The cannabis laws in Colorado have been made very liberal early on in the last decade, much earlier than some of the other states where recreational marijuana use is legal. For both medical and recreational use, the cannabis laws in Colorado have been very liberating, making this state one of the best in terms of cannabis consumption and possession.
We will take a look at how the cannabis laws in Colorado were shaped to become how they are today, as well as the legal requirements for testing, possession and medical marijuana user registration.
History of Cannabis Laws in Colorado
The state of Colorado made medical marijuana available for qualifying patients available very early on in comparison to other states. Thanks to Initiative 20 which was passed by a marginal vote of 53.5%, the new cannabis laws in Colorado were introduced which gave patients the right to freely purchase marijuana for their medical needs. This bill put in place a medical marijuana identity card which is given out to patients and their designated caregivers.
The legalization of recreational marijuana was made legal on 6th November 2012 with the passing of Amendment 64 or the Colorado Marijuana Legalization Amendments. With these amendments, according to the cannabis laws in Colorado, consumption, and possession of marijuana was made legal for adults over the age of 21.
The Colorado Medical Marijuana Program is regulated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The recreational use, on the other hand, is regulated by the Colorado Department of Revenue which is responsible for overseeing the licensing and production process which is in the hands of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and it is also responsible for regulating the distribution, testing, sales, and taxation.
Cannabis in Colorado via Yahoo News
Where to Buy Cannabis in Colorado?
According to the cannabis laws in Colorado, anyone over the age of 21 is allowed to purchase marijuana in one of the state-licensed dispensaries. There is a 15% retails tax on all marijuana sales for recreational use on both retail marijuana and marijuana-infused products.
When it comes to patients, there are special medical marijuana dispensaries where only identification card holders are allowed to make a purchase. The tax for medical marijuana is significantly lower, standing at 2.9%. If the patients are unable to go to a medical marijuana dispensary to buy the cannabis themselves, they might appoint a caregiver who is allowed to purchase marijuana on their behalf.
Where Can You Consume Cannabis in Colorado?
According to the cannabis laws in Colorado, marijuana consumption is legal as long as it is done in a private space away from the public. Open and public consumption of marijuana is considered illegal, and this is especially true in regards to consuming marijuana in close proximity of a school or a place of worship.
Driving under the influence is forbidden for both medical and recreational users and it is also not allowed for marijuana to be consumed in a motor vehicle. If you are stopped while driving under the influence of cannabis, if the patrol suspects that you have consumed marijuana before driving, you might be asked to take a blood test. Refusing to take the blood test can have the same consequences as refusing to be breathalyzed i.e. your driver’s license might be suspended.
Cannabis transportation is prohibited in “open containers”. Plastic bags are considered open containers, so you shouldn’t be transporting marijuana in the passengers’ region of the car in a bag. To be safe, it is best to place the cannabis in a closed and sealed container inside of the trunk. In that way, you are not keeping the cannabis within reach in the vehicle and therefore abiding the law.
Cannabis Dispensary in Colorado via Cannabis Radio
It is also illegal to possess marijuana on federal land such as national parks, monuments, national forests and similar.
While public marijuana consumption is not allowed, there are marijuana clubs which are starting to emerge where it is allowed to consume cannabis. Mostly, these marijuana clubs allow smoking and vaping at the outdoors of the privately owned premises, yet there are some clubs that even allow indoor smoking. Smoking and vaping public events are clearly prohibited, yet edibles may be consumed since they are discreet.
Possession of Cannabis
The cannabis laws in Colorado have introduced limits to how much marijuana a person can buy or possess at a time. For recreational users, it is allowed for them to possess up to one ounce or around 30 grams of marijuana or marijuana-infused products and up to 8 grams of marijuana concentrates. For medical marijuana users, the limit is set a bit higher, standing at two ounces or around 60 grams of marijuana.
As for home cultivation of marijuana, adults over the age of 21, patients and their caregivers can grow a maximum of 6 plants yet only 3 can be in the flowering stage. The limit per property is set to 12 plants.
Patients can appoint their designated caregivers only if they are homebound. If the case is such, the caregiver gets the right to buy, cultivate and transport medical marijuana to the patient. The caregiver would need to provide the locations of the cannabis cultivation sites and the number of qualifying patients that they provide care to. There are some patients who qualify for an extended plant count, however, this needs to be registered with the Colorado Department of Revenue. Each caregiver can grow up to 36 cannabis plants for the needs of the patients. Also, parent caregivers who are growing less than 36 plants do not need to register with the Caregivers Registry.
