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Colorado Marijuana Laws

Penalty Details

Possession for Personal Use

Private possession by persons 21 years of age or older of up to one ounce is no penalty. Private cultivation of up to six marijuana plants, with no more than three being mature is no penalty. Transfer of one ounce or less for no remuneration is no penalty.

See

  • Colo. Const. Art. XVIII, Section 16(3)

Possession of more than 1 – 2 ounces is a drug petty offense that is punishable by a maximum fine of $100. The offender will be summoned and a court appearance is mandatory. Failure to appear in court is a Class 3 misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $750.

Possession of more than 2 to 6 ounces of marijuana is a level 2 drug misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1-year imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $700.

Possession of more than 6 ounces to 12 ounces is a level 1 drug misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to eighteen months of imprisonment and a fine of $500 – $5000.

Possession of more than 12 ounces is a level 4 drug felony which is punishable by 6 months – 2 years of imprisonment, as well as a fine between $1,000-$100,000.

One who openly and publicly displays, uses, or consumes 2 ounces of marijuana or less is guilty of a drug petty offense and may be subject to24 hours of community service as well as a maximum fine of $100.

See

  • § 18-1.3-401.5
  • § 18-1.3-501
  • §§ 18-18-406(4), (5)

Possession with Intent to Distribute

Possession of 8 ounces of marijuana or more is a lesser-included offense of possession with the intent to distribute. Each element of the possession offense is included except the quantity, which is a sentence enhancer, not an essential element of the offense.

See

  • People v. Garcia, 251 P.3d 1152 (Colo. App. 2010).

Sale or Distribution

Transfer of one ounce or less for no remuneration by persons 21 years of age or older is no penalty.

See

  • Colo. Const. Art. XVIII, Section 16

Retail sales of cannabis by state-licensed entities to those over the age of 21 are regulated in this state. Marijuana sales by unlicensed entities remain subject to criminal penalties.

The sale of 4 ounces or less of marijuana is a level 1 drug misdemeanor punishable by 6-18 months imprisonment as well as a fine between $500-$5,000.

The sale of more than 4 ounces, but not more than 12 ounces of marijuana is a level 4 drug felony and punishable by a sentence of 6 months – 2 years and a fine of $ 1,000 – $ 100,000.

The sale of more than 12 ounces but not more than 5 pounds of marijuana is a level 3 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 2 – 6 years and a fine of $ 2,000 – $ 500,000.

The sale of more than 5 pounds but not more than 50 pounds of marijuana is a level 2 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 4 – 16 years and a fine of $ 3,000 – $ 750,000.

The sale of more than 50 pounds of marijuana is a level 1 drug felony and punishable by a sentence of 8 – 32 years and a fine of $ 5,000 – $ 1,000,000.

See

  • § 18-1.3-401.5
  • § 18-1.3-501
  • § 18-18-406(2)(b)
To a Minor:

The sale, transfer, or dispensing of not more than 1 ounce of marijuana to a minor if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor is a level 4 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 6 months – 2 years and a fine of $ 1,000 – $ 100,000.

The sale, transfer, or dispensing of more than one ounce, but not more than six ounces of marijuana to a minor if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor is a level 3 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 2 – 6 years and a fine of $ 2,000 – $ 500,000.

The sale, transfer, or dispensing of more than 6 ounces, but not more than 2.5 pounds of marijuana to a minor if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor is a level 2 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 4 – 16 years and a fine of $ 3,000 – $ 750,000.

The sale, transfer, or dispensing of more than 2.5 pounds of marijuana to a minor if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor is a level 1 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 8 – 32 years and a fine of $ 5,000 – $ 1,000,000.

See

  • § 18-1.3-401.5
  • § 18-1.3-501
  • § 18-18-406(1)

Cultivation

There is no penalty in Colorado for persons who privately cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants, with no more than 3 being mature.

