Is weed legal in Colorado?
Yes. Both adult-use and medical marijuana are legal in the state of Colorado and you can find licensed dispensaries throughout the state.
Medical cannabis has been legal in the Centennial State since 2000 when voters approved Initiative 20, which became Amendment 20 and was codified into Colorado’s constitution as article XVIII, section 14. It legalized medical marijuana and created an identification card system for patients and their caregivers. The medical and recreational laws were later combined into the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) Title 44, Article 10.
The Colorado Marijuana Legalization Amendment, also known as Amendment 64, was approved by voters on Nov. 6, 2012. Amendment 64 legalized recreational cannabis for adults 21 and older and established sales and cultivation taxes. It was codified into Colorado’s constitution as article XVIII, section 16.
In 2019 the state passed HB 1230, which created new business licenses for marijuana lounges, tasting rooms, and other cannabis-based hospitality businesses, allowing consumers to consume marijuana and marijuana-infused products purchased elsewhere.
Colorado marijuana laws and Colorado’s adult-use marijuana industry are regulated by the Colorado Department of Revenue (CDOR). It also provides regulatory oversight and licensing for medical marijuana production, distribution, testing, and sales. The Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry is regulated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
Where is it safe to purchase?
Adults 21 and older and medical marijuana patients may legally purchase marijuana from any state-licensed dispensary. If patients are unable to make the transaction themselves, they may also designate a caregiver to purchase and deliver medical marijuana on their behalf. Patients may choose to purchase from dispensaries that only sell to registered patients.
Medical marijuana and medical marijuana products are subject to the state’s sales tax. Retail marijuana and marijuana-infused products are exempt from this sales tax but they are subject to a 15% retail marijuana tax, which is added to the final retail purchase price. In addition, wholesalers pay a 15% excise tax on their first sale to a processor or retailer. That tax gets built into the retail price.
Cannabis delivery is allowed in Colorado. Travelers cannot bring marijuana to Denver International Airport or any other airport.
Finding licensed dispensaries in Colorado
Adult-use consumers and medical marijuana cardholders can find licensed dispensaries in Colorado and search by major metro areas including Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Denver. Many dispensaries offer delivery and curbside pickup services in addition to storefront sales.
Where is it safe to consume?
It is legal to consume medical or recreational cannabis in private. Colorado also licenses “hospitality establishments” — lounges, tasting rooms, and other locations where customers can purchase and consume marijuana and marijuana-infused products.
It is illegal to use or consume cannabis in a motor vehicle, and it is illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis.
While adult-use and medical marijuana in Colorado is legal, there are still legal limits to how much one may possess.
Adults 21 and older may possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana or cannabis-infused products and 8 grams of concentrates.
Adults may also give away up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of usable cannabis to another adult 21.
Qualifying patients and their caregivers may legally possess up to 2 ounces (57 grams) of usable cannabis.
Adults and qualifying patients (or their caregivers) may each grow or possess a maximum of six marijuana plants, with three plants in the flowering stage, and a total of 12 plants on a residential property regardless of the number of adults or patients living there.
Caregivers must provide the location of each cannabis cultivation site and the registration number of each patient they serve. If any patient qualifies for more plants, those plants and their corresponding patient registry numbers must be registered with the CDOR. The specific laws regarding cultivation and patient plant counts vary by city and county.
Only homebound patients and minors may designate a transporting caregiver. When registering, transporting caregivers must provide the registration number of each homebound patient and the total number of plants and quantities that the caregiver is authorized to transport. Additionally, transporting caregivers must also provide the location of each patient’s registered medical marijuana center or caregiver cultivation site, if applicable.
The Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry is a statewide program that allows patients with qualifying medical conditions to receive a registry ID card for legal access to medical marijuana. Registry ID cards are available to Colorado residents only and must be renewed yearly. For patients, this includes an annually updated physician’s certificate.
The Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry established a state-authorized ID card, along with an online database used to track and verify qualified patients and their designated caregivers. Patients and caregivers must each apply for a registry card. Minors must apply with a parent or legal guardian and must submit two physician’s certificates.
- Any condition for which a physician could prescribe an opioid
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Persistent muscle spasms
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Severe nausea
- Severe pain
- Create a registry account online.
- Obtain a physician’s recommendation.
Submit a valid Colorado driver’s license or ID to establish residency.
- Designate a caregiver and submit a valid caregiver’s registration ID, if applicable.
- Designate cultivation status.
- Pay a $25 Medical Marijuana Registry Identification Card fee.
Caregivers are required to register annually with the CDOR Caregivers Registry to transport or grow cannabis on behalf of a patient. Caregivers must be at least 18 years old and be a permanent resident of Colorado. Caregivers can choose one or more of these four designations:
- Cultivating: grows marijuana on behalf of patients
- Transporting: transports marijuana for homebound or minor patients
- Parents of a minor patient: parents or legal guardians of a patient younger than 18
- Advising: advises patients on the medicinal use of marijuana
Only caregivers who are cultivating and transporting cannabis are required to register with the CDOR Caregivers Registry; advising caregivers and parents of a minor patient do not need to register.
Colorado allows any adult with a government-issued ID to purchase cannabis from a recreational dispensary if they are 21 or older. However, there are some dispensaries in Colorado that are for medical marijuana patients only. Colorado does not offer reciprocity. Out-of-state patients cannot purchase from medical marijuana dispensaries and will have to make their purchases as recreational customers.
The CDOR requires that all cannabis harvested for adult use must be tested to meet certain quality and safety control standards. Labs test for:
- Cannabinoid potency
- Microbes (bacteria and fungi)
- Residual solvents