A Beginner’s Guide to Marijuana Use in Colorado

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Some skiing enthusiasts may see the legalization of recreational cannabis in Colorado as a golden opportunity for riding high.

But as with other states that have gone the legalization route, there are rules. So make sure to get acquainted with them before planning a big ski resort trip with Mary Jane.

Cannabis in Colorado

The Colorado Marijuana Legalization Amendment, or Amendment 64, passed with 55.3 percent of the vote in November 2012, legalizing recreational marijuana use for adults 21 and older.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2000, after voters passed Initiative 20.

The Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR) regulates recreational and medical marijuana in the state. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regulates the Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry.

Where and How to Buy

Adults 21 and older can buy up to 1 ounce, or 28.35 grams, of cannabis from a licensed retail store in the state. Consumers can find marijuana retail locations by searching on Weedmaps, which is the parent company of Marijuana.com.

Make sure to bring your government-issued ID to prove your age, and cash – since most retailers can’t deal with banks because of marijuana’s federal status as a Schedule I controlled substance.

Any adult with a government-issued ID that is 21 and old can buy pot from a recreational marijuana retailer, but Colorado doesn’t allow out-of-state medical marijuana patients to buy from dispensaries within the state.

Also, remember to leave minors at home. No one younger than  21 is allowed in the restricted retail area of the store.

What Isn’t Allowed

It’s illegal for individuals younger than 21 to buy or use recreational cannabis, and it’s a felony to sell or give it to anyone under age.

Adults 21 and older can’t buy or have more than 1 ounce, or 28.35 g, of cannabis at any time. They can give up to 1 ounce, or 28.35 g, of marijuana to another adult 21 and older, but can’t sell it.

Indoor or outdoor public use isn’t allowed – this includes amusement parks, ski resorts, bars, common areas of apartment and condo complexes, to name a few. Marijuana’s federal status as a Schedule I controlled substance also prohibits its use on federal land — national parks, forests, and yes, ski slopes.

Private property is the way to go with marijuana use, but it’s important to note that property owners have the right to  restrict use. In other words, your landlord can say you can’t smoke weed if you live in an apartment.

Same goes for hotels. If you’re planning a big vacation stay at a hotel, research whether the hotel allows marijuana use.

Along those lines, local rules can differ from the state’s. Remember to  do your research on specific areas.

First-Time Use in Colorado

While hitting the slopes high for the first time might have seemed like a good idea, it’s probably not. Not only is it illegal, but new users should shoot for a mellow experience.

With that in mind, ask plenty of questions at the dispensary and start with low doses. Know how you’ll react to the high before doing any vigorous activity.

About Author

Jessica Peralta is a multimedia journalist with experience covering a wide range of topics, including courts and crime, police and fire, health, education and community news for outlets like the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register.

1 Comment

  1. bubba budtender on

    good start! here are a few more tips:
    *any product that contains THC must stay in the state of colorado.
    *only driver’s licenses from the US are accepted. visitors from other countries must present a passport.
    *you may only purchase for yourself.
    *don’t drive while you’re high.
    *no cell phone usage in the dispensary.
    *don’t touch the buds!
    *your ID will most likely be scanned. if you’re super worried about where the info “goes,” you probably shouldn’t be buying marijuana.
    *if you mention that you plan to break any of these rules, your budtender has the right to refuse service.

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