See

  • Colo. Const. Art. XVIII, Section 16(3)

The cultivation of 6 plants or fewer is a level 1 drug misdemeanor punishable by 6-18 months imprisonment as well as a fine between $500-$5,000, if not at least 21 years of age.

The cultivation of more than 6 but not more than 30 plants is a level 4 drug felony punishable by 6 months – 2 imprisonment as well as a fine between $1,000-$100,000.

The cultivation of more than 30 plants is a level 3 drug felony punishable by 2-6 years imprisonment as well as a fine between $2,000-$500,000.

See

  • § 18-1.3-401.5
  • § 18-1.3-501
  • 18-18-406(3) of the Colorado Revised Statutes

Hash & Concentrates

Private possession by persons 21 years of age or older of up to one ounce is no penalty.

See

  • Colo. Const. Art. XVIII, Section 16

Possession of more than 1 – 3 ounces of hashish or extracts is a level 1 misdemeanor punishable by a fine between $500 and $5,000 dollars and/or a term of imprisonment between 6 and 18 months.

Possession of more than 3 ounces of marijuana concentrate commits a level 4 drug felony punishable by 6 months – 2 years imprisonment as well as a fine between $1,000-$100,000.

See

  • § 18-1.3-401.5
  • § 18-1.3-501
  • § 18-18-406(4)
Sale:

The sale of 2 ounces or less of marijuana concentrate is a level 1 drug misdemeanor punishable by 6 -18 months imprisonment as well as a fine between $500-$5,000.

The sale of more than 2 ounces – 6 ounces of marijuana concentrate is a level 4 drug felony punishable by 6 months -2 years imprisonment as well as a fine between $1,000-$100,000.

The sale of more than 6 ounces – 2.5 pounds of marijuana concentrate is a level 3 drug felony punishable by 2 – 6 years imprisonment as well as a fine between $5,000-$500,000.

The sale of more than 2.5 – 25 pounds is a level 2 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 4 – 16 years and a fine of $ 3,000 – $ 750,000.

The sale of more than 25 pounds is a level 1 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 8 – 32 years and a fine of $ 5,000 – $ 1,000,000.

See

  • § 18-1.3-401.5
  • § 18-1.3-501
  • § 18-18-406(2)(b)
Sale to a Minor:

The sale, transfer, or dispensing of more than 1 pound of marijuana concentrate to a minor if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor is a level 1 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 8 – 32 years and a fine of $ 5,000 – $ 1,000,000.

The sale, transfer, or dispensing of more than 3 ounces, but not more than 1 pound of marijuana concentrate to a minor if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor is a level 2 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 4 – 16 years and a fine of $ 5,000 – $ 750,000.

The sale, transfer, or dispensing of more than .5 ounces, but not more than 3 ounces, of marijuana concentrate to a minor if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor is a level 3 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 2 – 6 years and a fine of $ 2,000 – $ 500,000.

The sale, transfer, or dispensing of not more than .5 ounces of marijuana concentrate to a minor if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor is a level 4 drug felony punishable by a sentence of 6 months – 2 years and a fine of $ 1,000 – $ 100,000.

See

  • § 18-1.3-401.5
  • § 18-1.3-501
  • § 18-18-406(1)

Paraphernalia

Possession of paraphernalia is a drug petty offense that is punishable by a fine of up to $100.

See

  • § 18-18-428 of the Colorado Revised Statutes
Conditional Release

The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual’s criminal record does not reflect the charge.

Drugged Driving

This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold. 

Hemp

This state has an active hemp industry or has authorized research. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and other products. 

Legalization

This state has legalized marijuana for personal use.

Medical Marijuana

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective. For more information see NORML’s Medical Marijuana section.

Colorado Drugged Driving

In Colorado, a person is guilty of a DUI if he or she operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or one or more drugs, OR he or she operates a motor vehicle as an habitual user of any controlled substance. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42-4-1301(1)(a)-(c) (West 2010).

