Want to buy marijuana in Colorado? Here's what you need to know about amounts, rules, more

DENVER - Want to buy marijuana? Here's what you need to know from the state of Colorado.

-- How old do I have to be to purchase, possess or consume retail marijuana?

You must be 21 and older to buy, possess or use retail marijuana. It is illegal to give or sell retail marijuana to minors.

-- What is the difference between medical and retail marijuana?

Only licensed retail marijuana stores may sell retail marijuana, and only to those 21 and older.  

Medical marijuana requires a state red card, which can only be obtained by Colorado residents with a recommendation from a doctor that a patient suffers from a debilitating medical condition that may benefit from medical marijuana. Medical marijuana patients can obtain marijuana from a licensed center, a primary care giver or self grow.

Medical marijuana has a higher THC potency than retail marijuana, which is around 17% THC limit.

-- Where can I purchase retail marijuana?

Those 21 and older can purchase retail marijuana at licensed retail stores.

Here is a list of Denver pot shops that are open on Jan. 1: http://ch7ne.ws/1dpeEYK

Denver and 25 other cities in Colorado have allowed currently licensed medical marijuana stores to also sell retail marijuana. Please go to each city’s website to determine specific marijuana sale and consumption laws.

-- Where am I allowed to consume retail marijuana?

Retail marijuana is intended for private, personal use. Such use is only legal in certain locations not open or accessible to the public. Marijuana may not be consumed openly or publicly.

-- Can I consume marijuana in public?

No, it is illegal to consume marijuana in public.

This includes but is not limited to areas accessible to the public such as transportation facilities, schools, amusement/sporting/music venues, parks, playgrounds, sidewalks and roads and outdoor and rooftop cafes. It is also illegal to smoke at indoor-but-public locations like bars, restaurants and common areas in buildings.

-- Can I possess marijuana? And how much?

Since Amendment 64 went into effect in late 2012, adults 21 and older have been allowed to possess up to 1 ounce of retail marijuana.

-- How much marijuana can I purchase at one time?

Colorado residents 21 and older can purchase and possess up to 1 ounce of retail marijuana at a time.

Non-residents can purchase up to ¼ ounce at a time.

-- Can I consume marijuana in a licensed retail store?

No, it is illegal to consume marijuana in or around a licensed store. It is also illegal to smoke at indoor-but-public locations such as bars, restaurants and common areas in buildings.

-- Are marijuana “social clubs” or “coffee shops” permitted?

No. These businesses are not permitted.

-- What are the consequences if I violate marijuana laws?

Penalties range from a fine to a possible jail or prison sentence. Colorado State Statutes and Denver Revised Municipal Code spell out the specific penalties for various

Schools, universities and employers are allowed to put in place their own disciplinary actions for marijuana-related infractions.

-- Are the rules different for possession and consumption of edible marijuana than for marijuana that can be smoked?

No. Possession laws are the same for all retail marijuana types, and public consumption is always illegal, regardless of form.

-- Can I have marijuana in my car?

Yes. Marijuana may be carried in cars but it may not be in an open container and cannot cross state boundaries. It is illegal to use or consume marijuana in a motor vehicle and it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.

-- Is there a DUI-like equivalent for driving under the influence of marijuana?

Yes. It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana and it can result in a DUI, just like alcohol. Anyone with 5 nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (known as THC) per milliliter in whole blood (CRS 42-4-1301) while driving can be arrested for DUI. The consequences of DUI is dependent on the driver but they can include fines, jail time and a revoked license.

-- Can I take marijuana through airport security or travel out of state with it?

No. It is illegal to take marijuana across state lines.

-- Can I consume marijuana on public transportation (buses, light rail) in Denver?

No. It is illegal to consume marijuana in public, which includes public transportation.

-- Can I smoke marijuana in a taxi or limousine in Denver?

It is illegal to smoke marijuana in a taxi, limousine or any form of government-operated mass transportation.

-- Can I consume marijuana inside a smoke-friendly hotel room or on a hotel balcony?

It is up to the discretion of the hotel if it allows marijuana smoke to be consumed in their smoking rooms (the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act limits all smoking to at most 25 percent of rooms). You should ask the hotel if they allow it. Denver city laws prohibit marijuana consumption on hotel balconies if visible from any public place.

-- Do the laws of Denver apply elsewhere?

Denver ordinances only apply within the City and County of Denver. Please go to each city or county’s website to determine specific marijuana sale and consumption laws.

-- Does Denver have additional prohibitions on use or display of marijuana?

It is illegal to consume, use, display, transfer, distribute, sell or grow retail marijuana at or within any park, parkway, mountain park (including Red Rocks) or other recreational facility, on  any city-owned property (including streets and sidewalks) within 1,000 feet of a public or private elementary, middle, junior high or high school and on the 16th Street Mall (including any city street or sidewalk one block in either direction from the mall).

-- Are there additional restrictions on public consumption of marijuana in Denver that I should know about?

On residential private property, retail marijuana consumption in any outdoor location is illegal unless the person is the property owner or lessee or has been granted express or implied permission by the property owner or lessee. On private non-residential property, marijuana consumption is illegal in any outdoor location if it is clearly visible from a public place. 

-- What are the health effects of using retail marijuana?

For information about the health impacts of marijuana use, please visit Denver Health’s resource page on this topic.

**The question and answers come from the state of Colorado website.

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