Laws about marijuana use

 
The laws described on this page may not apply to medical marijuana. Visit our medical marijuana page for more information.
 
 
Now that retail marijuana is legal in Colorado, we all have a few things to know.
 
Check local laws and policies
The laws listed here are for the state. Cities, counties, schools, universities and employers may set their own rules and consequences. Check how marijuana laws differ in each county or town before you use.
 
  • You must be 21:
    • It’s illegal for people under 21 to buy, have or use retail marijuana.
    • It’s a felony for anyone to give or sell to, or share marijuana with, anyone under 21.
    • You must present a valid ID proving you’re 21 or older.
  • Limits to buying:
    • Buy retail marijuana only from licensed retail stores.
    • Adults over the age of 21 can buy and possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana at a time.
  • Limits to selling:
    • Only licensed retailers can sell marijuana products.
    • Adults over 21 can give up to 1 ounce of marijuana to another adult 21 or older, but can’t sell marijuana. This includes homegrown product. 
 
 
  • No more than 1 ounce:
    • Adults 21 and older can have up to 1 ounce of marijuana. Having more can result in legal charges and fines. 
  • Public use is illegal:
    • Using marijuana in any way — smoking, eating or vaping — isn’t allowed in public places. This includes the following outdoor and indoor areas,  and many more:
      • Sidewalks. 
      • Parks and amusement parks.
      • Ski resorts.
      • Concert venues.
      • Businesses.
      • Restaurants, cafes or bars.
      • Common areas of apartment buildings or condominiums.
  • Use on federal land is illegal:
    • Since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, you can’t use on federal land, including national parks and national forests. This includes ski slopes.
  • Where you CAN use:
    • Private property is your best bet. However, property owners can ban the use and possession of marijuana on their properties. If you rent, you may not be allowed to use marijuana in your home.
    • Hotel owners can ban the use and possession of marijuana on their properties, so you may not be able to use in a hotel room. Be sure to research the places you’ll be staying in Colorado.
  • Drug testing at work:
    • Despite legalization, employers can still test for marijuana and make employment decisions based on drug test results. Be sure you know your workplace policies before you use.
 
 
  • You must present a valid ID proving you’re at least 21 years old, so be prepared.
  • No minors allowed:
    • According to the retail marijuana rules passed by the Department of Revenue, no one under 21 is allowed in the restricted portion of a retail store. 
  • Limited hours of sale:
    • Under state rules, retail marijuana businesses can be open only between 8 a.m. and midnight. Municipalities can require stricter hours of operation, so be sure to check local laws before you head to a retailer.
  • Packaging requirements:
    • Retail and medical marijuana businesses are required to sell all marijuana products in packaging that’s resealable, child-resistant and not see-through. The packaging protects children, teens and adults from accidentally eating something that they don’t realize contains marijuana. Using the packaging from the store is an important first step in safe storage.                                       
  • Labeling requirements:
    • The Department of Revenue requires that all retail marijuana products use the symbol pictured here on packaging. Teach your kids not to eat or drink anything with this symbol on the package. Also, adults who can’t read the ingredient label can use this symbol as a warning that the product contains marijuana. 
  • Marijuana use during pregnancy is unsafe and may have legal consequences.
    • Some hospitals test babies after birth for drugs. If your baby tests positive for THC at birth, Colorado law requires hospitals to notify child protective services.
    • Talk to your doctor early in your pregnancy about any marijuana use and safer alternatives if you were using to help with nausea.
  • Colorado voters passed Proposition AA in November 2013 to add a 10 percent sales tax to retail marijuana on top of the state’s 2.9 percent standard sales tax rate. In addition, a 15 percent excise tax was added to the wholesale price of retail marijuana (between cultivators and businesses).
 
More information on these laws for pregnant women, youth, parents, tourists, residents and more