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state of colorado marijuana

LEARN | LAWS & REGULATIONS

Colorado

Is weed legal In Colorado?

Yes. Both adult-use and medical marijuana are legal in the state of Colorado.

Legislation history

The Colorado Marijuana Legalization Amendment, also known as Amendment 64 , was approved by voters on Nov. 6, 2012. Amendment 64 legalized recreational cannabis for adults 21 and older, and established sales and cultivation taxes. It was codified into Colorado’s constitution as article XVIII, section 16 .

Medical cannabis has been legal in the Centennial State since 2000 when voters approved Initiative 20 , which became Amendment 20 and was codified into Colorado’s constitution as article XVIII, section 14 . It legalized medical marijuana and created an identification card system for patients and their caregivers. The medical and recreational laws were later combined into the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) Title 44, Article 10 .

In 2019 the state passed HB 1230 , which created new business licenses for marijuana lounges, tasting rooms, and other cannabis-based hospitality businesses, allowing consumers to consume marijuana and marijuana-infused products purchased elsewhere.

Colorado marijuana laws and Colorado’s adult-use marijuana industry are regulated by the Colorado Department of Revenue (CDOR). It also provides regulatory oversight and licensing for medical marijuana production, distribution, testing, and sales. The Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry is regulated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

Where is it safe to purchase?

Adults 21 and older and medical marijuana patients may legally purchase marijuana from any state-licensed dispensary . If patients are unable to make the transaction themselves, they may also designate a caregiver to purchase and deliver medical marijuana on their behalf. Patients may choose to purchase from dispensaries that only sell to registered patients.

Medical marijuana and medical marijuana products are subject to the state’s sales tax. Retail marijuana and marijuana-infused products are exempt from this sales tax but they are subject to a 15% retail marijuana tax , which is added to the final retail purchase price. In addition, wholesalers pay a 15% excise tax on their first sale to a processor or retailer. That tax gets built into the retail price.

Cannabis delivery is allowed for medical marijuana patients in Colorado. Delivery for all adult-use marijuana begins Jan. 2, 2021. Travelers cannot bring marijuana to Denver International Airport or any other airport.

Finding licensed dispensaries in Colorado

Adult-use consumers and medical marijuana cardholders can find licensed dispensaries in Colorado and search by major metro areas including Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Denver. Many dispensaries offer delivery and curbside pickup services in addition to storefront sales.

Where is it safe to consume?

It is legal to consume medical or recreational cannabis in private. Colorado also licenses “hospitality establishments” — lounges, tasting rooms, and other locations where customers can purchase and consume marijuana and marijuana-infused products.

It is illegal to use or consume cannabis in a motor vehicle, and it is illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis.

Possession

While adult-use and medical marijuana in Colorado is legal, there are still legal limits to how much one may possess.

Adults 21 and older may possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana or cannabis-infused products and 8 grams of concentrates.

Adults may also give away up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of usable cannabis to another adult 21.

Qualifying patients and their caregivers may legally possess up to 2 ounces (57 grams) usable cannabis.

View the marijuana laws & regulations for Colorado.

Colorado Laws and Penalties

Possession

Personal Use
With Intent to Distribute

Sale or Distribution

Cultivation

Hash & Concentrates

Possession
Distribute, Transfer, or Possess with Intent

Paraphernalia

Penalty Details

Possession for Personal Use

Private possession by persons 21 years of age or older of up to one ounce is no penalty. Private cultivation of up to six marijuana plants, with no more than three being mature is no penalty. Transfer of one ounce or less for no remuneration is no penalty.

  • Colo. Const. Art. XVIII, Section 16(3) Web Search

Possession of more than 1 – 2 ounces is a drug petty offense that is punishable by a maximum fine of $100. The offender will be summoned and a court appearance is mandatory. Failure to appear in court is a Class 3 misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $750.

Possession of more than 2 to 6 ounces of marijuana is a level 2 drug misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1-year imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $700.

Possession of more than 6 ounces to 12 ounces is a level 1 drug misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to eighteen months of imprisonment and a fine of $500 – $5000.

Possession of more than 12 ounces is a level 4 drug felony which is punishable by 6 months – 2 years of imprisonment, as well as a fine between $1,000-$100,000.

One who openly and publicly displays, uses, or consumes 2 ounces of marijuana or less is guilty of a drug petty offense and may be subject to24 hours of community service as well as a maximum fine of $100.

  • § 18-1.3-401.5 Web Search
  • § 18-1.3-501 Web Search
  • §§ 18-18-406(4), (5) Web Search

Possession with Intent to Distribute

Possession of 8 ounces of marijuana or more is a lesser-included offense of possession with the intent to distribute. Each element of the possession offense is included except the quantity, which is a sentence enhancer, not an essential element of the offense.

  • People v. Garcia, 251 P.3d 1152 (Colo. App. 2010). Web Search

Sale or Distribution

Transfer of one ounce or less for no remuneration by persons 21 years of age or older is no penalty.

  • Colo. Const. Art. XVIII, Section 16 Web Search

Retail sales of cannabis by state-licensed entities to those over the age of 21 are regulated in this state. Marijuana sales by unlicensed entities remain subject to criminal penalties.

The sale of 4 ounces or less of marijuana is a level 1 drug misdemeanor punishable by 6-18 months imprisonment as well as a fine between $500-$5,000.

The sale of more than 4 ounces, but not more than 12 ounces of marijuana is a level 4 drug felony and punishable by a sentence of 6 months – 2 years and a fine of $ 1,000 – $ 100,000.

The sale of more than 12 ounces but not more than 5 pounds of marijuana is a level 3 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 2 – 6 years and a fine of $ 2,000 – $ 500,000.

The sale of more than 5 pounds but not more than 50 pounds of marijuana is a level 2 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 4 – 16 years and a fine of $ 3,000 – $ 750,000.

The sale of more than 50 pounds of marijuana is a level 1 drug felony and punishable by a sentence of 8 – 32 years and a fine of $ 5,000 – $ 1,000,000.

  • § 18-1.3-401.5 Web Search
  • § 18-1.3-501 Web Search
  • § 18-18-406(2)(b) Web Search

To a Minor:

The sale, transfer, or dispensing of not more than 1 ounce of marijuana to a minor if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor is a level 4 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 6 months – 2 years and a fine of $ 1,000 – $ 100,000.

The sale, transfer, or dispensing of more than one ounce, but not more than six ounces of marijuana to a minor if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor is a level 3 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 2 – 6 years and a fine of $ 2,000 – $ 500,000.

The sale, transfer, or dispensing of more than 6 ounces, but not more than 2.5 pounds of marijuana to a minor if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor is a level 2 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 4 – 16 years and a fine of $ 3,000 – $ 750,000.

The sale, transfer, or dispensing of more than 2.5 pounds of marijuana to a minor if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor is a level 1 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 8 – 32 years and a fine of $ 5,000 – $ 1,000,000.

  • § 18-1.3-401.5 Web Search
  • § 18-1.3-501 Web Search
  • § 18-18-406(1) Web Search

Cultivation

There is no penalty in Colorado for persons who privately cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants, with no more than 3 being mature.

  • Colo. Const. Art. XVIII, Section 16(3) Web Search

The cultivation of 6 plants or fewer is a level 1 drug misdemeanor punishable by 6-18 months imprisonment as well as a fine between $500-$5,000, if not at least 21 years of age.

The cultivation of more than 6 but not more than 30 plants is a level 4 drug felony punishable by 6 months – 2 imprisonment as well as a fine between $1,000-$100,000.

The cultivation of more than 30 plants is a level 3 drug felony punishable by 2-6 years imprisonment as well as a fine between $2,000-$500,000.

  • § 18-1.3-401.5 Web Search
  • § 18-1.3-501 Web Search
  • 18-18-406(3) of the Colorado Revised Statutes Web Search

Hash & Concentrates

Private possession by persons 21 years of age or older of up to one ounce is no penalty.

  • Colo. Const. Art. XVIII, Section 16 Web Search

Possession of more than 1 – 3 ounces of hashish or extracts is a level 1 misdemeanor punishable by a fine between $500 and $5,000 dollars and/or a term of imprisonment between 6 and 18 months.

Possession of more than 3 ounces of marijuana concentrate commits a level 4 drug felony punishable by 6 months – 2 years imprisonment as well as a fine between $1,000-$100,000.

  • § 18-1.3-401.5 Web Search
  • § 18-1.3-501 Web Search
  • § 18-18-406(4) Web Search

The sale of 2 ounces or less of marijuana concentrate is a level 1 drug misdemeanor punishable by 6 -18 months imprisonment as well as a fine between $500-$5,000.

The sale of more than 2 ounces – 6 ounces of marijuana concentrate is a level 4 drug felony punishable by 6 months -2 years imprisonment as well as a fine between $1,000-$100,000.

The sale of more than 6 ounces – 2.5 pounds of marijuana concentrate is a level 3 drug felony punishable by 2 – 6 years imprisonment as well as a fine between $5,000-$500,000.

The sale of more than 2.5 – 25 pounds is a level 2 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 4 – 16 years and a fine of $ 3,000 – $ 750,000.

The sale of more than 25 pounds is a level 1 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 8 – 32 years and a fine of $ 5,000 – $ 1,000,000.

  • § 18-1.3-401.5 Web Search
  • § 18-1.3-501 Web Search
  • § 18-18-406(2)(b) Web Search

Sale to a Minor:

The sale, transfer, or dispensing of more than 1 pound of marijuana concentrate to a minor if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor is a level 1 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 8 – 32 years and a fine of $ 5,000 – $ 1,000,000.

The sale, transfer, or dispensing of more than 3 ounces, but not more than 1 pound of marijuana concentrate to a minor if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor is a level 2 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 4 – 16 years and a fine of $ 5,000 – $ 750,000.

The sale, transfer, or dispensing of more than .5 ounces, but not more than 3 ounces, of marijuana concentrate to a minor if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor is a level 3 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 2 – 6 years and a fine of $ 2,000 – $ 500,000.

The sale, transfer, or dispensing of not more than .5 ounces 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 punishable by a sentence of 6 months – 2 years and a fine of $ 1,000 – $ 100,000.

  • § 18-1.3-401.5 Web Search
  • § 18-1.3-501 Web Search
  • § 18-18-406(1) Web Search

Paraphernalia

Possession of paraphernalia is a drug petty offense that is punishable by a fine of up to $100.

  • § 18-18-428 of the Colorado Revised Statutes Web Search

More Information
Conditional Release

The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual’s criminal record does not reflect the charge.

Drugged Driving

Every state criminalizes driving under the influence of a controlled substance. Some jurisdictions also impose additional per se laws. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold. Read further information about cannabinoids and their impact on psychomotor performance. Additional information regarding cannabinoids and proposed per se limits is available online.

Expungement

This state has enacted legislation explicitly providing the opportunity for those with marijuana convictions for activities that have since been decriminalized/legalized to have their record expunged.

Legalization

Generally, legalization means a policy that supports a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers can buy marijuana for personal use from a safe legal source.

Medical Marijuana

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective.

Colorado Laws and Penalties Possession Personal Use With Intent to Distribute Sale or Distribution Cultivation Hash & Concentrates Possession Distribute, Transfer, or Possess ]]>