What you need to know about buying recreational marijuana
August 11, 2016
Can I purchase recreational marijuana?
Adults ages 21 and older with a valid government ID (driver's license or passport) may purchase, smoke and possess marijuana in Colorado. At most dispensaries, you must present your ID prior to entering. On a busy day, there might be a short wait time to enter. (Colorado Department of Revenue: Permanent Rules Related to the Colorado Retail Marijuana Code, p.36, section C)
Who can purchase medical marijuana?
Colorado residents ages 18 and up may obtain a Medical Marijuana Registry Identification Card (known as a "red card") with a recommendation from a doctor that a patient suffers from a debilitating condition and may benefit from medical marijuana. For minors under the age of 18, parents must consent to such medical use, obtain a registration ID card for the minor and act as their primary caregiver. (Article XVIII, section 14, Medical Use of Marijuana for Persons Suffering from Debilitating Medical Conditions)
How much can I buy?
Colorado residents may purchase up to one ounce of cannabis in a single transaction, approximately the equivalent of 60 joints, depending on the potency of the joint. Out-of-state visitors may purchase ¼ of an ounce per transaction. (Colorado Department of Revenue: Permanent Rules Related to The Colorado Retail Marijuana Code, p. 48, section D)
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How much can I carry?
Adults ages 21 and older may possess up to one ounce of cannabis. Colorado residents with a Medical Marijuana Registry Identification Card may possess a maximum of two ounces of usable marijuana. Marijuana may be carried in cars, but it must be in a closed container. If the seal has been broken, the contents have been partially removed or there is evidence of consumption within a vehicle, it is a violation of Colorado's Open Container Law. Passengers should not consume cannabis. (Article XVIII, Section 16, Personal Use and Regulation of Marijuana, Colorado Constitution, Colorado Pot Guide)
Can I drive after smoking or consuming cannabis?
Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal, just as drunk driving is. A driver is considered legally impaired, facing consequences similar to a DUI, if five nanograms or more of THC is found in their system. The only time marijuana may be carried in a vehicle is in a closed container. (Colorado House Bill 13-1325; http://www.colorado.gov)
Can I take marijuana out of Colorado?
No. Even if the cannabis was purchased legally in Colorado, it is still illegal to transport cannabis across state lines. Denver International Airport announced it is against the law to take marijuana into the airport as well. Clearly, the U.S. Postal Service does not allow marijuana, and has stepped up efforts to find it in the mail. Even within Colorado, each city and county has its own marijuana regulations. (www.colorado.gov; the Denver Post)
Does anyone know who is purchasing marijuana?
Amendment 64 prohibits a list of marijuana purchasers, but customers will be on camera. State rules require shops have security cameras pointed at the cash register, entrances and exits. (Amendment 64, p. 8, section C; Colorado Department of Revenue: Permanent Rules related to the Colorado Retail Marijuana Code, p. 37)
Do dispensaries accept credit cards?
Most are still limited to crash transactions, but have ATMs available. The Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act of 1970, more commonly known as the Bank Secrecy Act, regulates how banks must report and respond to transactions believed to be linked to illegal activity. While marijuana sales are sanctioned in Colorado by the state government, they remain illegal federally, leaving banks and businesses in a legal limbo. (The New York Times)
Where can I legally consume cannabis?
Colorado statute says you may not consume marijuana, in any form, "openly and publicly or in a manner that endangers others." In essence, the only place you should consume cannabis is in a private residence, with the owner's permission. On residential private property, retail marijuana consumption in any outdoor location is illegal unless the person is the property owner or lessee or has been granted permission by the property owner or lessee. Under Colorado's Clean Indoor Air Act, smoking marijuana is not permitted anywhere that cigarette smoking is also banned. As for ski resorts, most are located on federal land, where marijuana use and possession is illegal — the same rules apply to national forests, national parks and monuments. Consumption is specifically banned at state-licensed marijuana facilities. (Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act; Colorado Department of Revenue: Permanent Rules Related to the Colorado Retail Marijuana Code, p. 49)
Can I get fired for consuming marijuana?
According to a 2015 Colorado Supreme Court decision, employees can be fired for consuming retail or medical marijuana, on or off duty. Employers may set their own policies for drug use under Colorado law, but under federal law, marijuana is still a Schedule I controlled substance. (The Denver Post)
Can I grow my own?
In Colorado, it is currently legal for adults to grow up to six plants in their own home, with three or fewer being mature, flowering plants. Some cities, such as Denver, cap the total number of plants allowed per residence, regardless of how many adults live there. It is legal to keep the resulting harvest, but it cannot be sold. Plants must be grown in an enclosed, locked space, not openly or publicly. (Article XVIII, Section 16: Personal Use and Regulation of Marijuana, Colorado Constitution)
Can I give cannabis to a friend?
One ounce or less of marijuana may be gifted to an adult age 21 or older for "no remuneration." Essentially, you can't sell it or receive payment, a gift or exchange in return. Under state law, only licensed retail marijuana stores may sell. (Colorado State Constitution, Article XVIII, Section 16: Personal Use and Regulation of Marijuana)
What safety restrictions are there?
Colorado law requires shops to be located at least 1,000 feet away from schools. Local governments may have additional restrictions, such as the minimum distance from neighborhoods, parks or places of worship. The state has also mandated marijuana products must be sold in childproof packaging. Sharing or giving marijuana to minors is a crime, with similar penalties as providing alcohol to minors. (The Denver Post; Colorado Department of Revenue: Permanent Rules Related to the Colorado Retail Marijuana Code, pp. 2, 114)
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