Photo Credit – Virgin Island free press
Use of Marijuana in Colorado
Over the years, most states in The US has enacted laws – some prohibiting, decriminalizing and some to prosecute those that indulge in marijuana, whether for medical or recreational uses. Recently, the use and acceptance of marijuana has been on the growth side, with many states allowing to some extent, its use and consumption.
Colorado was one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana use both by enacting laws and by amending its state constitution. Ever since then, people have been curious about how the law works. How much can I buy? Who can I buy from? Can I grow and/or sell it? Before making any decisions, make you understand how the laws work, for as they say – ‘ignorance of the law is not an excuse’.
It’s also important to remember that marijuana remains illegal under federal law under the Controlled Substance Act and, regardless of what a state’s marijuana laws say, federal law will always supersede. So far, federal law enforcement agencies have left policing marijuana within the state to Colorado authorities, but it still enforces restrictions on cases of interstate pot possession, manufacturing, cultivation and distribution.
Legal implications based on 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.
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 to 24 hours of community service as well as a maximum fine of $100.
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. Further information about cannabinoids and their impact on psychomotor performance is available here. Additional information regarding cannabinoids and proposed per se limits is available here.
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. For more information see NORML’s Industrial Use section.
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.