Legal Marijuana Use in Colorado

Legal Marijuana Consumption in Colorado

Every year millions of people travel to Colorado for the rugged beauty and outdoor recreation of the Rocky Mountains or the dining and nightlife of Denver. After the passage of Colorado Constitutional Amendment 64 in November of 2012, Colorado visitors found another way to experience the “Rocky Mountain High”, recreational marijuana. If you are traveling to Colorado and plan to participate in the marijuana market, make sure you do not run afoul of the law. 

Purchase One Ounce or Less of Marijuana from a Licensed Dispensary

Legally purchasing marijuana in Colorado is as easy as walking into a recreational marijuana dispensary. Adults 21 and over can purchase up to one ounce of marijuana at a licensed dispensary. If you are not a Colorado medical marijuana patient, you may not possess more than one ounce of marijuana. 

Keep Marijuana in a Sealed Container While in Your Car

While traveling on Colorado roads, all marijuana must be in a sealed container. If you have an open container of marijuana in the passenger area of a vehicle when stopped by a police officer, you face up to a $50 fine. 

Do not Transport Marijuana Outside the State of Colorado

Marijuana is still illegal at the Federal level. For that reason, transporting marijuana outside the State of Colorado can be a federal offense. You cannot drive, hike, bike, or mail your Colorado Marijuana out of state. Further, the surrounding States of Kansas, Wyoming, and Nebraska all prohibit the possession of recreational marijuana. If stopped in one of the Colorado surrounding states with Colorado marijuana, you may be charged with possession of a controlled substance or worse.

If you find yourself at the Colorado Springs or Aspen/Pitkin County Airport with marijuana in your possession, you can leave the marijuana in a designated “Amnesty Box.” Denver International Airport (DIA) prohibits the possession of marijuana at the facility, so you will not find an amnesty box at DIA. 

Do not smoke and drive

Just like alcohol, driving under the influence of marijuana is a crime. Suppose you are stopped and suspected of being under the influence of marijuana. In that case, a police officer may ask you to perform a series of standard field sobriety tests (SFST) to determine if you are under the influence of marijuana. The SFST may consist of an eye examination or divided attention tests. Suppose the officer believes they have probable cause to arrest you for driving under the influence of marijuana. In that case, the officer will offer you a blood test to determine your level of intoxication.

Under Colorado law, you are presumptively intoxicated if your blood contains more than five nanograms of active tetra hydra cannibal, otherwise known as THC or the psychoactive component to the marijuana plant. By driving in the state of Colorado, you have already consented to this chemical test. If you choose to refuse the chemical, test you may lose your license for one year.

Several costly consequences follow a conviction for driving under the influence. If convicted of driving under the influence, you may lose your license for a year and face a sentence of probation to 1-year in the county jail.    

You cannot Possess or Consume Marijuana at the Ski Resort. 

You cannot possess or consume marijuana while skiing in Colorado. Most Colorado ski resorts are located on federal land, and marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Because marijuana is illegal under federal law, you cannot possess marijuana on federal land. 

The Colorado Ski Safety Act prohibits skiing while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or other controlled substance. Skiing while intoxicated is a class two petty offense punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars. 

Public Consumption is Illegal  –  Ask your hotel or Airbnb if they are “420 friendly” 

Public consumption of marijuana is a crime punishable by a $100 fine or 24 hours of community service. If you are traveling to Colorado and want a safe place to consume your marijuana, confirm that your hotel or Airbnb is marijuana (or “420”) friendly.