Marijuana Laws in Colorado, USA
Marijuana, bhang or cannabis is an extract of the cannabis plant that is intended to be used as a psycho-active drug as well as medicine. Its principal psycho-active element is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Colorado is one of the only two states in the United States – the other being Washington State – to have passed laws to legalize the use of recreational marijuana on November 6, 2012. The Colorado cannabis laws approved the use medical marijuana in 2000, and since then, the state has seen a major boom in marijuana dispensaries, trade-shows and other related businesses. So far, 20 US states and the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) have legalized the smoking of cannabis for medical purposes.
In the state of Colorado, the two policies/laws regarding the possession and use of cannabis, i.e. for recreational use and for medicinal use have been distinguished and defined separately but in the same Amendment 64.
Possession of Marijuana
Since Amendment 64 was enacted as the major body of marijuana laws in Colorado, people who are 21 or older in the state can legally possess at most one ounce (i.e. 28 grams) of marijuana. This means that in addition to cannabis buds and flowers, one may also enjoy other types of concentrated or edible forms of the drug. Marijuana seeds can also be purchased in Colorado.
This law does not apply to residents only but even visitors to Colorado, and there is no registration required; one just needs to be 21 and above to have the constitutional right of possession and consumption of marijuana. But of course you need a government-issued identification to confirm that you are actually 21 years or older. A passport or driver’s license should be sufficient for that.
Purchasing Limits and Consumption
Even though anybody 21 or older can possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis, Colorado non-residents are restricted to purchasing only a quarter of an ounce (i.e. 7 grams) per transaction. This law was enacted to block visitors to the state from moving from one retail-center to the next and stockpiling marijuana for export.
Since there is a difficulty in defining a transaction in this context, most recreational stores exercise caution by limiting a single service per person per day.
The legalization of recreational marijuana does not give leeway for its use openly and publicly. So, contrary to what a section of the American public in other states may expect, you will not meet people smoking marijuana down the streets of Denver or any other city in Colorado because it is illegal to do so. It is similar to open-container laws for alcohol drinking in public.
And there are no coffee-shops or cannabis bars like one may find for instance in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. An exception to this old rule are some new private cannabis clubs that are being licensed today, and where one can buy a day membership. Some of them are authorized to offer indoor-smoking since they have been licensed as private.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of Marijuana
A recently-enacted DUI law puts the legal limit for the total amount of cannabis in a driver’s millimeter of blood system at 5 nanograms. Opponents of this law say that people metabolize cannabis at different rates, and that also impairment to drive varies for different people. This debate has been ongoing and it does not seem to end, so just don’t smoke marijuana when you want to drive!
Cultivation of Marijuana
Colorado cannabis laws allow one to only plant up to 6 plants (no more than 3 mature to the level of flowering at the same time) in an enclosed and locked space.