The law states that in instances where THC is identified in a driver’s blood in quantities of 5ng/ml or higher, “such fact gives rise to permissible inference that the defendant was under the influence.”

Affirmative Defense

The fact that any person charged is or has been entitled to use one or more drugs under the laws of this state, including, but not limited to, the legal or medical use of marijuana shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this subsection. Id. § 42-4-1301(1)(e).

Implied Consent

  • A person who drives a motor vehicle upon the streets and highways and elsewhere throughout this state shall be required to take and complete, and to cooperate in the taking and completing of, any test or tests of the person’s breath or blood when so requested and directed by a law enforcement officer having probable cause to believe that the person was driving a motor vehicle in violation of the prohibitions against DUI, DUI per se, DWAI, habitual user, or UDD. Id. § 42-4-1301.1(2)(a)(I).
  • If a person refuses to take or to complete any test or tests and such person subsequently stands trial for DUI or DWAI, the refusal to take or to complete, or to cooperate with the completing of, any test or tests shall be admissible into evidence at the trial. Id. § 42-4-1301(6)(a)(III)(d).
  • Neither the results of such preliminary screening test nor the fact that the person refused such test shall be used in any court action except in a hearing outside of the presence of a jury, when such hearing is held to determine if a law enforcement officer had probable cause to believe that the driver committed a violation of this section. The results of such preliminary screening test shall be made available to the driver or the driver’s attorney on request. Id. § 42-4-1301 (6)(h)(i)(III).
  • The department shall revoke the license of a person for refusal of test for one year for a first refusal, two years for a second refusal of test and three years for a third or subsequent refusal. Id. § 42-2-126(3)(c)(I).
  • Generally, an arrested person has no right to consult with an attorney before taking a chemical test. Drake v. Colorado Dept. of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Div., 674 P.2d 359 (1984).
  • When an arresting officer invokes the sanctions of the implied consent law by requesting the driver to submit to chemical testing, the officer has a corresponding duty to comply with the driver’s request for a blood test. People v. Gillett, 629 P.2d 613 (1981).

Penalties

  • First offense (DUI, DUI per se, or habitual user) – imprisonment in the county jail for a mandatory minimum of five days but no more than one year; fine of at least six hundred dollars, but no more than one thousand dollars; at least forty-eight hours but no more than ninety-six hours of useful public service; the court may impose a period of probation that shall not exceed two years, which probation may include any conditions permitted by law.Id. § 42-4-1307(3).
  • First offense (DWAI)* – imprisonment in the county jail for a mandatory minimum of two days but no more than one hundred eighty days; fine of at least two hundred dollars but no more than five hundred dollars; at least twenty-four hours but no more than forty-eight hours of useful public service; the court may impose a period of probation that shall not exceed two years, which probation may include any conditions permitted by law. Id. § 42-4-1307(4).
    • * “Driving while ability impaired” or “DWAI” means driving a motor vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol, one or more drugs, or a combination of both, that affects the person to the slightest degree which fails to meet the level for DUI impairment. There is only a sentencing disparity when it comes to the first offense. After the first DUI or DWAI each subsequent DUI or DWAI is punished without distinction.
  • Second offense – imprisonment in the county jail for a mandatory minimum ten consecutive days but no more than one year; fine of at least six hundred dollars but no more than one thousand five hundred dollars; at least forty-eight hours but no more than one hundred twenty hours of useful public service; a period of probation of at least two years. Id. § 42-4-1307(5).
  • Third and subsequent offense – imprisonment in the county jail for a mandatory minimum of sixty consecutive days but no more than one year; mandatory participation in a court-ordered alcohol and drug driving safety education or treatment program; fine of at least six hundred dollars but no more than one thousand five hundred dollars; at least forty-eight hours but no more than one hundred twenty hours of useful public service; a period of probation of at least two years. Id. § 42-4-1307(6).

Sobriety Checkpoints

Sobriety checkpoints are permissible in Colorado under both the state and federal Constitution.

