Colorado Marijuana Trafficking Laws

Can You Mail Weed Legally in Colorado?

No, individuals cannot legally mail weed in Colorado. Although cannabis is legal for medical and recreational use in the state, mailing it within, into, or out of Colorado is a violation. According to the Drug Enforcement Authority (DEA), weed is classified as a Schedule I substance and, therefore, federally illegal to possess, use, and transport.

Since the United State Postal Service is a federal government agency, it does not allow individuals to mail weed through its service. Third-party mailing agencies are also subject to federal law. However, with the 2018 Farm Bill came the legalization of hemp and its derivatives (products with less than 0.3% THC). The Bill also removed these products from the DEA’s schedule of Controlled Substances. This means that hemp products can be mailed legally via the USPS and third-party mailing agencies.

What Are the Penalties for Transporting Edibles Across State Lines in Colorado?

Although Colorado has legalized the use of marijuana and edibles for adults (aged 21 and above), transporting these products across state lines is both a state and federal offense. Edibles are foods such as brownies, chocolates, etc, that are infused with THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). A person charged with transporting weed across Colorado faces penalties that depend on:

  • The number of edibles being transported
  • Whether or not it is the individual’s first offense

Below are the penalties for trafficking edibles according to the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration:

  • 50kg or less - A $250,000.00 fine and a maximum of 5 years in jail.
  • 50kg - 99kg - A $1,000,000.00 fine and a maximum of 20 years in jail.
  • 100kg - 99kg
  • First offense: 5 years minimum jail time and a maximum of $5,000,000.00 for an individual, or $25,000,000.00 if not an individual.
  • Second offense: 10 years minimum jail time and a maximum fine of $20,000,000.00 for an individual or 75,000,000.00 if not an individual.
  • 100kg or more
  • First offense: Up to life imprisonment and $10,000,000.00 for an individual, or $50,000,000.00 if not an individual.
  • Second offense: 20 years minimum jail time and $20,000,000.00 fine for an individual, or $75,000,000.00 if not an individual.

How to Get a Drug Trafficking Charge Dismissed in Colorado

A criminal defense lawyer can employ several defenses to dismiss a drug trafficking charge. Below are some common options used in Colorado:

Personal use

Since marijuana is legal for recreational and medical use in Colorado, the defense team can claim that the weed was strictly for personal use.

Assist law enforcement

The accused can cooperate with law enforcement authorities to uncover other severe drug-related crimes. This cooperation may be exchanged for a dismissal.

Insufficient evidence

In some instances, the evidence presented by the prosecutors may be insufficient to convince the court to convict. Since the burden of proof rests on the prosecuting team, the lawyer can effectively get the case dismissed if the evidence is inadequate.

Challenging evidence procurement

The state must present enough evidence and must procure said evidence through legal and acceptable means. A credible lawyer can scrutinize the submitted evidence to find loopholes that render it inadmissible.


This is when the law enforcement agency induces the accused to commit a crime that the person would not have committed otherwise. Attorneys can prove entrapment to defend persons charged with drug trafficking.

Individuals should also note there are different penalties for trafficking other drugs, such as heroin, ketamine, cocaine, etc. In Colorado, drugs such as cocaine and heroin generally carry more severe penalties per quantity than marijuana.

Drug Trafficking Facts in Colorado

According to Colorado Revised Statutes 18-18-405, drug trafficking is selling, distributing, manufacturing, or dispensing a controlled substance. The law also states that inducing others to perform any of these acts, or possessing supplies and equipment used to manufacture controlled substances, also qualifies as drug trafficking.

Although drug trafficking is usually a felony, an offense can be a misdemeanor in the following situations:

  • The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies the drug under Schedule V. Schedule V drugs are controlled substances with the least potential for abuse. These drugs primarily contain small quantities of certain narcotics.
  • The drug transfer (a Schedule III or IV compound) is not transactional and is not more than 4 grams.

Concerned persons should note that certain level four drug felonies can be reduced to level one misdemeanors after successful probation. For instance, the non-transactional transfer of less than 4 grams of specific Schedule I or II drugs for consumption is a level four felony that can be reduced to a misdemeanor.

Colorado’s state government agency concerned with drug trafficking is the Department of Public Safety. At the federal level, the following agencies tackle drug trafficking:

According to a National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) report, Denver is a primary regional distribution center for drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. The report also states that 8.9% of Colorado residents aged 12 and above reportedly abused illicit drugs. This is higher than the 6.3 percent recorded nationwide.

How Many Grams of Weed Is Considered Trafficking in Colorado?

Generally, transporting 2.5 pounds or more of weed is considered trafficking in Colorado. CRS Title 18-1.3-401.5 addresses the state's rules and penalties concerning drug trafficking.

The potential punishment for drug trafficking depends on multiple factors, such as the quantity of weed involved and whether other crimes occurred during the trafficking. Other factors that can influence weed trafficking penalties include:

  • Where the traffickers were caught (schools or parks)
  • Whether the offense involved minors
  • Whether the accused was with a gun while trafficking
  • Whether the violation resulted in serious injury or death

The law also outlines levels for these offenses, including four levels of felonies. Level one is reserved for the most severe crimes and carries the strictest penalties. A level one felony generally carries between 8 and 32 years of jail time and a fine between $5,000.00 and $1,000,000.00.

Individuals should note that penalties for trafficking marijuana differ from penalties for trafficking other drugs depending on the type of substance and the amount. For instance, trafficking over 112 grams of ketamine or heroin is a level one felony. On the other hand, 50 pounds of marijuana is enough for a level one felony charge.

What Are the Weed Trafficking Consequences in Colorado?

The following are the penalties for trafficking weed in Colorado:

  • Up to 4 ounces: A fine between $500.00 and $5,000.00 and jail time of 6 to 18 months
  • Over 4 ounces but less than 12 ounces: $1,000.00 - $100,000.00 in fines and jail time between 6 months and 2 years.
  • More than 12 ounces but less than 5 pounds: A fine between $2,000.00 and $500,000.00 and jail time of 2 to 6 years.
  • Over 5 pounds but less than 50 pounds: A fine between $3,000.00 and $750,000.00 and jail time of 4 to 16 years.
  • Over 50 pounds of marijuana: A fine between $5,000.00 and $1,000,000.00 and 8 – 32 years of jail time.
  • An adult that sells, dispenses, or transfers marijuana to a minor (when the adult is at least two years older than the minor) is liable as follows:
  • Up to an ounce of marijuana - A fine between $1,000.00 and $100,000.00 and jail time between 6 months and 2 years.
  • More than one ounce but less than 6 ounces - A fine between $2,000.00 and $500,000.00 and jail time between 2 and 6 years.
  • More than 6 ounces but less than 2.5 pounds - A fine between $3,000.00 and $750,000.00 and jail time between 4 and 16 years
  • More than 2.5 pounds - A fine between $5,000.00 – $1,000,000.00 and jail time between 8 and 32 years

How to Transport Weed Legally in Colorado

According to House Bill 16-1211, Colorado residents must first obtain a retail marijuana transporter license to transport weed legally. The license is obtainable from the Marijuana Enforcement Division. To apply for a marijuana business license from this Division, interested licensee must meet the following criteria:

  • 21 years or older
  • State resident for a minimum of two years
  • Clean criminal history
  • Not be a local or state authority employee

Licensees should note that there are rules that govern the legal transportation of marijuana. For instance, it is illegal to have marijuana in an open container in a vehicle. This also applies to having a container with a broken seal in the passenger area. Also, the licensee should not carry any passenger in the vehicle.

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Colorado Marijuana Trafficking Laws