Colorado recreational use laws made Colorado the first place in the United States to allow the sale and use of marijuana to any person over the age of 21 for any purpose. For this reason, marijuana connoisseurs have flocked to Colorado to legally partake in the herb in all its glory. However, not having a firm understanding of the laws can extend that vacation to include jail time or result in facing criminal charges once you return home.
At the Law Offices of Murphy and Price, Colorado Springs criminal defense attorneys, we have a wealth of experience defending tourists and visitors of Colorado against drug charges. To help prevent you from facing charges and searching the local ads for a drug charge lawyer in Colorado, we thought we would dedicate today’s post to educating guests of our great state on the laws regarding recreational marijuana. This post will answer some frequently asked questions for tourists. Our hope is that it will help prevent you from facing criminal charges. If you are already facing charges because you weren’t aware you were violating the law, contact us for the criminal defense you deserve.
Recreational Marijuana Laws for Colorado Visitors
Before we jump into answering your questions, let’s take a quick look at the basics. In December 2012, Colorado passed Amendment 64 which permits the sale of marijuana, for any purpose, to any person over the age of 21 since January of 2014. Visitors with a valid out of state ID can purchase up to a one-quarter ounce of marijuana at a time and legally consume it.
Marijuana, much like alcohol, is prohibited from being used in some places. Additionally, you may not be under the influence of any substance while driving a motor vehicle, lest you face DWAI charges. You may not purchase marijuana for someone else, nor can you sell yours. Most importantly, Colorado recreational use laws only apply within the four borders of Colorado. You may, under no circumstances, legally purchase marijuana in Colorado and transport it across state lines.
Is it legal to buy weed anywhere in the state?
There are hundreds of smoke and pot shops throughout the state. Much like liquor stores, anyone of age can enter and purchase whatever they would like so long as it does not exceed the legal limit. For non-Colorado residents, that limit is one-quarter ounce in any form. It is still illegal to purchase marijuana from any unlicensed person or establishment.
Since marijuana is still against federal law, will I be charged by the feds?
So long as you are of legal age and in possession of a legal amount, no. However, if you are prohibited by other regulations — immigrations, probation, military service — you are still bound by those laws and state recreational use laws will not override them. For instance, if you are visiting a service member on Fort Carson, although you are free to purchase and use marijuana in Colorado Springs, it is against federal law to take it on post. Additionally, if you are a service member stationed on Fort Carson or another Colorado military installation, you are bound by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
Where can I consume my pot?
This is where a lot of people get in trouble. While the laws allow you to purchase and consume marijuana, there are strict restrictions on where. You may not smoke in public, at parks, at your place of employment, at the smoke shop, on Colorado ski resorts, at parks, at national parks or on federal land, or in a vehicle. Landlords and hotel owners can prohibit renters from smoking in the residence. Many cities prohibit the consumption in your backyard or front porch where a walker-by may be able to smell it. This is all to say that the only real places you can consume your recreational marijuana are in a private residence where the owner is okay with it and private establishments that are designated smoke areas.
How can I take my marijuana home with me?
The short answer is, you can’t. As we mentioned before, Colorado recreational use laws only apply within Colorado. While you are here, you are a guest of Colorado and privy to the rights of locals. However, you cannot take the marijuana out of the state. You cannot drive over state limits with it, put it in the mail, nor can you take it to the airport or on a plane. Once you leave the state, you are subject to the laws of the state in which you find yourself.
If it’s legal, can I still be fired from my job?
The answer to that is between you and your employer. Yes, the use of marijuana is legal in the state of Colorado. However, that law does not require every employer to allow it and you are still subject to the regulations of your job. State law will protect you where it can, but as we stated earlier, it does not trump private contracts, federal law, or special situations.
While recreational use of marijuana is legal in Colorado for adults over 21, there are things you should know prior to purchasing and consuming that you should be aware of. If you are abiding by the law, you shouldn’t have a problem. If you have found yourself facing charges here in Colorado, at the Law Offices of Murphy and Price, we have decades of experience defending tourists, military service members, and Colorado residents. Whether you are facing state or federal drug charges, contact us so we can begin building your case today!