Marijuana in Colorado

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(View Book (38 pages) in PDF format here): 8 things you must know about Marijuana in Colorado

Colorado Marijuana and DUI laws that not everyone knows.

(8 Things You Must Know About Marijuana In Colorado and Other Things the Government Won’t Tell You)

Copyright (c) 2015 by Law Offices of Laurie A. Schmidt

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the author.

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Colorado Marijuana laws


Recreational marijuana has been legal in Colorado for a little over a year. Early information is that most Colorado marijuana consumers are doing so in a responsible manner and consistent with the laws. After the passage of Amendment 64, the Colorado Amendment that decriminalized small amount of marijuana for recreational use1, state and local governments passed several laws that regulate many aspects of consumer marijuana display, use, and consumption. These laws are not complicated but consumers should be aware of the laws, limitations of the laws, and potential pitfalls of inadvertently violating a rule.

This consumer guide is an explanation of the current laws regarding marijuana in Colorado. It provides you the language of the state and some city laws, along with an explanation. Finally, we take a look at the federal prohibition and its effect on possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Consumer laws on marijuana focus on two areas where you can consume marijuana and prohibited activities while under the influence of marijuana.2 If you have more questions or would like to leave a comment, visit us at

1 See below for a detailed explanation
2 “If you or someone you know is charged with a crime, consider hiring an attorney. Try or call (303) 747-4686 for a FREE
2 “If you or someone you know is charged with a crime, consider hiring an attorney. Try guide to hire an attorney.”

or call (303) 747-4686 for a FREE

So, Let’s get started in talking about the laws and Marijuana in Colorado. A quick note to the reader, this book is organized into the following chapters, which can be used as a quick reference guide.

Chapter 1: Amendment 64: Your Rights
Chapter 2: Consumption of Marijuana in Colorado Chapter 3: Federal Areas Prohibit Any Marijuana Chapter 4: Ways to Get Arrested for Marijuana Chapter 5: DUI and Marijuana
Chapter 6: Marijuana and Persons Under Age Chapter 7: Edible Marijuana and Kids
Chapter 8: Marijuana, Denver International Airport and Leaving the State

Chapter 1
How Recreational Marijuana Became Legal in Colorado

In 2012, the voters of Colorado approved Amendment 64 (deals only with recreational marijuana). It did not take effect until January 1, 2014 to allow law enforcement and government time to adjust to legalized marijuana. Once the Amendment passed, it was included into the Colorado Constitution in Article 18, Section 16. We may refer to this as Amendment 64 throughout this booklet.

This is an important distinction because when voters approve a constitutional amendment, it gives us an additional right. This means that our state government cannot make any law that is inconsistent with Amendment 64 because a Constitutional Amendment will overrule any other state laws. In this case, this Amendment overrode all state and city laws criminalizing small amounts (less then one ounce) of marijuana by persons 21 years and older.

The Amendment has three important sections. The first section deals with the purpose of the Amendment, the second section deals with the regulations, and the third section deals with what you are allowed.


“In the interest of the efficient use of law enforcement resources, enhancing revenue for public purposes, and individual freedom, the people of the state of Colorado find and

declare that the use of marijuana should be legal for persons twenty-one years of age or older and taxed in a manner similar to alcohol.” See Art.XVIII, Section 16(a)(1).

This means that the reason to legalize recreational marijuana is three-fold, to preserve our individual choice, increase tax revenues, and to move law enforcement recourses away from marijuana enforcement to more important activities.

It can be argued that two of three stated purposes of legalization have been met. We are able to make a choice to consume or not consume marijuana. Additionally, after almost a year and half, the state has increased its revenues. In 2014, the State took in approximately 44 million dollars in revenue from tax on recreational marijuana sales. This does not include licensing fees or other costs that businesses had to pay to be allowed to sell recreational marijuana.

However, it appears that we may have fallen short in using law enforcement resources effectively. We have not seen a spike in criminal acts due to legalization; however, it is hard to take almost 60 years of demonizing marijuana to accepting its uses by many who are charged with enforcing our laws.

Many law enforcement agencies and district attorney’s offices have a hard time accepting that marijuana is now legal in Colorado. Look at areas such as Greeley and

Colorado Springs that do not allow recreational marijuana dispensaries to operate in their communities.

