Buying recreational marijuana in Colorado
December 23, 2015
Who can purchase recreational marijuana?
Anyone 21 and older, with a valid government ID, is allowed to purchase, smoke and possess marijuana in Colorado. Much like in a liquor store, individuals need to show an ID in order to make purchases. You can share with a friend, as long as you aren't getting paid in the process.
(Colorado Department of Revenue: Permanent Rules Related to the Colorado Retail Marijuana Code, p. 36, 48, section C)
Where and when can people purchase marijuana?
Licensed retail shops began selling recreational marijuana on Jan. 1, 2014. The shops were previously medical marijuana dispensaries and may or may not have chosen to continue to sell medical products in addition to retail products. Shops have hours mandated by the state, much like liquor stores, so no purchases can be made before 8 a.m. (Colorado Department of Revenue: Permanent Rules Related to the Colorado Retail Marijuana Code, p. 42, 48, section A; The Denver Post)
How much can individuals buy?
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In a single transaction, Colorado residents can purchase up to 1 ounce, while out-of-state visitors can purchase 1/4 ounce. All adults 21 and older can possess up to 1 ounce on their person. Researchers have concluded the average joint contains slightly less than a half-gram of marijuana. An ounce is slightly more than 28 grams, so 1 ounce equals approximately 60 joints. (Colorado Department of Revenue: Permanent Rules Related to the Colorado Retail Marijuana Code, p. 48, section D; The Denver Post)
Why are marijuana stores having trouble with banks?
The issue is rooted in the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act of 1970, commonly called the Bank Secrecy Act, which regulates how banks must report and respond to transactions believed to be linked to illegal activity. Marijuana sales are sanctioned in Colorado by the state government, but they remain illegal federally, leaving banks and businesses in a legal limbo. (The New York Times)
Where can people legally smoke or consume marijuana?
The only place it's 100 percent OK to consume marijuana is in a private residence, with permission from the owner. Most ski areas are on federal land, where marijuana use and possession is still illegal — same with national parks, national forests and national monuments. Hotels and resorts can institute their own smoking policies. Under Colorado's Clean Indoor Air Act, marijuana smoking isn't allowed anywhere that cigarette smoking is also banned. Consumption is specifically banned in any state-licensed marijuana facility. (Colorado Clean Indoor Air
Act; Colorado Department of Revenue: Permanent Rules Related to the Colorado Retail Marijuana Code, p. 49)
Can people take marijuana out of Colorado?
Definitely not. Every city and county in Colorado has its own marijuana regulations, so even transporting from place to place within the state can be tricky. It is still illegal to transport marijuana across state lines, even if it was purchased legally in Colorado. Denver International Airport announced it is against the law to take marijuana into the airport, as well. (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. The state's rules require shops have security cameras pointed at the cash register, the entrances and the exits. (Amendment 64, p. 8, section C; Colorado Department of Revenue: Permanent Rules Related to the Colorado Retail Marijuana Code, p. 37)
What can people grow?
Adults can grow up to six plants in their own home, three of which can be flowering at once, and in a locked, contained space. It is legal to keep the resulting harvest of the plants at home, even if the amount exceeds 1 ounce. Individuals can only transport 1 ounce or less. However, landlords are also allowed to create policies for their private properties.
(Colorado Amendment 64, p. 4, section 3)
What about safety concerns?
Many shops must be located at least 1,000 feet away from schools, and the state has mandated any marijuana products must be sold in childproof packaging. Certain marketing has also been banned, in hopes of limiting exposure to children. Sharing or giving marijuana to minors is a crime, which carries 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)
Can employers still fire people from jobs for smoking marijuana?
Yes, employers still can fire workers for using it, on or off duty. State law gives employers total authority to impose any drug regulations they wish. (The Denver Post)
Are people allowed to drive?
A state law creates a preset limit for drivers, similar to alcohol. Drivers with a reading of 5 nanograms of active THC in their systems will be considered impaired and will be cited. It is illegal to smoke or eat marijuana in a moving vehicle, but it may be carried as long as it is in a closed container. (Colorado House Bill 13-1325; http://www.colorado.gov)
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