With the legalization of marijuana, Colorado’s laws are obviously more liberal than the rest of the country. However, they don’t allow for the completely unrestricted use of marijuana. Violations of related laws can still lead to serious legal consequences. Before purchasing it or using it, be sure that you understand the following.
Where you can smoke
Colorado’s marijuana law only allows for private consumption of marijuana. Public use, even in bars and restaurants that want to allow it, is strictly prohibited. The only legal location to smoke other than a private home is in a special membership-only club that operates for the purpose of allowing members to smoke marijuana. Marijuana use in private areas of apartments or hotels, such as balconies, is allowed under state law, but either local laws or the property owner may prohibit it.
Where you can’t smoke
Colorado law strictly prohibits the public consumption of marijuana. This includes, but is not limited to, streets, sidewalks, parks, and public alleys. Commercial establishments that are open to the public, even if permitted to sell marijuana, are prohibited by law from allowing consumption on their property. It is also illegal to use marijuana while in a motor vehicle.
Is there a limitation on how much you can carry on your person without being under suspicion of intent to sell?
While it’s a good idea to never exceed the one-ounce limit for possession, possession with intent to distribute is only assumed at eight ounces or higher. Any charge of possession with intent to distribute constitutes a felony with significantly enhanced penalties starting at amounts greater than five pounds. Note that charges for unlawful sale or distribution of marijuana are possible even at less than eight ounces if other evidence supports the charge.
Can you carry in colleges?
As with other areas, public consumption of marijuana on college campuses is prohibited by Colorado law. State law does not specifically address marijuana possession, but marijuana possession is still banned by federal law. Universities receiving federal funding, including through federal student loans, have taken the position that they must follow federal law and have entirely banned marijuana from their campuses. Violations are dealt with under the student code of conduct. Even where federal funds are not a concern, such as with some private universities, each university retains the right to set its own marijuana policies.
What are authorities look for when testing for determining a DUID?
Unlike an alcohol-related DUI charge, a marijuana DUI has no fixed legal limit. While there is a rebuttable presumption of guilt with a blood level of five nanograms of THC or higher, the legal standard is actual impairment — for example, clearly being unable to pass a field sobriety test. The reason for no set standard is that THC remains in a person’s system long after it is active. A heavy user may have THC levels far in excess of the legal limit long after its effects have worn off. Anyone charged with DUID should contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss the available defenses.
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