With the passing of Amendment 64, adults who are over the age of 21 are legally able to possess one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana or THC.
However, this is not a blanket “pot is legal” law. Yes, whether you are a citizen or visitor to Colorado, you are legally able to enjoy concentrates, edibles, topicals, and other marijuana products. But, before you get excited and make a stop at your nearest dispensary, there are a few things you should know.
Your job still has the right to prohibit it and drug test you.
Colorado state law allows for a whole host of non-work appropriate activities — consumption of alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and participating in sex acts. This does not mean that your place of employment has to allow such behavior. If it is in your company’s policy or employee handbook, you may still suffer the consequences of partaking in marijuana and are still subject to random drug testing.
If you are a state or federal employee, violation of the strict drug policy may mean more than the forfeiture of your job, but could result in legal action against you, forfeiture of pension, and any other consequences listed in your contract. As a member of the Armed Forces, you may be subject to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and discharged from service.
While job violations typically do not result in an arrest, it may if you are under the influence at work, especially if you are in a public service role, a position of authority, or drive or take care of others for a living.
The rules are similar to that of drinking alcohol.
Yes, you may consume marijuana in Colorado, just like you can consume alcohol. There are, however, limits and rules. You cannot drive under the influence, smoke in public, or be obviously intoxicated. You cannot supply marijuana to persons under 21, “deal,” or possess more than an ounce. You cannot transport or export marijuana, nor may you consume it on federal land (which includes most campgrounds and ski resorts.)
Individual counties and cities have different regulations regarding the purchase and consumption of pot, and those regulations trump the state law that allows you to consume it. Military installations, for example, strictly prohibit not only the use of marijuana but also the possession of any marijuana product. Signs are posted and once you enter the gate, you are subject to federal regulation, whether or not you are a service member. As a civilian, you may be arrested on a military installation for being under the influence of pot or pot products.
You may be arrested and charged if you possess, use, or are under the influence of marijuana substances on a military installation or federal property.
Once you leave Colorado, you are subject to new state law.
Colorado Amendment 64 applies to Colorado only. While it does provide both residents and tourists the ability to purchase and consume marijuana, this applies strictly to Colorado. It is a crime to take marijuana across state lines or in an aircraft. You may be arrested and face whatever punishment applies in the state you are arrested in.
You are still subject to immigration laws.
As an immigrant, you fall under federal law and Colorado state Amendments do not apply. A common misconception is that as a Colorado resident, you have the same rights as others. Unfortunately, in the immigration process, you are subject to federal law, which states that it is a crime to possess marijuana. Medical and recreational use of marijuana or employment in the marijuana industry may result in revocation of your legal status and an arrest by ICE officials.
If you have been arrested or are facing state or federal charges regarding your marijuana possession or use, trust the criminal defense lawyers with experience. At the Law Offices of Murphy and Price in Colorado Springs, we are familiar with the evolving laws regarding recreational marijuana use. We have decades of experience trying cases in the federal docket and representing military service members in state and federal courts, as well as with UCMJ charges and court martials. We also specialize in assisting immigrants and tourists facing state and federal charges. Regardless of your Colorado status or what your drug charges are, contact us to schedule your consultation today.