As of January 1, retail marijuana sales are legal. The emerging marijuana industry brings complicated questions—Where is it appropriate to consume marijuana? How will it be regulated? How will the city prevent drugged driving? Some of the regulations are still being debated, while others are set in stone. The following Q&A provides essential information.
How old do I have to be to buy, possess or consume retail marijuana?
21 or older. It is illegal to give or sell retail marijuana to minors. Minors who are medical-marijuana patients, however, can possess and use marijuana.
Can I possess marijuana? And how much?
Colorado residents 21 and older can purchase and possess up to 1 ounce of retail marijuana. Non-residents 21 and older can purchase and possess up to 1/4 ounce.
How much marijuana can I buy at one time?
Colorado residents 21 and older can buy and possess up to 1 ounce of retail marijuana at a time; non-residents can buy up to ¼ ounce at a time. However, the limit is only for how much a person can buy at any one time, and stores do not track individual customer sales. A concern of law enforcement officials is that a person can go from store to store purchasing marijuana and then sell it on the black market.
Where can I buy retail marijuana?
It is illegal to buy retail marijuana in the black market. It is only legal to buy retail marijuana at a medical marijuana dispensary that has obtained a special license to also sell retail marijuana. The list of licensed stores is found at http://www.denvergov.org/businesslicensing/DenverBusinessLicensingCenter/RetailMarijuana/tabid/445028/Default.aspx. Retail marijuana stores cannot stay open past 7pm.
Where can I consume retail marijuana?
Marijuana is banned from any place cigarette smoking is banned. Marijuana may not be consumed openly or publicly. It is intended for private, personal use on private property. This applies to all marijuana consumption, regardless of the form.
On residential private property in Denver, consuming retail marijuana is illegal in any outdoor location unless the owner or lessee has granted permission. On private non-residential property, consuming marijuana is illegal in any outdoor location if it is clearly visible from a public place.
It also illegal to consume marijuana in any of the following places:
Schools—cannot be within 1,000 feet of a public or private elementary or middle, junior high or high school
Any park, parkway or mountain park (including Red Rocks)
16th Street mall (including any city street or sidewalk one block in either direction from the mall)
Outdoor and rooftop cafes
Indoor public locations like bars, coffee shops, restaurants and common areas in buildings
Retail marijuana stores
Taxi or limousine
Hotels can decide whether they allow marijuana smoke consumed in their smoking rooms.
Can I have marijuana in my car?
Yes, marijuana may be carried in cars, but it may not be in an open container and cannot cross state borders. It is illegal to use or consume marijuana in a car, and it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.
Is there a DUI-like equivalent for driving under the influence of marijuana?
Yes, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal and can result in a DUI, just like alcohol. Consequences can include fines, jail time and a revoked license. This is a particularly complicated part of the industry because, unlike alcohol level that is instantly determined by a Breathalyzer, marijuana requires a drug test.
Can I take marijuana through airport security or travel out of state with it?
No, it is illegal to take marijuana across state lines.
Can I legally grow marijuana at home?
Yes, adult residents can grow up to six marijuana plants per person. No more than 12 total plants are allowed per residence regardless of the number of adults living there. Marijuana plants must be kept in an enclosed, locked area (even if outside), and growers should take extra precautions to ensure that only authorized adults have access to the marijuana plants.
What can I do if a neighbor’s marijuana smell is bothersome?
It is unclear whether an HOA can ban marijuana, but if marijuana odor is bothersome, call the Denver Department of Environmental Health by dialing 3-1-1.
Can I restrict a renter from growing or consuming marijuana on my property?
Yes, any property owner can limit retail marijuana use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or growth of marijuana on his or her property.
Can I go to work high?
That is up to the employer. Employers are allowed to regulate or prohibit any marijuana use in the workplace and can enact policies restricting marijuana use by employees.
Information from www.MarijuanaInfoDenver.org.
In other marijuana news, a new study by University of Colorado School of Medicine reports the U.S. should prepare for more outbreaks of illness and possible deaths from designer drugs including synthetic marijuana. Read the press release here.