Cannabis Growing in Colorado via PSB
For caregivers, according to the cannabis laws in Colorado, there is a process for them to qualify as transporting caregivers. Transporting caregivers, upon registration would need to provide the personal identification number of each of their homebound patients as well as the total amount of cannabis they are allowed to transport, as well as the number of cannabis plants. They also need to provide the location of the homebound patients and the records would need to march from the records of the medical marijuana registry of the state.
Private selling of marijuana is illegal according to the cannabis laws in Colorado, however, adults over the age of 21 are allowed to gift up to one ounce or around 30 grams of cannabis to another user as long as it is not in exchange for money or other items of value.
How to Register as a Medical Marijuana User?
Qualifying patients can register for a medical marijuana identification card. Some may ask why would this be necessary when marijuana is legal for all adults over the age of 21. Still, according to the cannabis laws in Colorado, it is a good thing to register as a medical user since you will be paying less tax on marijuana products. While the tax for recreational marijuana is set at 15%, for medical marijuana is much lower and currently at 2.9%. Medical marijuana users are also entitled to larger possession limits. Bottom line, if qualifying patients do not want to go through the procedure of registering as medical marijuana users, they can always freely purchase cannabis in state-licensed dispensaries if they are over the age of 21.
Medical Marijuana Identification Card Colorado via Mass Roots
Medical marijuana users who are under the age of 21 need to register for a medical marijuana identification card and an adult caregiver needs to be appointed who will be able to purchase marijuana on their behalf.
The state of Colorado has a medical marijuana registry which issues these medical marijuana identification cards. There is also an online database of all patients and their caregivers. Patients and caregivers must apply for a medical marijuana identification card themselves, while minors need to go through the application process together with their parent or legal guardian and two caregivers need to be appointed at the time of the application.
According to the cannabis laws in Colorado, the following are regarded as qualifying conditions:
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Persistent muscle spasms
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Severe nausea
- Severe pain
In order to be able to obtain a medical marijuana identification card, an application needs to be submitted online. The qualifying patient needs to have a letter of recommendation from a physician. They need to provide a valid proof of residency, such as a driver’s license or an ID. If the person is homebound or underaged, caregivers need to be appointed. The caregiver should also provide evidence of their residency.
Cannabis Growers in Colorado via North Bay Business Journal
In the registration process, the patient also needs to disclose details on whether they are planning to grow their own marijuana and details of the space where the marijuana will be cultivated.
The medical marijuana identification card can only be used in Colorado, meaning that a qualifying patent in Colorado cannot buy medical marijuana in other states using the same card.
The medical marijuana identification card comes with a $25 fee. Cards need to be renewed annually.
Caregiver Registration in Colorado
As for patients, caregivers as well need to renew their medical marijuana identification card annually. For a person to classify as a caregiver, they need to be at least 18 years of age and to be permanent residents of Colorado. The cannabis laws in Colorado recognize four types of caregivers:
- Cultivating – allowed to grow marijuana on behalf of their patients
- Transporting – allowed to purchase and transport marijuana on behalf of a homebound or underaged patient
- Advising – allowed to advise patients on the medical use of marijuana
- Parents of minors – legal guardians of patients under the age of 18 who have been given the right to consume marijuana for medical purposes
Cannabis Lab Testing in Colorado
According to the cannabis laws in Colorado, all cannabis which is meant to be sold in dispensaries must be tested in order to check the quality and assure the safety of consumption. The cannabis testing lab in Colorado can get one of four different types of certification released under the Colorado Department of Revenue. Before the licence is released, a facility inspection is mandatory.
In Colorado, cannabis testing labs need to conduct the following tests:
- Potency testing
- Microbial (bacteria and fungi)
- Residual solvents
If the cannabis sample passes the needed tests, then the batch can be put on the market to be sold. If the cannabis sample is labelled as unsafe for use, the grower has the obligation to destroy the entire batch as it can’t be placed on the market. This is done to ensure quality cannabis which is safe for consumption as required by the cannabis laws in Colorado.
Cannabis Clubs in Colorado via Colorado Cannabis Tours
As you can see, the cannabis laws in Colorado are non-restricting and allow for free marijuana consumption within the reasonable limits for adults over the age of 21. As for the medical users of cannabis, the law is made to meet their needs in terms of both available to buy and the right to grow marijuana at home.
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