Additionally, many law enforcement agencies have increased spending on marijuana enforcement; especially in the alleged ability detect marijuana-impaired drivers.
Interesting, the National Highway, Traffic, and Safety Administration has not conclusively stated that marijuana or any amount of THC impairs driving. This is the organization that is supposed to provide studies and training to law enforcement regarding driving and impairment. Most of the data that has been released indicates that more research is needed to determine if marijuana can impair. It is always recommended NOT to drive if you are actively under the influence of any substance, including marijuana. See more in Chapter 5, DUI and Marijuana.


The second part of the Amendment, states that marijuana should be regulated similar to alcohol and requires that prior to selling marijuana to any person, he or she must present a valid id that shows he or she is over the age of 21. Marijuana must be labeled and sold by a licensed dispensary.

You will find many differences between the treatment of alcohol and marijuana. This will change as those against legalization and those that demonize marijuana start to fad out and a more realistic view is constructed in our society.


The following in Colorado are CONSTITUTIONALLY lawful for persons over the age of 21:
(a) Possessing, using, displaying, purchasing, or transporting marijuana accessories or one once or less of marijuana
(b) Possessing, growing, processing, or transporting no more than 6 marijuana plants, with three or fewer being mature, flowering plants, and possession of the marijuana produced by the plans on the premises where the plants were grown, provided that the growing takes place in an enclosed, locked space and is not made available for sale
(c) Transfer one ounce or less of marijuana without payment to someone 21 or over.

This means that you can legally, with the caveat that it is still illegal by federal law, posses up to one ounce of marijuana, marijuana paraphilia, and share marijuana with anyone over the age of 21. Now that you understand what you can do and where Colorado’s law comes from, we will now get into the details of regulation of Marijuana.

Chapter 2.
Public Areas and Marijuana in Colorado

Legally3, you can consume marijuana in the privacy and confines of your own home, including a patio or backyard. It does not matter if it is a house, apartment, condominium, a friends’ home, or if you rent. However, college students that live in a dorm should be aware of any policy that their University or school may have against consuming marijuana on university property, including a dorm room, even if you are over 21. If you are on vacation in Colorado, you may be allowed to consume marijuana in your hotel room. It would depend on the hotel policy.
Much like alcohol, you cannot smoke Marijuana in your car or have an “open container” of marijuana. You are allowed to transport marijuana in the car. It is recommended that you leave it in the sealed container to avoid unnecessary hassle from the police.

3 Although consumption of marijuana is legal according to Colorado State Law, it is not legal federally. See

Colorado State Law

Colorado puts all of its laws relating to marijuana in Colorado Revised Statute Section 18-18-406. This section is unnecessarily confusing, but you can find a summary of the various provisions below:

§18-18-406(5)(a)(I) prohibits the possession of two ounces or less of marijuana. In order to be legal, this provision is only enforceable if, for someone 21 or older, the amount at issue is over one ounce but less then two ounces. The punishment is a fine of not more than $100 and it would be considered a drug petty offense. This would be reportable on a criminal background check.

§18-18-406(5)(b)(I) prohibits a person from openly and publicly displaying, consuming, or using, two ounces or less of marijuana in public places. This is a drug petty offense that is punishable by up to a $100 fine and 24 hours of community service.

§18-18-406(4) lists the punishments for possession of more than 2 ounces of marijuana. If the amount in possession is over 2 ounces but less than 6 ounces of marijuana it is a level 2 drug misdemeanor. For amounts of more than 6 ounces to less than 12 ounces of marijuana is a level 1 drug misdemeanor and for possession of more than 12 ounces of marijuana is a level 4 drug felony.

A felony conviction of any type will result in a loss of rights, including the right to vote and the right to have a gun.

Both a drug misdemeanor and felonies could result in a jail sentence or require you to go through mandatory drug treatment at your cost. It would be expected that while the case is active, the court would order that you not use or possess marijuana and that you would be required to submit to random testing for the presence of THC.

A drug petty offense is like a disorderly conduct charge for violating a noise ordinance. It can appear on a criminal background check and it can prevent future employment.

Regardless of the classification, most drug convictions could have unintended consequences to your employment, post-secondary schooling, or licensing4. A drug charge could be sealable after a specific amount of time. This time can very from one year up to ten years. A sealable felony offense is not the same as expungement. It would still be on your record, just hidden from public view.

Note on openly displaying, consuming, or using marijuana

Colorado law prohibits openly displaying, consuming or using marijuana does not exempt a person with an ounce or les of marijuana. (This is section §18-18-406(5)(b)(I) above.) Meaning, in Colorado, it is illegal to publicly use,

4 For more information regarding a criminal conviction and your job, school, financial aid, licenses, or other concern go to or call (303) 747-4686 for an attorney referral.

consume, or even display marijuana. This law only focus on public places, which can include: bike paths, trails, golf courses, public buildings, parks, parking lots, open spaces, and shopping centers. The law prohibits not only consuming marijuana but also displaying marijuana. So, if you have marijuana with you as you are out and about, keep it in an enclosed non-transparent bag. This is why the dispensaries provide you the product in a durable, closed bag.

Arguably, this very broad law prohibiting the mere displaying of marijuana in public is a bit of an overreaction to legalization by those that are opposed to it. The portion of this law that prohibits displaying marijuana in public places could be contrary to Amendment 64 because it specifically requires the state to regulate marijuana in a similar manner as alcohol. After all, it’s not illegal to carry a six-pack of beer down the street, why would it be illegal to carry marijuana down the street. Until this gets sorted out, the safest way to transport marijuana from your local supplier to your home in the provided bag.

Denver City Ordinance

In addition to the above Colorado sate laws, many cities have ordinances that are more restrictive. The city of Denver, for example, has a city ordinance that prohibits a person from openly and publicly displaying or consuming an ounce or less of marijuana. This is a civil offense, meaning it is punished with a fine only if you are 21 or older. Because it would not be a criminal offense, it should be excluded from any criminal background checks and does not go on a

criminal record. Meaning that your employer would not find out about it.

A first offense of this city violation would result in a fine of $150.00, a second offense is $500.00 and a third and subsequent offense is a fine of $999.00.

Denver’s definition of what is open and public suffers the same vagueness as the state statute. The city ordinance defines “openly” as occurring or existing in a way that is unconcealed, undisguised, or obvious. “Publicly” means a public place or any outdoor location where consumption of marijuana is clearly observable from a public place. The
entire 16th Street Mall is considered public space and it is a
no smoking zone.

Most enforcement on the 16th mall has been against homeless persons. The issuance of a fine that may not be paid could lead to further contempt citations and potentially jail time. There have been discussions that this provision signals out the homeless and the city is considering changing this provision. After all, it is not within the goal to limit the cost of enforcement for petty marijuana possession if the city is still citing and arresting people.

Most cities in Colorado have similar laws or ordinances and depending on the city various penalties and enforcement levels. For example, some cities may have a law that prevents public smoking, but only enforces it in certain locations, such as parks where children are present.

If you are approached by law enforcement and asked any questions, you do not have to respond. You
have a Fourth Amendment Right to be free from unreasonable governmental contact and a Fifth Amendment Right to remain silent. It is always recommend to assert both of these RIGHTS!

If you are accused of consuming, using, or displaying marijuana in a public space, you do not have to admit to recent use or possession of marijuana. In fact, the best course of action is to invoke your Right to Remain Silent, even if you are innocent of what you are being accused.
Most judges, including U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and attorneys will tell even an innocent person to say and do nothing until they talk to an attorney.

One of the reasons to remain silent is not because you don’t need to explain yourself but; because there is a time and place for everything. When an officer is only trying to build a case against you, it is neither the time nor the place to make a statement.

Another consideration is that officers do not typically record the question that is asked or your exact response.
Without the question, the answer has no context. This

means the government can make up whatever context he or she wishes. Don’t give them that opportunity.

Remember the movie “My Cousin Vinnie.” In that movie, two boys are accused of robbing a gas station and shooting the clerk. After the cops arrest the two boys, they are separated and interrogated. We get to see this interrogation in the movie and it’s a great example of why you never talk to the cops without an attorney present.

In the movie, the innocent boy says, more as a question and in shock and disbelief, “I shot the clerk?!” We get to see and hear the disbelief in his face and the shock that he is being accused of shooting anyone. Without any video or audio, we would not see and hear that this is not a confession but a HUGE misunderstanding. The issue is most police conversations are not video or audio taped. All a jury or a judge would hear is that the innocent boy “confessed” to the crime by saying “I shot the clerk.”

