Colorado Marijuana Legal Guide

Marijuana rules and regulations

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Possession of Marijuana

Two types of legal possession exist: medical and recreational.

"Marijuana" means all parts of the plant of the genus cannabis whether growing or not, the seeds thereof, the resin extracted from any part of the plant, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds, or its resin, including marihuana concentrate.

Medical

Adults

  • Legal with a "red card".
  • A patient cannot have more than two ounces of a usable form of marijuana
  • No more than six marijuana plants, with three or fewer being mature, flowering plants that are producing a usable form of marijuana.
  • For quantities of marijuana in excess of these amounts, a patient or his or her primary care-giver may raise as an affirmative defense to charges of violation of state law that such greater amounts were medically necessary to address the patient's debilitating medical condition.

Minors

  • No patient under eighteen years of age shall engage in the medical use of marijuana unless, among a long list of other things, two physicians have diagnosed the patient as having a debilitating medical condition;
  • Otherwise, the sale, transfer, or dispensing of less than one ounce of marijuana or less than one-half ounce of marijuana concentrate to a minor if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor is a level 4 drug felony.

Recreational

  • Similar to alcohol, must be aged 21 or older.
  • Cannot possess more than one ounce of marijuana.
  • If you are wondering how much marijuana can you purchase in a transaction, you purchase and possess up to 1 ounce of retail marijuana at a time.
  • If you are a non-resident of Colorado, you will be restricted to sales of no more than a quarter ounce, or 7 grams, in a single transaction.
  • When transporting Marijuana, be aware that the open container crime exists. Just like with alcohol, if the seal on the bottle/container is not intact, make sure the container is the trunk, hatchback area, or behind the last seat of the vehicle.

Use of Marijuana / Where

  • Statutes make open and public display, consumption, or use of two ounces or less of marijuana commits a drug petty offense punishable by fine and/or community service.
  • A medical Marijuana patient may not engage in the medical use of marijuana in plain view of, or in a place open to, the general public.
  • Denver allows adults to smoke marijuana on their front porches and private property -- even if the pot smoking is in clear public view. However, since state law still forbids open and public use of Marijuana, do so at your own risk.

Cultivation

For quantities of marijuana in excess of these amounts, a patient or his or her primary care-giver may raise as an affirmative defense to charges of violation of state law that such greater amounts were medically necessary to address the patient's debilitating medical condition.

Home

A person may lawfully cultivate Marijuana if:

  1. Cultivating marijuana in an enclosed and locked space
  2. A person under twenty-one years of age lives at the residence, the cultivation area itself must be enclosed and locked; and
  3. If no person under twenty-one years of age lives at the residence, the "external locks" of the residence constitutes an enclosed and locked space. If a person under twenty-one years of age enters the residence, the person must ensure that access to the cultivation site is reasonably restricted for the duration of that person's presence in the residence.

Beware of zoning codes: Municipalities can, and have, enacted municipal codes regulating the effect of cultivation on the city. For example, many enforce their rules that the odor of the growing of Marijuana cannot be detectable outside the home. As such, if the smells are not controlled (such as by an air filtration system), and a zoning enforcement officer can detect growing marijuana from outside the home, expect a code violation, which can carry a jail sentence, fine, or both.

Commercial

Distribution / Sale

Sharing / Giving

Small amounts to an adult (Not sales): Transferring or dispensing not more than two ounces of marijuana from one person to another for no consideration is a drug petty offense and is not deemed dispensing or sale thereof.

Any larger amounts are criminal offenses. See below.

Sale

To an adult: sale, transfer, or dispensing of less than four ounces is a misdemeanor. Sale, transfer, or dispensing of four ounces or more is a felony.

To a minor: the sale, transfer, or dispensing any marijuana or any marijuana concentrate to a minor if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor is a felony.

Driving under the influence

Colorado's driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while ability impaired (DWAI) laws prohibit driving while under the influence of Marijuana.

Like alcohol, the law has defined a limit on THC content of blood. When a chemical test shows 5ng of THC in a driver's blood, it is similar to having a blood alcohol content of 0.08.

If a police officer smells marijuana or finds marijuana on you or in your car, and this helps the officer to build probable cause to arrest you for DUI, you face an expensive road defending yourself. Use good judgment and do not drive while impaired.

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