Dooby Do’s and Don’ts: What you need to know about marijuana in Colorado
Can I purchase recreational marijuana?
Adults age 21 and older can legally buy marijuana products with a valid government ID (driver’s license or passport) in Colorado. At dispensaries, you must present an ID before entering the sales floor. On a busy day, there might be a short wait.
(Colorado.gov; Colorado Department of Revenue: Permanent Rules Related to the Colorado Retail Marijuana Code)
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 the individual suffers from a qualifying condition and may benefit from marijuana. Minors under the age of 18 must have parental consent prior to such medical use, obtain a registration ID card for the minor and have his or her guardian act as the primary caregiver.
(Article XVIII, section 14, Medical Use of Marijuana for Persons Suffering from Debilitating Medical Conditions)
How much can I buy?
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a new law in June 2016 allowing out-of-state residents to purchase the same amount of pot as in-state residents. Now, anyone 21 or older can now buy up to 28 grams, one ounce, of marijuana product per transaction.
(Colorado.gov, House Bill 16-1261, Section 8)
How much can I carry?
Adults ages 21 and older may have up to one ounce of cannabis at any time, and a Colorado resident with a medical card may have up to two ounces of usable marijuana. Marijuana may be carried in vehicles, but it must be kept in a closed container. If the seal has been broken, the contents have been partially removed or there is evidence of consumption within the vehicle, it is a violation of Colorado’s Open Container Law. Needless to say, passengers in cars 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?
Just like drunk driving, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal. Similar to alcohol, there’s a legal threshold for an established level of impairment in Colorado, and drivers found with five nanograms of THC per milliliter in their bloodstream can be prosecuted for DUI.
(Colorado House Bill 13-1325; 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. (Colorado.gov; The Denver Post)
Do dispensaries accept credit cards?
Although some dispensaries remain limited to crash transactions, many now accept debit and credit cards. The ones that don’t accept credit and debit cards will generally have an ATM available.
Where can I legally consume cannabis?
You may not consume marijuana in any form — smoking, eating or vaping — in a public place of any kind, and private property is your best bet. However, property owners and hotels can ban the use and possession of marijuana so renters and guests may not be allowed to have marijuana in their homes and rooms.
Under Colorado’s Clean Indoor Air Act, smoking marijuana is not permitted anywhere that cigarette smoking is also banned, and marijuana is prohibited on federal land, including the ski slopes, national forests, 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 grow my own?
In Colorado, an adult may grow up to six plants in his or her home, with as many as three flowering, at any time. A new law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2018, caps all residences statewide at 12 plants, unless certain requirements are met. Plants must be grown inside, in an enclosed, locked space, out of the open, and not in public view. It is legal to keep the resulting harvest, but only licensed businesses may sell marijuana products. (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 someone age 21 or older for “no remuneration.” Essentially, people can give marijuana away as long as they don’t receive payment, a gift or any kind of exchange in return for it. Under state law, only licensed stores may sell marijuana products.
(Colorado State Constitution, Article XVIII, Section 16: Personal Use and Regulation of Marijuana)
Can I get fired for consuming marijuana?
Despite legalization, employers can still drug test employees for marijuana and make employment decisions based on the results. A 2015 Colorado Supreme Court decision upheld employers’ ability to fire employees for consuming retail or medical marijuana, on or off duty. Under federal law, marijuana remains a controlled substance, and schools, universities and employers can set their own rules and consequences for marijuana use under Colorado. (The Denver Post, Colorado.gov)
Does anyone know who is purchasing marijuana? Amendment 64 prohibits a list of marijuana purchasers, but state rules require shops to keep 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)
What safety restrictions are there?
Colorado law requires shops to be located at least 1,000 feet away from schools. Local governments may impose additional restrictions, such as setting a minimum distance from neighborhoods, parks or places of worship. The state has also mandated marijuana products must be sold in childproof packaging with clear labeling showing the marijuana symbol, a red triangle framing the letters “THC” and an exclamation point. 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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