Yes, medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are legal in Colorado. While medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 2000, recreational marijuana was not legalized until a decade later, in 2012. Amendment 20, which was later codified into the state's Constitution as Article XVIII, Section 14, legalized medical marijuana in Colorado. Similarly, Amendment 64 legalized recreational marijuana, and Colorado's Constitution admitted this Amendment as Article XVIII, Section 16.
Colorado legalized medical marijuana for use by persons suffering from debilitating medical conditions. Amendment 20 established affirmative protection to Colorado criminal laws for patients and their primary caregivers concerning the medical use of marijuana. It also instituted procedures for issuing an identification card, also known as a medical marijuana card, and specifies the form and amount of marijuana a patient may possess and restrictions on its use. Amendment 64 restricts the use, selling, and distribution of marijuana in Colorado to adults 21 years and older.
The Colorado Assembly, in their 2021 legislative sessions, introduced ten marijuana-related bills to address the state's marijuana regulations. However, two out of these bills failed to pass while eight of them did. The failed bills are Promoting Social Distancing In Marijuana Industry (HB21-1058) and Limitations on Regulated Marijuana Delivery (HB21-1159). The eight that passed Legislature amended are:
Criminal Marijuana Offenses (HB21-1090)
This bill eliminates the marijuana possession offense for possession of 2 ounces of marijuana or less by increasing the limit of unlawful possession of marijuana by minors from 1 ounce or less to 2 ounces or less. It also permits someone convicted of a Class 3 felony marijuana cultivation offense to petition to have their conviction record sealed.
Correcting Errors in the Colorado Marijuana Code (HB21-1178)
This bill corrects nonsubstantive errors, such as grammatical, wording, and citation issues in the Colorado marijuana code.
Unemployment Insurance Marijuana-licensed Business (HB21-1204)
This bill speaks to the treatment of a marijuana-licensee-owned business that provides employment services to a commonly regulated marijuana business as an individual employing unit. It does not consider an employee leasing company a common paymaster under the Colorado Employment Security Act.
Marijuana Licensees Ability to Change Designation (HB21-1216)
This bill passed Legislature amended on June 8, 2021, came into effect in July 2022, and clarifies that a change of designation of marijuana from recreational to medical does not translate to a right of getting a refund of a retail marijuana excise tax levied or paid before designation change. It permits a medical marijuana product manufacturer licensee to receive and change a marijuana product from retail to medical. The bill also allows a medical marijuana cultivation facility licensee to obtain and change marijuana's designation from recreational to medical.
Cannabis Outdoor Cultivation Measures (HB21-1301)
Section 4 of this bill requires state licensing authority to convene a committee to examine existing tax laws and rules on the large-scale marijuana cultivation business. The essence of this is to enable them to explore the possibility of amending these rules and tax laws to prepare them for interstate trade if the federal government eventually legalizes marijuana on the federal level. Colorado Legislature expects the committee to forward its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly and the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Revenue on or before June 1, 2022. As of October 2022, medical and recreational marijuana cultivators can file for a contingency plan stating the steps they intend to take should there be an adverse weather event.
Regulating Marijuana Concentrates (HB21-1317)
This bill prohibits the advertisement of medical marijuana that is targeted at persons between 18 to 20 years of age. It mandates recreational and medical marijuana concentrate advertisements to come with warnings on medical marijuana overdose. HB21-1317 also requires marijuana dispensaries to provide patients with pamphlets regarding the criminal penalties associated with marijuana diversion and overconsumption of medical marijuana. The Colorado legislature made changes to the concentrate sales limitation. Starting January 1, 2022, the amount of medical marijuana concentrate both for recreational and medical use a store can sell to a patient is limited to 8 grams per day for persons over 21 years. The limit for patients between 18 to 20 years old is 2 grams per day. The only exception to these is if the patient's certification stipulates the need for more than 2 grams or 8 grams or if the patient is homebound. This bill also requires a doctor to conduct a full assessment of a patient's medical history (including mental health history) when recommending medical marijuana. It seeks to tighten medical marijuana rules and mandate research into the mental health effects of marijuana products.
Expand Cannabis-based Medicine at Schools (SB21-56)
Before the passage of this bill, school principals decide who possesses and administers cannabis-based medicine at schools. This bill changes that and requires school boards to implement policies permitting the possession, administration, and storage of cannabis-based medicine by school staff. SB21-56 allows school personnel to volunteer to help in the administration of cannabis-based medicine. It also provides disciplinary protection to nurses who administer cannabis-based medicine to students at school.
Program to Support Marijuana Entrepreneurs (SB21-111)
This bill seeks to support entrepreneurs in the marijuana industry. It establishes a program in the Office of the Economic Development and International Trade to assist social equity licensees, as explained in the Colorado Marijuana Code.
