test can result in similar penalties as refusing a breathalyzer, such as loss of your license.
Can I Openly Walk Around with Marijuana?
No. Marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia may only be displayed in private in a way that "does not endanger others." You may not have your marijuana out on the streets, in public parks, or even exposed to the public from your private residence. Using marijuana in public can result in a citation similar to open container laws for drinking in public.
Where Can I Smoke?
You can only smoke in private residences where the owner allows the use of marijuana. You may not smoke in marijuana retail stores or in any public places. Marijuana is subject to significant clean air regulations meaning there are few places that allow on-site consumption. However, there is an exception for some new ‘private’ cannabis clubs that allow you to buy a one day membership.
Can I Grow My Own Plants?
Yes, in Colorado individuals can possess up to six plants, with three or fewer of them flowering. However, you may not sell any of your plants unless you have a license. Still, you may give away up to one ounce to someone over the age of 21 for free.
How Much Will Marijuana Cost?
Retail store prices may vary and could potentially change over time as supply increases. However, as of May 2017, the State of Colorado will charge a 2.9% sales tax and a special 10% marijuana sales tax on all purchases, in addition to any tax cities may have.
Can the Federal Government Still Prosecute?
Yes. Although marijuana is now legal in Colorado, it is still illegal under federal law as of May 2017. While the Obama administration made written statements that it would not interfere in state marijuana laws, it is still unclear what the Trump administration’s stance is on the subject. Regardless, it is not advised to take marijuana on to any federal lands where federal marijuana laws will still be enforced.
Can I Travel with Marijuana Out of State?
No. Marijuana is still prohibited at airports, on planes, and may not cross state lines. Any attempt to transport marijuana, especially in larger quantities, can run the risk of being charged with drug trafficking.
Is Colorado Doing Anything to Prevent Marijuana Illegally Traveling Out of State?
In effort to mitigate dangers associated with marijuana legalization, marijuana retail shops are required to closely track amounts of marijuana grown and sold. This helps ensure marijuana legally grown in Colorado is used exclusively for legal sales in Colorado and is not being sent out of state to be sold on the black market.
Will the Government Keep Track of Who Buys Marijuana?
No. Retail shops are not required to keep lists of people who purchase marijuana.
Where Can I Find a Lawyer?
If you have more questions about your use of marijuana in Colorado, it can be helpful to contact a criminal defense attorney to help you navigate the new marijuana laws in Colorado.