Marijuana Laws in Colorado

With the passing of Amendment 64, adults 21 or older in Colorado can legally possess one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana or THC.

Possession
f you are an adult 21 years of age or older, you can now legally possess 1 ounce of marijuana in Colorado. The way the amendment is worded actually allows for possession of 1 ounce of THC. This is great news because in addition to flower (bud), you can also enjoy many types of concentrates, edibles, topicals, etc. during your visit. Cannabis seeds are also available for sale in Colorado.
As long as you are 21 years or older, you have a constitutional right to possess and consume marijuana in Colorado. You will need a government-issued identification to prove you are 21 years or older, so a drivers license or passport would be sufficient enough. Note that you don't need to be a Colorado resident to possess cannabis and there isn't any type of registration system.
Purchasing Limits
Previously, tourists in Colorado were restricted to purchasing 7 grams or less, while Colorado residents could purchase up to 28 grams.  This law changed in June 2016, and now both tourists and residents can purchase 28 grams in a single transaction.
As of October 1st, 2016 the laws have changed.

The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) in Colorado performed studies to determine what the THC equivalent of concentrates and edibles are in relation to marijuana in flower form. They argue that since products such as concentrates have a much higher level of THC, then you shouldn’t be able to purchase the same amount of concentrates as you can flower. As a result, the MED has issued ‘Marijuana Equivalency’ guidelines.

As of October 1st, 2016 the following rules with take effect in regards to recreational sales (medical sales remain unchanged):

1oz Flower = 8g of Concentrate (Shatter, Wax, etc)
1oz Flower = 800mg of Edibles
You can still mix and match, but it gets confusing. For example, you can purchase 2 grams of concentrate, but then you will be limited to buying an additional 3/4 oz of flower (as 2 grams of concentrate is now equivalent to 1/4oz of flower). These laws will be a big challenge for budtenders as they attempt to sell combinations of products while ensuring that the buyer is within the legal limits.

One important thing to note is these restrictions only apply to retail sales, not possession. You can legally possess up to 28 grams of concentrates or THC as defined in the Colorado Constitution.

​Store Hours
Currently, the state allows marijuana stores to operate from 8am until Midnight. Having said this, cities are allowed to establish their own rules within the allocated timeframe. For example, Denver stores must close by 7pm. If you're looking to purchase marijuana in Denver after 7pm, head to Aurora or Louisville, which allows stores to stay open until 10pm.

​Consumption
Amendment 64 does NOT permit the consumption of marijuana "openly and publicly." So before you start blazing those blunts while walking down the street, remember that you can still get a ticket for doing so, similar to open container laws for drinking in public.

​There are very few legal places that allow on-site consumption, unlike what you might find in Amsterdam. Unfortunately the prohibitionists had their way with this one. Although not banned outright, the Colorado legislature dealt a large blow to the opening of cannabis clubs by stating that they're not exempt from indoor clean air regulations, unlike cigar clubs. The exception to this rule are some new 'private' cannabis clubs where you can buy a day membership to consume. These clubs are relatively new, but many are not at the caliber that they should be. Some allow indoor smoking since they are 'private', others just allow inside vaping and outside smoking.
​Driving Under the Influence
A new DUI law is in effect in Colorado which sets a legal limit for the amount of active THC in your system while driving. The legal limit is 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood. This law was fiercely debated with the main issue being that people metabolize THC at different rates and as a result, the amount of impairment varies drastically from person to person. Unlike alcohol, where if you are over 0.08 you are impaired, it's hard to determine if a person is impaired or not based upon THC levels alone.

​The bottom line is be smart and don't drive under the influence.
​Federal Land and Properties in Colorado
Please be aware that your right to possess marijuana in Colorado does not apply when you are visiting national parks, national forests, monuments, or other federal properties such as courthouses. Also be aware that many ski areas are located on federal land (mainly just the actual ski runs, not the towns or base of the mountain).

​A recent review of federal court data by the AP showed that in 2013 through July, at least 135 people were cited for marijuana possession on federal land in Colorado. Although many of the federal park rangers are nice, we've met plenty that would like nothing more than to ruin your vacation -- the numbers above speak the truth. As always, make sure you take the necessary precautions.

Possession of marijuana on federal land is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000 on the first offense, along with a 15-day mandatory sentence that can be extended to two years in prison for a second offense. After that, perpetrators can receive a 90-day to three-year prison term, and a $5,000 fine.
*This website contains general information about legal matters.  The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.*