This lack of context could result in a false conviction.
It does not matter what you are being accused of, best course of action, is to say nothing. You must say you want an attorney present, do not wait for the cop to read you your Miranda rights.5

There are many times when Miranda may not apply to your specific situation, this is why you must tell the cop nothing more than you want a lawyer present.
5 For more information on Miranda Rights or if you are accused of a crime, is a great source of information.

Chapter 3.
Possession of Marijuana in ANY federal space is illegal

Federal law prohibits any possession of marijuana, regardless of Colorado state law. When it comes to the issue of marijuana, federal law trumps state law. Even know Colorado has a constitutional Amendment that allows possession of marijuana, the federal law is higher than the state Amendment. Colorado is able to allow marijuana sales only because the federal government is not enforcing its own marijuana laws. If the federal government were to start enforcing its laws, it would be able to do so.

The question of why marijuana is illegal federally is based on Congresses’ classification of marijuana. Marijuana, including marijuana plants, is still listed as a Schedule 1 Drug, meaning the federal government finds marijuana to have no medicinal purposes (despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary) and finds marijuana to be highly addictive.

The federal government has been enforcing its marijuana ban on all federal lands. If you are on any federal land, possession of marijuana, marijuana plants, etc. is against the law and punishable as a misdemeanor for petty or small amounts. Petty or small amounts can be thought of as enough for personal use. There is no minimum amount. Even the slightest amount is against federal law.

Possible penalties for possession of marijuana depend on any previous drug convictions. A first offense,

with no prior drug convictions would carry up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.00. A second offense carries a mandatory 15 days in jail up to one year and/or up to a $2,500.00 fine. The jail sentence cannot be suspended, meaning a judge must sentence you to at least 15 days in jail. A third or more offense has a mandatory 90 days in jail, and/or a $5,000.00 fine.
In order to receive a ticket for possession of marijuana on federal grounds, it would have to be issued by a federal officer, such as a Federal Park Ranger. Ski patrol or resort employees would not legally be able to issue a ticket for possession of marijuana.

A common occurrence is a Federal Park Ranger approaches a campsite and asks if there is any marijuana or claims that he/she smelled burnt marijuana. You do not have to respond to questions or allow a search of your personal items, including a tent or car. Having a medical marijuana card will not give you immunity from this law.
NOTE ON RED CARDS: A Red Card is not a get out of a ticket free card. Telling a federal officer or a park ranger that you are lawfully proscribed Marijuana will most likely not make a difference. Although in 2015, the U.S. Congress defunded or did not provide money to federal law enforcement agencies for the prosecution of medicinal marijuana in those states that had a valid law regarding medicinal marijuana. This could allow for the argument that because law enforcement has no money to issue the ticket, no resources, such as officer time and paper, can be used in the prosecution of the case. On the other hand, it is likely that the government will continue issuing citations on federal land because federal law applies, not state law.

You will find that with marijuana, nothing is concrete or set in stone. There are a lot of changes in law enforcements, district attorney offices, and the courts view of marijuana.

Chapter 4
When it is Illegal to be Under the Influence of Marijuana

Skiing/Snowboarding in Colorado

Skiing or snowboarding while under the influence of marijuana is a class one petty offense, punishable by a loss of a ski pass and a maximum fine of $1,000.00. In order to be guilty of this offense, it would have to be shown that the resent use of marijuana effected or impaired mental and/or physical capabilities. Simply accusing a person of using marijuana on the slopes or ski lifts is not enough to show impairment. There would need to be evidence that showed obvious signs of marijuana impairment. This is a very new area of law and there is not a lot of research that has been done on identifying the intoxicating or impairing signs of marijuana.

Driving Something Other Than a Car

Driving or operating motorized sporting vehicles or recreational vehicles, such as jet skis, boats, mopeds, golf carts, or basically any motorized scooter over 50 cc’s while under the influence of marijuana is against the law. These activities may not have any license consequences, but a court could make you attend drug and alcohol classes and place you on probation.

The key to remember here is that the government must prove that you were under the influence of marijuana to such a degree that you were impaired, not just use of

marijuana. Many prosecutors and law enforcement officials will try and mirror alcohol intoxication and simply call it marijuana intoxication, but there is a lot of doubt as to the credibility of this evidence and the ability to support these assertions.

