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What are Colorado’s Marijuana Laws and Penalties?

On behalf of Dolan + Zimmerman LLP June 21, 2022

Although marijuana has been legalized in Colorado, there are still tight regulations and laws. For example, there is a limit on how much marijuana you can possess and what age you must be to possess it. If you were arrested or have any questions about the marijuana laws and penalties, contact us today for a consultation. 

Unlawful Possession Laws and Penalties

In Colorado, you are permitted to possess up to 2 ounces or marijuana if you are 21 years or older, as long as it is for personal use only. If you are caught with more than 2 ounces, you can be criminally charged and face jail time and fines. The potential sentence depends on how much marijuana you possessed.

Public Use is Illegal

Even though marijuana is legal in Colorado, public use is still prohibited. Using marijuana in any way, including vaping and eating, isn’t allowed in any public space. This includes sidewalks and common areas of apartment buildings or condominiums. The use of marijuana on federal lands is also illegal, as marijuana is still illegal federally. This often includes ski slopes.

Keep in mind that if you rent a house or apartment, you may not be able to use marijuana even though you are not in a public space. Property owners can ban the use and possession of marijuana on their properties. 

Colorado’s Marijuana Sale and Distribution Laws

The sale, delivery, or distribution of marijuana is a crime in Colorado unless you are a licensed retailer that is permitted to sell marijuana. Additionally, adults over the age of 21 can give up to 2 ounces of marijuana to another person who is 21 or older as long as they aren’t selling it. This includes marijuana that is homegrown as well. 

Colorado’s Marijuana Cultivation, Processing, or Manufacturing Laws

Six plants or fewer for personal use

A person 21 years old or older is eligible to cultivate up to 6 plants at one time, with a maximum of 3 plants flowering at one time. The 6-plant limit is per resident, so if there are 3 residents over the age of 21 in one house, it is permissible to have 18 plants. The plants must be grown in an enclosed, locked space that cannot be seen publicly. Marijuana cannot be planted in an outdoor garden, even if it is fenced. 

If there are residents under the age of 21, any marijuana growing area must be enclosed and locked in a separate place where the minors do not have access to it. If there are no residents under the age of 21, precautions must be made if there are minor visitors at the house. The minors cannot have access to the plants.

It’s important to note that certain counties and municipalities have stricter laws, limiting the number of plants. For example, in Denver, Colorado, a home is limited to 12 plants, regardless of the number of residents living in the house.

Drug Testing at Work is Permitted

Despite the fact that marijuana is legal in the state of Colorado, employers can still test employees for marijuana use and make employment decisions based on the outcome. 

If you need assistance or have any questions related to marijuana use, possession, sale, or anything else, contact us today for a consultation.