Though the state of Colorado joins Washington as the only two states where recreational marijuana has been legalized, you can still run afoul of the law for various marijuana offenses. In other words, although voters passed legislation allowing a certain freedom with marijuana, the substance is still going to be regulated by the state government.
Charged with a crime in Colorado? Please call (800) 927-0644
In Colorado, it is legal for an adult aged 21 or over to:
- possess up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational use
- grow or cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants
- give away marijuana to other adults aged 21 and over (without exchanging money)
- cultivate, process, and sell industrial hemp (this is not the same as the cannabis you smoke to achieve a high)
But, there are several things the new legislation does not legalize. The following are still considered illegal:
- smoking marijuana in public
- selling marijuana
- possessing, growing, or using marijuana if you are under the age of 21
The new marijuana legislation does not affect the state’s current medical marijuana businesses. You cannot go into a dispensary and purchase marijuana simply because recreational marijuana has been approved. These medical marijuana dispensaries are still reserved only for those people who have gone through the process of being prescribed marijuana by a physician.
However, retailers will be able to sell marijuana at an upcoming date (potentially by the end of 2013).
Colorado Marijuana Laws
The new law did not change penalties associated with more than one ounce of marijuana. If you are in possession of more than one ounce, the charge you face depends on the quantity:
|Marijuana Amount||Criminal Charge||Potential Sentence|
|More than 1 oz. and less than 8 oz.||Class 1 misdemeanor||6- 18 months in jail and fines of $500- $5,000|
|More than 8 oz.||Class 5 felony||1-3 years in prison and fines of $1,000- $100,000.|
Ref: CRS 18-18-406
If you are caught using marijuana in public or having it out in the open, you can be sentenced to an additional 15 days in jail.
If this is your second offense or greater you could be facing double the maximum sentence.
If you are charged with more than possession and perhaps were caught in possession with intent to distribute, you face much harsher sentences. For instance, you could be facing 2 to 6 years in prison for being in possession with intent to distribute any amount of marijuana.
Get Help With a Colorado Marijuana Charge
While the changes to Colorado’s marijuana laws may seem relatively simple, they have the potential to get complex when it comes to prosecuting what are still considered marijuana crimes. If you are charged with a criminal drug offense, call us today to discuss your charges and see how we can help. The initial consultation is free.