Operating A Boat

Boating under the influence is a misdemeanor offense in Colorado (See Colorado Revised Statute §33-13-108.1.)
It does carry the threat of jail time with it. In addition, you would most likely have to undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation and comply with all of the treatment recommended by the government.

During the time you are fighting your case or during the term of probation, you may also be subject to court monitored sobriety- meaning that you cannot smoke weed and you must be tested on a regular basis to check to make sure you are not using marijuana.

Chapter 5.
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana.

Law enforcement officers in Colorado are on the hunt for drivers under the influence of marijuana. This is partly due to an overreaction to the legalization of marijuana and partly due to a lack of understanding of marijuana’s pharmacological effects on a person. It is illegal is to drive a car when marijuana consumption impairs your ability to drive as a normal and sober person. Said another way, you would be under the influence of marijuana and your driving would be impaired if the consumption of marijuana was effecting your ability to drive in such a way that you were not driving with the care and caution that you would normally use.
The number one way a person is arrested for DUI- Marijuana is by admitting to the cop that he or she recently consumed marijuana. Even if you used marijuana earlier in the day and you no longer feel the effects of marijuana, you can still be arrested for DUI if you admit to recent consumption. Remember, the officer only needs probable cause to arrest you. An officer will more than likely not believe that you consumed marijuana several hours prior to

driving or will be under the mistaken belief that impairing effects from marijuana can be realized several hours after use.

You do not have to answer any of the questions asked by law enforcement. If you choose to answer questions it will most likely give the cop enough probable cause to arrest you for DUI and request for you to take a blood test to determine THC levels. If the officer has probable cause to believe an offense occurred and you refuse the test, you could be subject to a license restriction for one year.
Quick Note about Colorado Law regarding THC levels

The National Highway, Traffic, and Safety Administration recognize that it is difficult to establish a relationship between a person’s THC blood concentrate and performance impairing effects. This is because it is dependent on a person’s individual metabolite, pattern of use, tolerance, and dosage.

This is why it is important to understand that there is no magic amount of THC that would make you automatically guilty of DUI. Colorado has a presumption that if you have 5 ng/mL of Delta-9 (THC) in your blood, within two hours of driving, it can be presumed that you were under the influence of marijuana. This is not like a .08 blood alcohol level. A presumption means that it can be assumed, but it does not have to be accepted. The issue becomes what other evidence is there to support the governments position that a person was driving under the influence of Marijuana. There must be evidence to support the claim, such as: impaired judgment, impaired driving, reckless driving, and physical coordination issues.

If you find yourself accused of DUI-Marijuana, consider hiring a DUI lawyer that knows and understands the pharmacological effects of marijuana. You can contact (303) 747-4686 for a referral.

Penalties for Marijuana DUI

If you are convicted for marijuana DUI offense the penalties that you may face depending on the specific facts and circumstances of your case and any prior record that you may have. Factors that tend to increase a punishment for a DUI include if there was an accident, if any one was injured in the accident, if there was an allegation of excessive speed or extremely reckless driving.

The second consideration for penalties in a DUI sentence is if there is/are any prior convictions. It does not

matter if the prior offense(s) DUI is/are for drugs or alcohol; the offenses are still used to increase your penalties in Colorado.

The prior convictions may have occurred in Colorado or any another state, as long as the other state’s conviction would be a conviction in Colorado, it qualifies as a prior offense. Colorado does not have a wash out period, meaning it does not matter how old the prior offense is, 20 years, 30 years, etc. The offense would still be used to get you more punishment on the DUI.

DUI Penalties based on Prior Offenses


Typically for a first offense of DUI, you face 5 days of jail up to one year. All or some of the jail time may be suspended if you agree to complete an alcohol or drug evaluation and treatment. This is not a pass/fail evaluation and even if the score is a 0 or 1, the government’s evaluator will be recommending education and therapies.
In addition, you would have fines, fees, a probation officer, and a loss of your driver’s license. Most likely during the term of probation you would not be able to consume marijuana and would have to submit to random drug testing.


As second DUI offense would carry all of the above plus additional jail time. There is a mandatory 10 days in jail and the average sentence is typically between 30 to 60 days. Depending on the jurisdiction and the amount of time between a first and second DUI conviction, you may qualify for a work release program, where you are permitted to leave jail to go to work everyday, but must report back to jail right after work.

