Do You Know the Marijuana Laws of Colorado?

Categories: Criminal Defense

weed laws

The passing of Amendment 64 in Colorado allows adults over the age of 21 years to possess and use up to one ounce of marijuana or THC. Most visitors to the state and residents are aware of this fact, but the limitations go far beyond that.

Even with the possession of a legal quantity, you could still be arrested. Therefore, you need to fully understand the marijuana laws of the state – especially when it comes to operating a motor vehicle, purchasing marijuana, or sharing it with a friend.

Colorado was one of the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use, but marijuana itself still falls under the Controlled Substances Act, which is a federal law. Therefore, regardless of what the state’s law says, you cannot apply Colorado’s laws to other states that still use the federal regulations.

How Much Marijuana Can You Legally Possess in Garfield, CO?

You must be an adult 21 years of age or older to legally possess any amount of marijuana in Colorado. You must have a government-issued identification card showing your age, such as driver’s license, and you can only possess one ounce at a time.

If you are visiting Colorado, you can use an out-of-state driver’s license to establish your age.

As of October 1, 2016, the laws have slightly changed as far as how much marijuana you can possess. Under the findings of the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED), edibles and concentrates are more potent than actual marijuana; therefore, they have modified amounts to ensure individuals are not purchasing a high volume of marijuana.

Here are the possession limits:

  • 1 ounce of marijuana
  • 8g of concentrate
  • 800mg of edibles

You can mix and match your possession, but you cannot go over the one-ounce total rule.

The State Imposes Purchasing Limits

You must purchase your marijuana from a legal repository – not a private source. While you can only possess one ounce at a time, you can buy up to 28 grams of concentrate or THC in a single purchase. Initially, tourists were limited to only 7 grams, but this has changed and now tourists and residents both have the right to purchase up to 28 grams in a single transaction.

What Is a Transaction?

Some stores are unsure how to approach the term “transaction,” because the law is vague. Most retailers in the state err on the side of caution, which means they will only allow you to purchase up to 28 grams per day.

It Is Still a Crime to Drive Under the Influence of Marijuana

An important rule to remember is that like alcohol, you cannot operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.

The law states that you cannot operate a vehicle if you have more than five nanograms of active THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in your system. If you are over the limit of 5 nanograms, you can be arrested and charged with a DUI. Officers are not required to test your blood at the scene either; therefore, if you appear to be under the influence of marijuana, they can arrest you.

You Should Not Refuse a Blood Test

While you might assume that refusing a blood test will get you out of a DUI – you should think again. The state of Colorado will automatically revoke your driver’s license for a test refusal. Also, you will be automatically considered a high-risk driver, which may mean:

  • An ignition interlock device for up to two years;
  • Taking level-two alcohol and drug education classes;
  • Attending alcohol and drug therapy courses.

The Penalty for Possessing Too Much

If you are arrested and possess over the one-ounce rule, you could face harsh penalties. If you have under one ounce, you cannot face penalties for possession.

Also, you can privately cultivate up to six marijuana plants in your residence – if no more than three are mature.

Once you are over the one-ounce possession limit or more than six mature plants, the penalties do start to add up, including:

  • Possession of 1 – 2 Ounces: You face a petty drug offense which includes a maximum fine of $100. You must attend a court hearing, and failure to appear in court is a class 3 misdemeanor, which includes up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $750.
  • Possession of 2 to 6 Ounces: Now you face a level 2 drug misdemeanor, which can include up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $700.
  • Possession of 6 to 12 Ounces: This is a level 1 drug misdemeanor which includes up to 18 months imprisonment and a fine ranging from $500 to $5,000.
  • Possession of more than 12 Ounces: Over 12 ounces results in a level 4 drug felony, which includes six months to two years in prison, and a fine ranging from $1,000 to as much as $100,000.

Possession with the Intent to Distribute

The law allows for one ounce because they have determined this is an adequate volume for personal use. Over the one-ounce mark, you put yourself at risk for not only harsh penalties for possession, but a potential possession with the intent to distribute charge as well.

Possession with the intent to distribute is a severe charge. If you have 8 ounces of marijuana or more, you are likely to face possession with the intent to distribute.

Possession of More Than 3 Mature Plants

You can legally grow up to six plants in your residence, but no more than three can be fully mature. If you have more than six plants in your home, you will face a level 1 drug misdemeanor that includes six to 18 months imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.

If you have more than six plants, but less than 30, the penalties increase to a level 4 drug felony, and you may face six months to two years imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000.

Arrested for Marijuana Crimes? Speak with a Defense Attorney Immediately

If you have been arrested for a marijuana-related crime, you need a drug defense attorney in Colorado. Attorney Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C. can help you with your case. He has years of experience handling cases just like yours.

Schedule a no-obligation consultation for your criminal case today by calling 970-704-0888 or request more information online.

Mark Rubinstein

Attorney Mark S. Rubinstein has been practicing law for more than 30 years, including 25 years in Colorado. He founded Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., in Carbondale after working for law firms in Denver and earlier in his career in San Diego. He focuses his practice in the areas of criminal defense and personal injury representation, and he is well known throughout western Colorado as an effective and unwavering advocate for his clients.