Possession of Marijuana Charges in Colorado

With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado — known as Amendment 64 — many people got excited to light up and chose to stop listening there. Unfortunately, as with any other legal substance, there are laws and limitations, and things that make it illegal. The legalization of the recreational use of marijuana did not make it a free-for-all, which you may already know if you have found yourself facing criminal charges of possession or cultivation of marijuana. Don’t let a simple mistake or misunderstanding of the law have long-lasting effects on your life and career. If you have been charged with possession of marijuana in Colorado Springs, consult the legal counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The legal team at the Law Offices of Murphy and Price are experienced in handling a variety of drug charges — both misdemeanor and felony. Contact us for your consultation today!

Marijuana Possession Laws in Colorado

If you are an adult over the age of 21 and have a government-issued ID to prove that you are of age, you are legally allowed to possess and consume marijuana, within the state of Colorado. You do not need to be a Colorado resident and there is no registration system. However, you may only possess up to one ounce of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. This means that you may have up to one ounce of bud, concentrates, edibles, topicals, or cannabis seed. Both Colorado residents and tourists can now purchase up to 28 grams in a single transaction.

The laws do not permit the consumption of marijuana “openly and publicly,” so similar to open container laws, you are not legally allowed to consume openly. Also similar to drinking laws, it remains illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence or to consume while driving and could result in a DUI, DWAI, or an open container charge. The state law that allows you to possess and consume cannabis does not allow you to possess or consume at your place of employment, nor does it supersede your employer’s right to forbid the use of marijuana while you are employed with them.

It is expressly against the law to remove recreational cannabis or medical marijuana from Colorado for any reason. This means if you are a visiting tourist, you must consume your marijuana within state limits, within legal consumption areas. It is illegal to transport or mail cannabis beyond states limits. Additionally, off-limits areas for marijuana possession and consumption include national parks, national forests, monuments, or federal courthouses. Ski areas that are located on federal land are also off-limits areas, so it is important to know where you are going and how the laws change there.

Each Colorado resident who is 21 years or older, is legally allowed to cultivate up to six marijuana plants for personal use. However, it is still illegal to distribute or sell your marijuana without a license. Do NOT, under any circumstance, attempt to produce hash oil from marijuana, as this a drug felony and an activity with potentially dangerous repercussions.

If you are facing criminal charges including possession of marijuana over one ounce, DUI/DWAI, minor consumption, cultivation, open container, drug distribution, possession with the intent to distribute, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, or drug trafficking, contact the Law Offices of Murphy and Price for your legal consultation.

Clarifying Colorado Marijuana Penalties

Colorado Possession and Use Penalties

Under Colorado law, adults over the age of 21, that are not otherwise prohibited — incarcerated, on probation, etc. — are authorized to purchase an ounce of marijuana or its equivalent, and possess and use the same amount. For anything more than an ounce, the potential charges are as follows.

Charge Class Presumptive Sentencing Presumptive Fines
Possession of >1 oz., but <2oz. Class 2 petty offense N/A Up to $100
Public display or use of <2oz. Class 2 petty offense Up to 15 days Up to $100
Public display or use of >2 oz. Class 2 misdemeanor 3 – 12 months $250 – $1,000
Possession of 2-6 oz. Class 2 misdemeanor 3 – 12 months $250 – $1,000
Possession 6-12 oz. (or <3oz. marijuana concentrate) Class 1 misdemeanor 6 – 18 months $500 – $5,000
Possession >12 oz. (or >3 oz, concentrate) Class 6 felony 1 – 2 years $1,000 – $100,000
Possession of <5 lbs (or 1 lb concentrate) Class 5 felony 1 – 3 years $1,000 – $100,000
Possession 5-100 lbs (or 1-100 lbs concentrate) Class 4 felony 2 – 6 years $2,000 – $500,000
Possession >100 lbs, or subsequent convictions Class 3 felony 4 – 12 years $3,000 – $750,000

Colorado Marijuana Sale and Distribution Penalties

Although Colorado law permits the purchase, possession, and consumption of marijuana in any form, for any reason, it remains illegal to sell, deliver, or distribute marijuana or its derivatives. Potential charges are as follows.

Charge Class Presumptive Sentencing Presumptive Fines
<2 oz. without payment Class 2 petty offense N/A Up to $100
Selling 2oz. To 5lbs to a person between the ages of 15-18 Class 4 felony 2 – 6 years $2,000 – $500,000
Selling >5 lbs to a person ages 15-18 Class 3 felony 2 – 6 years $2,000 – $500,000
Selling or providing marijuana or its derivative to person .15 yrs Class 3 felony 4 – 12 years, with minimum mandatory 4 years. $3,000 – $750,000
Selling 4-12 oz (or 2-6 oz concentrate) Class 4 felony 6 months – 2 years $1,000 – $100,000
Selling 12 oz – 5 lbs (or 6 oz – 2.5 lbs concentrate) Class 3 felony 2 – 6 years $2,000 – $500,000
Selling 5-50 pounds (or 2.5-25 lbs concentrate) Class 2 felony 4 – 16 years $3,000 – $750,000
Selling 50+ lbs (or 25+ lbs concentrate) Class 1 felony 8 – 32 years $5,000 – $1 million

Colorado Marijuana Cultivation, Processing, and Manufacturing Penalties

Under Colorado law, each person over the age of 21 can grow up to 6 marijuana plants for personal use on a property that they control. Violation of this law can result in charges as follows.

Charge Class Presumptive Sentencing Presumptive Fines
<6 plants, not for personal use (intent to distribute) Class 1 misdemeanor 6 – 18 months $500 – $5,000
7 – 29 plants Class 5 felony 1 – 3 years $1,000 – $100,000
30+ plants, processing, or manufacturing Class 4 felony 2 – 6 years $2,000 – $500,000
2nd offense Class 3 felony 4 – 12 years, with minimum mandatory 4 years $3,000 – $750,000

If you are facing any of these charges or penalties, contact The Law Office of Murphy and Price for criminal defense in Colorado Springs. Let us start building your case now.

Marijuana Possession For Tourists

If you are a tourist visiting Colorado, you are legally able to enjoy recreational cannabis while you are within state limits and not located on federal property, as mentioned above. However, state laws apply to you the same as they do to residents, and if the law is broken, you cannot simply return to your state of residence and leave your charges in Colorado. Criminal drug charges follow you, so it is important to address them. At the Law Offices of Murphy and Price, the legal team has been providing criminal defense for tourists facing charges in Colorado for decades! Contact us for your legal consultation today.

Possession of Marijuana Charges in the Military

If you are a service member stationed at a military installation in Colorado or you are the family member of a service member, Colorado state law does not apply to you or any military installation. Service members and military installations fall under federal law and the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. So, it does not matter if you are the service member enjoying legal Colorado marijuana at an off-post location, or you are the civilian family member of a service member who wants to enjoy your legal marijuana in your on-post home, neither of these situations is legal and you will be charged with federal drug offenses and/or UCMJ action. If you or someone you know has been charged with possession of marijuana on a federal installation or is a service member charged anywhere, you need a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in military law. Warren D. Price, Esq. has decades of experience providing legal counsel to military members in Colorado Springs. Contact the Law Office of Murphy and Price, LLP for your consultation today!