You may also be required to install an ignition interlock devise in your car for up to two years, even if the conviction did not involve the use of alcohol. Ignition Interlock is a devise that requires you to blow into a tube to ensure you have no alcohol in your system. Many judges simply require the interlock to be installed as a term and condition of probation.


A third DUI offense would carry all of the above plus mandatory jail time of at least 60 days and an average sentence is typically over 180 days. Again, you may qualify for release programs, such as a work release program, but this would be depend on the facts and circumstances of your case.

As of August 5, 2015, a fourth DUI conviction in a lifetime, in Colorado is a class 4 Felony. The punishment for a class four felony can be a sentence of up to six years to the Department of Corrections. There are sentence

alternatives that may be available and/or the ability to enter into a treatment plan. This new law increases the punishment for four or more DUI convictions, it does not distinguish between a conviction for an alcohol related offense or a drug related offense. It also does not matter the age of the prior conviction or if the convictions are in the State of Colorado or another state.

We never advocate driving if you are under the influence of any substance, including marijuana. The consequences of a conviction can be devastating to your ability to drive, employment, freedom, and pocket book. If you do find yourself accused of Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana you may consider hiring an attorney.6

Chapter 6.
Marijuana and Underage

6 Hiring an attorney is a difficult and expensive task; you can call us for a free guide to hiring the right attorney for you (303) 747-4686 or go to

There are more severe penalties if marijuana is provided to a minor, defined as a person under the age of
18. A person can be charged under several different statutes, all felonies, depending the ages between the minor and adult.

It would be considered contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which is a Class Four Felony, punishable by up to 6 years in prison and subject to mandatory parole. Lack of knowledge of the minor’s true age is typically not a defense in this type of a case.

In addition, there are four classes of drug felonies that could be charged if marijuana is provided to a minor.
Provided is defined as including the acts of selling, transferring, or distributing more than 21/2 pounds of marijuana to a minor and the person is an adult at least two years older then the minor, it would be a Drug Felony One. A Drug Felony Level 1 can carry between eight to thirty-two years in prison.

If the amount is less than 21/2 pounds but more than six ounces of marijuana and the adult is two or more years older than the minor, it would be a Drug Felony Level 2. A DF2 has a sentencing range of between four and sixteen years in prison. For an amount less than six ounces but more than an ounce, and the adult is two years or more older than the minor, the charge would be a Drug Felony Level 3 and carries between two and six years in prison.
Finally for any amount less than one ounce and the adult is

two years or more older than the minor, it would be a Drug Felony Level 4 and could result in six months to two years in prison.7

Possession by Someone Under 21

It is illegal to have or use marijuana if you are under the age of 21 according to Colorado law. If you are caught with or have marijuana and you are under 21, you face drug education classes, fines, and fees as potential penalties. In addition, because it would be consider a drug offense it could impact federal financial aid if you have or are caught consuming marijuana under the age of 21. Typically, a person under 21 faces a fine or a drug class only for a first offense. The fine amount would depend on the jurisdiction (city or state code) and the circumstance of the violation.

7 This is a wide range of sentencing terms. The deciding factor on the length of a sentence would depend on the facts and circumstance of the person charged and of the crime itself. There are to many variables to be more fact specific.

Chapter 7.
Edibles and Children

Many of the edibles that you can legally purchase look a lot like candies and sweets. These edibles have varying levels of concentrate in them. You should consult with the dispensary and follow all recommended dosages. Keep in mind that with an edible there will be a delay from the time of ingestion until any effects may be felt. In addition, some consumers have reported feeling ill and/or other adverse health consequences to edibles.

If you have children in your home and/or children regular visit your home, you will want to store the edibles out of their reach. These high concentrates can have a devastating effect on children and could subject you to additional criminal penalties. You may be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a class 4 felony, child abuse, or worse if the child is severely injured.

In addition to criminal charges, the Colorado Department of Human Services would most likely start an investigation into your ability to parent your child and may initiate an action that would require you to attend parenting classes and other substance abuse training.

Chapter 8.
Taking Marijuana Across State Lines or DIA

This is a big no, no, and could land you in jail.
Colorado purchased marijuana cannot leave the state, via car, bus, plane, or train. Taking marijuana through Denver Airport could subject you to both state and federal penalties, depending on the quantity and will result in confiscation of your marijuana.

