Although two Colorado State constitutional amendments have made the possession of marijuana legal under Colorado law, citizens and visitors must use caution.
Marijuana remains illegal under the Controlled Substance Act of the Federal Government. Local law enforcement officers usually do not enforce federal laws, however, large grow operations or egregious overages in plant counts may be reported to federal authorities. The possession or use of marijuana on federal lands (about 70 percent of the county) remains illegal as does the use of marijuana in public.
Products infused with marijuana as well as marijuana leaf products are sold in licensed retail outlets. Caution should be taken when using infused products as the effects take longer to be felt, causing persons to consume too much in too short a time frame; several hospitalizations across the state have already occurred because of this. Marijuana stores have trained staff (well, at least experienced) that understand the law, their products and can advise citizens and visitors how best to consume their product.
You must be 21 years of age to possess or use marijuana unless you're a medical marijuana patient. Colorado residents may possess up to one ounce of marijuana at a time; non-residents may possess only ¼ ounce of marijuana.
Marijuana Use and Driving
Driving under the influence of marijuana is as illegal as driving under the influence of alcohol. Generally marijuana stays in your body longer and even though you may feel capable of driving, the level of marijuana intoxication could be over the limit for an extended period of time (days). Marijuana inside a motor vehicle, just like alcohol, must be in a sealed container, cannot be removed from its container and cannot be consumed within the vehicle.
Marijuana Growth for Personal Use
If you choose to grow marijuana under the adult use marijuana laws, you may have in your possession no more than 3 mature plants and 3 immature plants. If you possess more plants than allowed you may be charged with a felony offense.
Your grow operation must be hidden from public view, not accessible to anyone under 21 years of age and must be contained within a closed and locked space. An "immature plant" means "a nonflowering marijuana plant that is no taller than eight inches." A person may not possess more than one ounce of marijuana used for recreational purposes. No person may sell marijuana in any amount or form, for any reason, without a state license.
The manufacturing of marijuana concentrates (hash oil, shatter, bubble hash, dab, honey oil, etc.) or altering the marijuana plant through any chemical process without a license from the State of Colorado is a felony offense.
It is unlawful to take marijuana legally purchased or grown in Colorado outside the state. Neighboring states have strict laws regarding marijuana and you may be arrested, fined and/or jailed for possessing marijuana in those states.
If you claim to be a "caregiver grower" to a medical marijuana patient:
- The person you are caring for must be suffering from a debilitating condition. (if the patient is also a snowboarder this is probably not going to be acceptable to the Sheriff). Just needing someone or someplace to grow marijuana does not make the patient debilitated.
- You must have a significant responsibility for managing the well-being of the patient (cooking for, driving, cleaning the house, changing clothes etc.). If your patient lives in Denver and you are growing in Telluride this will not be an acceptable relationship.
- You must register your grow with the Colorado Department of Revenue prior to starting your grow and before a Deputy Sheriff comes knocking on your door. Registration forms can be obtained on the Colorado Department of Revenue's web page.
- Caregivers may not transport marijuana, marijuana concentrate, marijuana edibles, or marijuana plants to their patients. The only exception to this is if the patient's medical marijuana card states the patient is "homebound". If the patient is listed on their card as homebound the caregiver can only transport two ounces of marijuana product at one time to the patient. The caregiver must have the patient's registration card in their possession during the time of transport.
- Violations could result in criminal prosecution of the caregiver, the forfeiture of the caregiver's card and the revocation of the patient's medical marijuana card.
If you have any questions please contact the attorney of your choice that has experience in marijuana laws. For information on recreational marijuana visit the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. For more information on medical and retail Marijuana industries visit the Department of Revenue Marijuana Enforcement Division site.