  • In light of the state’s substantial interest in combating drunk driving, sobriety checkpoint was not “unreasonable” under Fourth Amendment. The stops averaged no longer than three minutes and were found to be a relatively minor burden on motorists. Checkpoint was held permissible when officer did not stop vehicles that turned around to avoid checkpoint. People v. Rister, 803 P.2d 483 (Col. 1990).

Case Law

Stanger v. Colorado Dept. of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Div., State of Colo., 780 P.2d 64 (1989) — An arresting officer has the discretion to demand a driver to submit to tests in order to reveal the presence of drugs if driver is suspected of DUI-drug offense. The driver has no right to choose which test.

Cox v. People, 735 P.2d 153 (1987) — Since driver may have reason for refusing to submit to test that is unrelated to consciousness of guilt, inference of intoxication that is permissible from evidence of driver’s refusal to take blood or breath test is rebuttable.
Drake v. Colorado Dept. of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Div., 674 P.2d 359 (1984) — Generally, an arrested person has no right to consult with an attorney before taking a chemical test. If a defendant refuses to consent to testing before talking to an attorney, such behavior will generally be deemed a refusal.

Halter v. Department of Revenue of State of Colo., Motor Vehicle Div., 857 P.2d 535 (1993) – Officers’ request that driver undergo drug testing was reasonable where breath test showed no presence of alcohol but driver displayed various indications of intoxication. If an officer has probable cause to supported arrest and breath alcohol test, officer also may request that driver submit to drug test. If driver passes the breath test, drug use is a reasonable explanation for driver’s intoxication regardless of whether other evidence existed to support search for drugs.

Dayhoff v. State, Motor Vehicle Division, 595 P.2d 1051 (1979) — Driver not driving on public highway is not controlled by implied consent statute. Driver may refuse test without license suspension.

Thompson v. People, 510 P.2d 311 (1979) — Standard of proof for DUI is “substantially under the influence,” rather than intoxication to the “slightest degree”. The degree of intoxication must be substantial so as to render one incapable of safely operating a vehicle.

Colorado Hemp Law

Year Passed: 2013
Summary:Senate Bill 241 creates a new program within the Department of Agriculture to oversee the regulation of commercial hemp production. Senate Bill 241 classifies cannabis possessing no more than three-tenths of one percent THC as an agricultural commodity and establishes a 9-member committee within the state Department of Agriculture to oversee the creation of regulations governing the licensed cultivation of hemp for commercial and research purposes.
Statute: Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 35-61, 101-109 (2014)

Colorado Medical Marijuana Law

QUALIFYING CONDITIONS

  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic nervous system disorders
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Nausea
  • Persistent Muscle Spasms
  • Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
  • Seizures

PATIENT POSSESSION LIMITS

Two ounces of usable marijuana.

HOME CULTIVATION

Yes, patients (or their primary caregivers) may cultivate no more than six marijuana plants, with three or fewer being mature, flowering plants that are producing a usable form of marijuana.

STATE-LICENSED DISPENSARIES ALLOWED

Yes

STATE-LICENSED DISPENSARIES OPERATIONAL

Yes

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES

  • Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-1.5-106 (2003) (originally enacted as § 25-1-107(1)(jj) (2001))
  • C.O. Const. art. XVIII, §14 (2001)
  • Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-18-406.3 (2001)
  • Colo. Rev. Stat. §25-1.5-106 (2), (10) (2001)

CAREGIVERS

Yes, primary caregiver is a person other than the patient or the patient’s physician. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older. A patient can only have one primary caregiver at a time. A patient who has designated a primary caregiver for himself or herself may not be designated as a primary caregiver for another patient. A primary caregiver may be listed on the medical marijuana registry for no more than 5 patients.

ESTIMATED NUMBER OF REGISTERED PATIENTS

RECIPROCITY

No

CONTACT INFORMATION

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
HSVR-ADM2-A1
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80246-1530
Phone: 303-692-2184