Taking marijuana across state lines and into a neighboring state where possession is illegal could land you in jail. Driving into Kansas, Nebraska, or Wyoming with even small amounts of marijuana subjects you to the laws of the new state. Depending on the state law and the amount of marijuana that is with you, you could subject yourself to felony charges. In addition, the federal government could consider this transporting an illegal substance across state lines, subjecting you to additional federal criminal penalties.

Recently, a person was stopped on Colorado Interstate 70 close to the Utah border with approximately 85 pounds of Marijuana. It is likely that this would be consider an illegal importation of marijuana into Colorado because the stop was approximately 10 miles into Colorado heading east on Interstate 70. Colorado state law makes this punishable by a Drug Felony Level 1 or could possibly become a federal case because of the amount of marijuana. Federal penalties and sentencing guidelines differ substantially from state guidelines.

Other Must Know Information About Marijuana.

Employers CAN fire you for using marijuana

If your place of employment has a drug policy that prohibits the consumption of any illegal drug, marijuana can be included in that classification. If you violate your employer’s drug policy you could be fired. There is no defense that the use was medically recommended, that you have a red card, or that you consumed marijuana after working hours. It is also no defense that you were not “high” or under the influence of marijuana while you were working. Your employer does not need to prove that you consumed marijuana during working hours or that it impaired your abilities at work. A failed drug test is sufficient.

There is currently litigation on this point. The Colorado Supreme Court is currently considering the ability of a private employer to fire a person for use of medical marijuana. There has not been a decision in the case as of yet.

Vapor Pens and Marijuana

Vapor pens are becoming increasingly popular with both tobacco and marijuana users. Currently there are laws that prevent a person from smoking tobacco in public places and indoor areas. Vapor pens would most likely be considered “smoking” and many establishments are now prohibiting the use of vapor pens.

Marijuana vapor pens would most likely be considered illegal. Although the question will then arise as to how a marijuana vapor pen could be distinguished from a tobacco vapor pen. These are questions that shall be answered in time.

Hotels and Resorts CAN Prohibit Marijuana Smoking

Hotels, motels, and other temporary residence can prohibit marijuana use within your privately rented room. If you are staying in a hotel or renting a place for a few nights, ask about the owners’ smoking policy. Many hotels and motels do allow marijuana to be consumed in the individual rooms, but some do not. If you are caught smoking in a hotel that prohibits marijuana, you could face additional charges and cleaning fees by the hotel. You would not face any criminal penalties.

You can Grow Your Own Plants

You can grow marijuana plants for your own recreational usage. You are allowed to grow up to six plants. If the cultivation is taking place within your home and you live with a person under the age of 21, all plants must be kept in an enclosed and locked area. If you do not live with a person under the age of 21, the external locks on the residence can constitute the enclosed and locked area.

Landowners / Landlords

There is a criminal statute that seeks to hold landlords and/or landowners liable for the criminal acts of their tenants, if the landlord knows that an illegal marijuana operation is occur within the premises or on the land. This is a Drug Felony Level Three.

Responsible Usage

Most residents and visitors of Colorado have proven to be responsible cannabis users. The laws are fairly restrictive at this time, but will most likely relax as law enforcement and as the government becomes more comfortable with the legalization of marijuana.

To find out more information on cannabis laws, you can visit and request additional information, or to be included in our mailing list of upcoming information. The marijuana laws and enforcement are changing very quickly; make sure that you stay informed. Ignorance of the law is not a defense.

About the Author

Ms. Schmidt is the managing attorney at the Law Offices of Laurie A. Schmidt, p.c. The firm offers legal solutions to criminal defense and family law issues in the Denver Metro Area.

Ms. Schmidt has handled hundreds of cases involving marijuana and family and criminal law issues. She has the answers to your questions in language you can understand. For more information, please contact Laure Schmidt at (303) 747-4686.

This book was written to educate Colorado consumers on Colorado marijuana laws. If you would like more information on Ms. Schmidt or to subscribe to her FREE quarterly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest changes in marijuana and marijuana regulation, you can sign up at or call (303) 747- 4686 and ask to be put on the list! Please let us know if you would like an email subscription or paper subscription.

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