The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment only approves medical marijuana use for individuals that deal with specific debilitating medical conditions. The approved list of medical conditions include:
Cancer: Scientists report that the chemicals in the marijuana plant have proven helpful in treating the side effects of cancer chemotherapy like nausea and vomiting. They also say that cannabis helps treat the chronic pain caused by damaged nerves.
Glaucoma: Many medical studies have reported that the cannabinoids present in marijuana may help decrease intraocular pressure (IOP) associated with glaucoma. This effect is persistent whether the patient eats or inhales the cannabis.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS): According to studies conducted at the University of Colorado Hospital, medical marijuana helps individuals living with HIV or AIDS manage weight loss, chronic pain, etc.
Any chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition which causes:
Cachexia (wasting syndrome / severe weight loss);
Seizures (including those caused by epilepsy);
Persistent muscle spasms (including those related to multiple sclerosis)
In Colorado, individuals that carry medical marijuana identification cards may benefit in the following ways:
Reduced Costs: Colorado charges a 2.9% sales tax from both medical and recreational marijuana sales. However, it also sets a 10% sales tax on retail marijuana and a 15% excise tax on the wholesale price of recreational marijuana (between cultivators and businesses). These additional taxes apply only to recreational cannabis and not to medical cannabis sales. Thus, owning a medical cannabis card in Colorado provides the privilege of lower cannabis prices.
Higher Possession Allowance: Another benefit of owning a Colorado medical cannabis card is having access to more marijuana than recreational users. Individuals without medical cannabis cards can have up to 1 oz of cannabis flower, 8 grams of concentrate, or 800 mg. of edibles (or a proportional mix). However, medical cannabis users may possess up to 2 oz. of a usable form of marijuana. They may also have up to six cannabis plants (but only three may be mature at any time).
Allowance for Minors: Only adults above 21 years old may buy or consume recreational marijuana by Colorado statutes. However, Colorado minors under 18 years old can obtain medical marijuana if they have their parents' consent and certified diagnoses from two doctors.
Medical Marijuana Cooperatives: Colorado allows individuals with medical marijuana cards to join medical marijuana cooperatives that grow cannabis on their behalf. Cooperatives ensure that patients can access a consistent quantity and quality of cannabis.
The Benefit of Doubt with Law Enforcement: Colorado has strict laws surrounding cannabis use. If the police stop a person carrying cannabis and a medical cannabis card, the police are less likely to suspect them of violating cannabis-related rules.
All Colorado medical marijuana identification cards have a validity period of 12 months. All patients may use their valid ID cards to purchase medical cannabis in Colorado's counties or other states that offer medical marijuana reciprocity.
Cardholders must send in their renewal applications within thirty days of their card's expiration date. Cardholders that allow their Colorado medical marijuana identification cards to expire without renewing them will lose the legal privileges that they provide.
No, there is no medical marijuana reciprocity program in place in Colorado. Thus, tourists and visitors from out of state may not purchase medical marijuana in Colorado but can buy it as recreational users.
The validity of your Colorado medical marijuana identification card is dependent on where you are going. If you visit a state where medical marijuana is illegal, your MMIC is invalid by default. Your Colorado medical marijuana identification card is also invalid in a medical cannabis state that does not offer medical marijuana reciprocity.
However, some US states have legalized medical cannabis and have medical cannabis reciprocity programs in place. If you visit any of these states, you may use your Colorado MMIC. Colorado medical marijuana identification cards are valid in the following states:
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's medical marijuana identification cards are valid in every one of the state's counties and municipalities. Thus, if you own a state-issued medical marijuana identification card, you may purchase medical cannabis from any medical dispensary in Colorado.
While medical marijuana is legal in Colorado, the state does not have a medical marijuana reciprocity program in place. Therefore, it does not accept medical marijuana cards issued by another state. If you are a tourist or a visitor, you will not be able to present your medical marijuana card at a Colorado medical dispensary. You may only purchase cannabis as a recreational user.
Per the Federal Controlled Substance Act, marijuana use is illegal. Therefore if you use medical marijuana in a federally-owned location, your Colorado MMIC will not protect you from arrest and prosecution. It can be challenging to know when you are on Colorado or federally-owned property. If you use medical marijuana in Colorado, the following situations might present a conflict of interest with federal law.
Federal Employment: Federal employees are not allowed to use medical marijuana. Thus, if you are federally employed and become a medical marijuana patient, you may lose your job. If you are applying for a federal job, your medical marijuana card may be grounds for denial.
Academic Financial Aid: Students typically have access to state and federal funding. However, as an MMIC cardholder, you might be ineligible for financial opportunities under federal control. Some federally-funded options include the Pell Grant, Perkins Loans, Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (aka PLUS Loans), Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, etc.
Firearm Use: Everyone that buys a firearm must complete Federal Form 4473 and answer questions about unlawful cannabis use. If you own a medical marijuana card, you may not be able to buy a firearm. If you already own a gun, getting a medical marijuana card might be a violation of federal law.
Housing: While individuals with Colorado medical marijuana cards can consume cannabis in their homes, this privilege may not apply if they live in federally subsidized housing. If you live in a federally funded home and use medical cannabis, you may be liable to arrest, prosecution, and lose your housing benefits.
Federal property: In Colorado, it is illegal to consume cannabis in public. However, you may run into more significant problems if you consume cannabis on federal property, including: