Colorado makes history on New Year's Day as the first state to allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use. However, there are a few things you should know when it comes to being able to use marijuana in Colorado.
How Did This Happen?
Voters approved Amendment 64 in 2012, which required the state of Colorado to regulate marijuana like alcohol.
The U.S. Attorney General’s office indicated that it would only interfere with legalized marijuana if the state businesses failed to keep it away from organized crime and kids.
How Much Can I Buy?
You can go to a liquor store and buy case after case of your favorite beer, but this is not the case for marijuana.
Colorado residents 21 and up can buy one ounce of weed. Out-of-state visitors can purchase only a quarter ounce. Retail marijuana shops will only accept cash. Credit/debit cards may NOT be used to purchase marijuana.
I Live in Wyoming. Can I Buy Retail Marijuana?
Yes. However, you are limited to buying only a 1/4 ounce. You may NOT take your purchase across the state border.
Where Can I Buy Marijuana?
Most medical marijuana dispenseries are NOT licensed to sell recreational marijuana.
In Northern Colorado, the cities and towns of Loveland, Berthoud, Estes Park, Wellington, Windsor, Johnstown and Timnath will NOT allow stores to open in city limits. Fort Collins voters allowed retail marijuana stores to open in the city, however, there is a temporary ban on the establishments that is set to expire in March.
There are two shops in Larimer County that will open in the first quarter of 2014. Larimer County has banned to sale of consumables (cookies, etc.) for retail marijuana businesses. Medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed to sell consumables.
In Denver, over 30 business licenses for retail marijuana businesses were issued; many of these shops will open on Wednesday, January 1. For a listing, visit the Denver Business Licensing Center at denvergov.org.
Where Can I Consume Marijuana?
It is ILLEGAL to consume marijuana in public. That means you can't partake in marijuana in a park, downtown or any other place. Use is only legal in certain locations not open or accessible to the public. Marijuana may not be consumed openly or publicly.
If you rent a home, your landlord may have stipulations that don't allow you to consume marijuana in your rental property.
Can I Have Marijuna in My Car?
Yes. Marijuana may be carried in cars but it may not be in an open container and cannot cross state boundaries. It is illegal to use or consume marijuana in a motor vehicle and it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.
Are There Laws About Driving "Stoned?"
Yes. It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana and it can result in a DUI, just like alcohol. According to CRS 42-4-1301, anyone with 5 nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter in whole blood while driving can be arrested for DUI.
How Does This Law Affect Drug-Free Workplace Rules?
While recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado, your employer is still allowed to regulate or prohibit the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or growing of marijuana in the workplace. Employers may also enact policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees.
It is best to contact your employer or HR representative about marijuana use and your job.
What About Medicinal Marijuana?
Medical marijuana requires a state red card, which can only be obtained by Colorado residents with a recommendation from a doctor that a patient suffers from a debilitating medical condition that may benefit from medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana patients can obtain marijuana from a licensed center, a primary care giver or self grow. For more information about medical marijuana, please visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment website at colorado.gov.
What Else Should I Know About Recreational Marijuana Laws in Colorado?
- Just like alcohol, it is illegal to give marijuana purchases to a minor under the age of 21.
- You may NOT take it out of state. This includes taking a flight from DIA.
- Sharing your marijuana is allowed, BUT it has to be less than an ounce, and no money may exchange hands.