Pertinent Colorado Marijuana Law Provisions

Colorado Marijuana Law Provisions

Denver State Building

The sale and consumption of Marijuana is legal in Colorado.  However, the law varies from place to place.  Always check with local authorities to understand the exact wording in any area.   Start by checking the MED Website for authorized localities and dealers.  Some areas authorize Medical Marijuana Centers only.  While others authorize Retail and Medical, or none at all.


Here Are Some Basic Colorado Marijuana Law Guidelines:

Age Limit:  Adults 21 and older may possess up to one ounce of marijuana and purchase marijuana at retail marijuana stores.  It is illegal to provide marijuana to, or consume marijuana with, anyone under the age of 21.  No one under the age of 21 is permitted within the restricted portion of a retail store (where marijuana is displayed and sold).  And, a customer must be physically present within the Restricted Access Area to legally purchase.

Legal travel within Colorado Only:  Buyers should be aware that although the sale, transport, and use of marijuana is legal in Colorado, it is not in most other states.   It is illegal to drive or fly to other states with marijuana purchased from Colorado.  Marijuana is not permitted in Denver International Airport, or any other airport.

Stores:  Adults must have a valid form of government issued photo ID to purchase marijuana and marijuana-infused products.  The State of Colorado allows marijuana stores to operate from 8:00am to 12:00am (midnight).  Cities may implement more restrictive hours however.  Always call in advance to be sure.  Many retail stores accept cash only.

Marijuana Equivalencies:  A retail marijuana store and its employees are prohibited from transferring more than one ounce of Retail Marijuana Flower or its equivalent in Retail Marijuana Concentrate or Retail Marijuana Product during a single sales transaction.   One ounce of Retail Marijuana Flower shall be the equivalent to 8 grams of Retail Marijuana Concentrate.  One ounce of Retail Marijuana Flower shall be the equivalent to 80 ten-milligram servings of THC in Retail Marijuana Product.

Single Sales Transaction:  A single transaction includes multiple Transfers to the same consumer during the same business day where the Retail Marijuana Store employee knows, or reasonably should know, that such Transfer would result in that consumer possessing more than one ounce of marijuana.

Public Use:  It is illegal to consume marijuana openly and “in plain sight” or  publicly  in such places as on streets, public sidewalks, and public parks.  It is legal to consume marijuana in a private hotel room so long as the business permits it and smoking is otherwise allowed.   As with tobacco, smoking marijuana in any indoor location is subject to the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act.  Since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, it cannot be used on federal lands including National Parks, National Forests, and Ski Slopes.

Packaging Requirements:  Marijuana products must be transferred in packaging that is resealable, child-resistant, and not transparent (see through).  Packaging is meant to protect children, teens, and unsuspecting adults from accidentally eating marijuana products.  Packaging is an important storage safety consideration.

Labeling Requirements:  All retail and medical marijuana products must use the following universal symbol on packaging.   The symbol is meant to warn those persons who can’t read English that the packaging contains marijuana. 

                   Medical & Retail Marijuana Universal Symbol

Not For Resale:  It is illegal to transfer marijuana without an official marijuana business license.  Adults, however, may give up to one ounce of marijuana away to others over 21 years of age.  Recipients may not receive more than one ounce of marijuana from more than one person at a time.

Carrying Limit:  Adults 21 and over may purchase and carry up to one ounce of retail marijuana.  A Medical Marijuana Center is prohibited from transferring more than two ounces of Medical Marijuana to any patient who has not registered that Medical Marijuana Center as its primary center and the patient has a physician’s approval to purchase greater than two ounces at a time.

Driving:  It is illegal to drive within the State of Colorado under the influence of alcohol, or any drug, including marijuana.  Users who are found to have 5 ng/ml (nanogram per milliliter) or more of THC within their bloodstream can be charged with a DUI.  It is illegal for drivers and passengers to consume intoxicants, like alcohol and marijuana while driving, or to have an open alcohol container or marijuana package in the vehicle.

Home Growers: House Bill 17-1220, effective June 8, 2017, limits Coloradans from growing more than 12 plants on or in a residential property, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE PLANTS ARE FOR MEDICAL OR RECREATIONAL USE.  Marijuana Patients and primary care givers  may grow up to a 24 plant count exception if a county, municipality, or city law expressly permits the cultivation, growth, or production of more than 12 plants on or in a residential property and the person is growing the marijuana in an enclosed and locked space and within the limits set by the authority where the plants are located.  Medical marijuana growers must apply through the Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry and abide by its rules.

Working in the Industry:  Certain requirements apply to anyone who wishes to work in the marijuana industry.  Generally speaking, applicants must be 21 years of age or older, be a resident of Colorado, pass a criminal background check, and in many (most) cases apply for and obtain a license issued by the Marijuana Enforcement Division.

Business and Property Owners and Retail Marijuana Usage:
  Although marijuana is legal within the State of Colorado, business and property owners can make their own decisions about marijuana and their business and property.   Employers may continue to test employees for marijuana usage and make employment decision based upon those tests.  Business and property owners may ban the use of marijuana on business property, where consumption would be considered public use, and therefore would be illegal.  They may set possession and use policies with limits that are more restrictive than state rules.


Useful Sources of  Colorado Marijuana Law Information:

♦  Colorado Department of Revenue –  Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED):

Colorado OnLine Medical Marijuana System –

 Colorado Marijuana Laws and Effects of Retail Marijuana:

 Colorado Legal Resources, provided by Lexis Nexis® , Official publisher of Colorado Revised Statutes:

♦  Colorado Dept of Public Health & Environment:

♦  Good To Know Colorado Campaign Site:

♦ Guide To Worker Safety & Health In The Marijuana Industry

♦  Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) Pesticide Use in Cannabis Production:

♦ Colorado Fire Marshal Marijuana Guidance Document:

♦  National Fire Protection Association:

♦  Secretary of State – Colorado  Code of Regulations at 8 CCR 1203-23;  Administration and Enforcement of Industrial Hemp:

 Colorado Department of Agriculture – Industrial Hemp

♦  Instructions – Organic Certification of Industrial Hemp Production