Is marijuana legal in Colorado?
Yes, both medical and recreational marijuana are legal in the state of Colorado. Individuals who are 18 years and older can obtain a medical marijuana card to purchase or possess products from a medical marijuana dispensary. Those without a medical card must be 21 years or older (with a valid government issued ID) to legally purchase or possess products from a recreational dispensary. Note that medical marijuana cards are for Colorado residents only.
What is the difference between medical and retail marijuana?
In the state of Colorado, purchasing medical marijuana requires a state "red card," (issued to those in the state patient registry) which is only distributed to Colorado residents with an official recommendation by a doctor. This recommendation documents that the patient is suffering from a medical condition that may be helped with use of marijuana. Medical marijuana patients can receive cannabis from a primary caregiver, self-grow their own or purchase from a licensed medical marijuana dispensary.
Recreational marijuana is available to both residents and non-residents of Colorado, however you must be 21 years old and older with a government issued ID (i.e. a driver's license or passport) in order to purchase or possess any products. Only licensed retail marijuana stores may sell retail marijuana.
Note that customers will pay higher taxes in a recreational dispensary, thanks to a general sales tax, special retail tax and an excise tax. Check out this article for more information about taxes in Colorado.
For more information on what to expect when visiting your first retail marijuana dispensary, click here.
Are out-of-state medical marijuana cards honored in Colorado?
Unfortunately, Colorado does not have reciprocity for out-of-state medical marijuana cards.
Where can I buy marijuana in Colorado?
Recreational retail marijuana dispensaries are open for business, in addition to medical marijuana dispensaries. There are now over 400 recreational marijuana dispensaries and over 400 medical dispensaries open in Colorado. For the full directory of stores, click here.
How much marijuana can I buy or possess?
Any adult 21 years or older is allowed to purchase and possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams) in a single transaction (previously, tourists were restricted to only 7 grams per transaction). Medical patients are allowed to posses up to 2 ounces (56 grams) or its equivalent. Larger amounts for possession are permitted to medical patients granted extended plant counts for severe illnesses.
Note that you can buy a mix of flower (or bud), edibles and concentrates, but the laws have changed as of October 1, 2016. Because the MED argues that some products (like concentrates) have a higher level of THC than flower, you won't be able to purchase the same amount in both forms. The 'Marijuana Equivalency' rules impact recreational sales only, but state that 1oz of flower = 8g of concentrate (shatter, wax, etc.) while 1oz of flower = 800mg of edibles.
It's important to remember that these regulations apply to sales, not possession. As per the Colorado Constitution, you are allowed to legally posses 1oz (or 28g) of THC. Learn more here.
What types of marijuana are available?
In addition to hundreds of different strains of flower (or bud), you can also find marijuana in many different forms for sale. Hash, hash oil, kief, edibles (such as baked goods or candies) and THC capsules are all readily available for your enjoyment. Currently, Colorado has relatively few restrictions on allowable cannabis preparations.
What are the operating hours for recreational marijuana stores?
The state allows marijuana dispensaries to operate from 8am to 12am. Cities can implement more restrictive hours than the state allows. For instance, Denver stores are required to close by 10pm.
If you are arriving in Denver after 10pm, you may want to check out the stores in Edgewater or Glendale, which are cities bordering Denver that allow stores to remain open until 12am. Aurora is another city which borders Denver and also allows dispensaries to remain open until 10pm.
Worried about your privacy when visiting a recreational shop? Learn more here.
Can I smoke in public in Colorado?
No, not legally. The law in Colorado restricts consumption of marijuana to private areas only, like a home or 420-friendly hotel room. There is a lot of grey area in the law right now, so please use discretion at all times. For more information on marijuana laws in Colorado, click here.
Can I smoke in a dispensary? Are there smoke shops that allow public consumption?
Unfortunately, you cannot consume cannabis in or around a licensed marijuana dispensary. It is also illegal to smoke at indoor (yet public) spaces like bars, restaurants, etc. As of today, you can visit several different social lounges (some licensed, some not) to consume on site.
Can I travel with marijuana to another state or country?
No, traveling with cannabis over state lines is 100% illegal. You can get a DUI if you’re driving under the influence of marijuana and if you're caught with products in a car, you could face severe penalties and even jail time.
If you are traveling with marijuana in your car, remember to keep it in an closed container away from the driver, but note that it’s always illegal to consume marijuana in a motor vehicle.
What are the consequences for breaking marijuana laws in Colorado?
If you break a marijuana law in the state of Colorado, there are a variety of penalties that could be implemented, ranging from fines to jail time. Note that laws regarding possession are the same across the board, whether you’re talking about edibles versus flower or smoking in public.