Understanding Colorado's New Marijuana Laws

Adults (21+) Can Now Legally Possess & Cultivate Marijuana

In November of 2012, Amendment 64 was enacted in Colorado. With the passing of this amendment, previous laws banning the recreational use of marijuana were effectively overruled. Now, any adult who is at least 21 years old can legally possess up to one ounce, or 28 grams, of marijuana without fear of criminal prosecution. They can also grow up to six cannabis plants, keep all marijuana that their plants produce, travel with up to one ounce of marijuana and even gift it to other adult citizens.

While medical marijuana laws still allow for the personal use of marijuana throughout many parts of the U.S., Colorado and Washington were the first to legalize the recreational use of this drug. As long as you are 21 years old, you now have a constitutional right to possess and consume marijuana in Colorado. You don't even have to be a resident, as there is no registration system in place. While this is great news for some, it is important to remember that there are still strict regulations that must be followed.

Some of the restrictions that regulate marijuana use in Colorado include:

  • You must be at least 21 years old to consume marijuana
  • Non-residents can only purchase 1/4 of an ounce at a time
  • No person can possess more than one ounce of THC
  • You cannot take legally purchased marijuana out of the state
  • You cannot consume marijuana openly and/or publicly
  • You cannot drive while under the influence of marijuana

The Penalties for Consuming or Displaying Marijuana in Public

Similar to the open container laws that regulate alcohol consumption, the new marijuana laws in Colorado also prohibit the open or public consumption of cannabis—even in concentrated or edible forms. Some people think that, as long as they are discrete, they won't be caught by police; however, the Denver Police Department issued more than 660 citations for public consumption of marijuana in the first three-quarters of 2014. This is a 470% increase when compared to the previous year.

The penalties for publicly consuming or displaying marijuana include:

  • Less than two ounces: punishable by up to $100 in fines and 15 days in jail
  • More than two ounces: punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and 12 months in jail

The Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

When the new marijuana law was passed in Colorado, so was a new DUI law. Under the new law, you could be arrested for DUI if you have a certain amount of active THC in your system while driving. More specifically, the legal limit is 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood. Although the specifics of this DUI law are highly debated, since everyone's body will metabolize THC at different rates, it is the law for now. The penalties for DUI of marijuana are the same as those imposed for drunk driving.

The Penalties for Possessing More than One Ounce of Marijuana

As previously mentioned, it is still illegal to possess more than one ounce of THC—which accounts for all forms of marijuana, be it the actual bud or a concentrated or edible form. If you are found to be in possession of more than one ounce, you could face criminal penalties. Depending on the amount that is uncovered, the penalties could be as mild as a $100 fine or as severe as several years in prison.

The penalties for possessing more than one ounce of cannabis includes:

  • Between one and two ounces: (class 2 petty offense) up to $100 in fines
  • Between two and six ounces: up to $1,000 in fines and 12 months in jail
  • Between six and twelve ounces: up to $5,000 in fines and 18 months in jail
  • More than twelve ounces: up to $100,000 in fines and 2 years in jail

Arrested for a marijuana crime? Geoff Heim, Attorney, LLC can help.

If you have been cited or arrested for a marijuana-related offense in Colorado Springs, including underage consumption, public consumption or even driving under the influence (DUI), you should waste no time in contacting my firm. I have defended hundreds of individuals against various criminal charges over the last 15 years, so you can count on me to provide the aggressive representation that you need.

I also have experience working as a former prosecutor, which could be highly beneficial to your defense. Don't wait – contact my firm today for a free initial consultation: (719) 722-3254.