Changes to Colorado marijuana laws over time include:
The most recent federal legislation on weed occurred 2022 as an attempt to decriminalize marijuana nationwide. The Act, known as the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement, removes marijuana from the list of controlled substances. In addition, it aims to remove criminal penalties for the possession, distribution, and manufacture of marijuana. Other changes proposed in the bill include:
Yes. Eligible persons can use cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes in Colorado. Cannabis is a type of plant with some psychoactive properties. Its flowers, when harvested and dried, are potent drugs commonly referred to as marijuana. They are sometimes called pots or weeds. Cannabis contains several components known as cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC makes users get wild (high), while CBD is the component of marijuana that helps to reduce pain and inflammation. People consume cannabis for its calming effects, and it is often prescribed to help with some medical conditions.
Marijuana is still not legalized on the federal level in the United States. In the 19th century, marijuana was popular in America for its health benefits. However, in the wake of the 20th century, when the Mexican Revolution happened, America's perception of cannabis shifted. Most individuals associated cannabis with violence as a result of the bigotry against immigrants from Mexico. Besides, the abuse of medical marijuana led to 29 states banning cannabis between 1916 to 1931. In 1937, the first national regulation of marijuana, the Marijuana Tax Act, was passed to outlaw cannabis in the entire United States despite its medical benefits. However, marijuana is now legal in many states, including Colorado, and the severe consequences for using the drugs are gradually being relaxed.
It is illegal for persons under 21 years of age to purchase and use recreational cannabis in Colorado. Additionally, only persons with qualifying medical conditions can buy medical marijuana in the state. Persons who are on probation or parole are not eligible to use recreational marijuana until the situation is sorted. However, such persons can still use medical marijuana, but under certain stipulations, paramount of which is having a legitimate doctor's recommendation.
In Colorado, Amendment 20 and Amendment 64 permits the legal sales of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana, respectively. However, businesses intending to start legal marijuana sales in the state must first obtain the required license from the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED). The MED makes provisions for a marijuana employee license, marijuana business license, and marijuana business owner license. Colorado marijuana law allows counties and cities to decide for themselves if they will permit recreational marijuana dispensaries. Marijuana dispensaries in Colorado are open for business primarily to adults 21 years or older and must request buyers' valid photo IDs for proof of age. Legal marijuana stores are restricted to selling a maximum of 2 ounces of marijuana to consumers.
The cannabis trade has become a big business in Colorado since the legalization of recreational marijuana. Cannabis exists in many forms, including marijuana buds, hash, and marijuana concentrates. People who purchase cannabis and marijuana-infused products in Colorado also buy marijuana paraphernalia. Marijuana paraphernalia is any item used to inhale, ingest, or store marijuana. It includes grinders, joints, pipes, and bongs. Any other item with legal use can also qualify as marijuana paraphernalia if used for a marijuana-related purpose.
Marijuana dispensaries cannot transport cannabis out of Colorado because marijuana is still illegal on the federal level. Doing this is a federal crime and attracts severe penalties. Under Colorado rules, legal recreational marijuana dispensaries are allowed to operate only between 8:00 a.m. and midnight. However, cities and towns can choose stricter operating hours, but this must be within the time frame stipulated by the state. In Colorado, legal marijuana businesses are required to sell marijuana products in child-resistant and resealable packaging.
Although marijuana has been legalized in Colorado, there are punishments associated with illegal marijuana possession, sales, and cultivation. The breakdown of each marijuana offense and their penalties are listed below:
A driver who tests above 5 nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in Colorado commits a misdemeanor and faces any of these penalties depending on the number of DUI offenses already committed before current arrest:
The possible remedies for defendants who commit DUI marijuana offenses in Colorado depend on the fact of their circumstances. They may remedy the situation if improper procedures were used in DUI blood tests or if the arresting officer did not advise an offender of their rights. DUI marijuana offenders can also defend themselves if their driving is not affected by marijuana.
Potential defense an individual may use to get off a marijuana drug offense charge include:
It is illegal for an adult or person at least two years older than a minor to sell, dispense, or transfer marijuana. Engaging in any of these activities attracts the following penalties depending on the amount of marijuana. Marijuana limitations in Colorado and their penalties are as follows:
In March 1917, Colorado legislators passed a bill that made the cultivation and use of marijuana a misdemeanor. Again, in 1929, the Colorado Legislature passed another law making the possession, sale, and distribution of marijuana a felony in the state. By August 1970, recreational marijuana possession punishment was lowered from a felony to a misdemeanor. In 1973, a legislator introduced a bill to re-legalize marijuana in Colorado. However, it never passed the committee. The legislature, in 1975, decriminalized possession, private use, and transportation of marijuana in Colorado.
The then Governor Dick Lamm of Colorado signed into law the first medical marijuana bill named the Dangerous Therapeutic Research Act, introduced in 1979. However, it required federal government approval, which never came. In 1981, Governor Lamma signed another bill named Therapeutic Use of Cannabis. The bill intended to extend the program created in 1979 to 12 hospitals in Colorado and provide cancer patients with cannabis. However, the bill did not pass despite approval by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 1998, medical marijuana advocates in Colorado promoted Amendment 19 onto the ballot, but the votes were not counted. Again, in 2000, these proponents pushed for the legalization of medical marijuana in the state via Amendment 20, which eventually passed. On November 6, 2012, Colorado voters also cast their votes to approve Amendment 64 for recreational marijuana legalization.
The following are some marijuana is still federally illegal.me of the restrictions on cannabis in Colorado: