Everyone knows Colorado is a great place to live if you wish to have legal access to marijuana. Whether for medical use or recreational enjoyment, residents of Denver and all over the Centennial State may buy, smoke, transport, and even grow cannabis as long as they play by the rules. It is also important to remember that although the regulated use of the drug is legal in the state, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, and so under federal law marijuana use is still illegal.
But when is it okay to use or possess, and when is it not? And what are the penalties if you break the law? Finding out more, especially if you have fallen on the wrong side of the law, is essential in order to understand your rights while building a defense to fight charges.
What are the state laws regarding marijuana?
Individuals may buy, possess, grow, or use marijuana within certain parameters governed by statute. State law allows:
- anyone who is 21 or older to purchase, possess or use retail cannabis with a valid ID
- use of the drug on private property, with restrictions
- transport of the drug in a passenger car if it is in a sealed bag and unused
- purchase at license retail locations only
- possession of up to six cannabis plants to grow for personal use, with up to three plants growing at one time
- possession of up to two ounces for personal use
- access to medical marijuana only if the individual and a qualifying medical condition and a medical marijuana card
What are the penalties for violating Colorado marijuana laws?
Some people may not realize just how serious the penalties are for breaking the state’s marijuana laws. Felony conviction can lead to jail time, fines, and a record that may make it difficult to drive, apply for a loan, or get a job.
Offenses that can lead to felony charges include:
- Giving or sharing marijuana with anyone who is 21 or younger
- Using marijuana if the individual is not a U.S. citizen
- Unlicensed sale of more than four ounces
- Possession of more than 12 ounces
- Cultivation of more than six cannabis plants
It is also illegal to use marijuana on federal lands or in public areas, individuals cannot take or send marijuana out the state, and the penalties for impaired driving are quite serious.