Cannabis in Colorado – Laws, Use, and History
In 2014, Colorado legalised recreational cannabis use. Now, individuals can purchase cannabis from a licenced retailer, as long as the amount doesn’t exceed one ounce (28 grams). This law has resulted in a reduction in medicinal cannabis users (as it’s easier to obtain from a retailer than a doctor), and interestingly, fewer younger people are using it too.
- Recreational cannabis
- Medicinal cannabis
- Legal since 2000
Cannabis laws in Colorado
The US is governed by federal and state laws. This article covers the cannabis laws in the state of Colorado. For US federal laws, please visit our other article.
Can you possess and use cannabis in Colorado?
In 2014, Colorado’s government made it legal to purchase, possess and use cannabis. The Colorado state law states that:
- Individuals must be 21 years or over to buy, use or own it.
- Cannabis must not be shared, sold or given to anyone under 21 years old.
- ID must be shown when purchasing cannabis, to provide proof of age.
Additionally, cannabis can only be purchased from licenced retailers, and there’s a limit to how much the individual can buy or possess at one time. This is currently set at one ounce.
Adults over 21 years old may give as much as one ounce of cannabis to another adult (again, aged over 21), but they may not sell it to them. This is the case even if they’ve grown the cannabis themselves.
There are other restrictions laid out in the law. For example, it’s still illegal to use cannabis in a public place. This includes areas such as cafes, concert venues, amusement parks, and while walking along the pavement. It even includes communal areas in apartment buildings.
It’s also illegal to use cannabis on federal land, as cannabis consumption is still illegal under federal law. This means that it cannot be used in locations like national forests or parks.
While it’s legal to use cannabis at home, the law gives property owners (i.e. landlords) the right to forbid tenants to use or possess cannabis in their house or apartment. Hotel owners may also ban it in their premises.
Employer rights are protected too. Despite the fact that using cannabis is now legal in Colorado, employers can still test their staff for cannabis use. They’re also allowed to make employment decisions based on the result of the tests.
Driving and using cannabis
There’s a limit to how much THC (the substance in cannabis that’s responsible for the ‘high) drivers can legally have in their bloodstream while driving. If an individual is caught driving a vehicle while over the limit, they may be given a ‘driving under the influence’ or DUI charge.
The law states that drivers must have less than 5 nanograms of THC per millilitre of whole blood. This applies to those using medicinal cannabis too.
Additionally, there mustn’t be any open containers of cannabis in the car. If the security seal on the container (e.g. box or bag) is broken, and there’s evidence that some of the product has been used, then the driver can be charged with a traffic offence.
Cannabis laws differ from state to state. As such, it’s illegal to cross the Colorado border with any cannabis product. Likewise, it cannot be taken to any airport.
Can you sell cannabis in Colorado?
Under Colorado state law, licenced retailers are allowed to sell cannabis in Colorado. However, they must adhere to certain rules, which are:
- Not selling to anyone below the age of 21 (ID must be seen).
- Not letting anyone under the age of 21 enter the restricted area of the store.
- Only selling during the hours of 8 am and midnight. Some areas of the state may require reduced hours.
Those selling or manufacturing cannabis products must ensure that the packaging is:
- Not see-through (the contents must not be visible)
All packaging must carry a specific symbol, as required by the Department of Revenue.
In 2013, the people of Colorado voted to add a 10% sales tax to all retail cannabis. This is in addition to the 2.9% standard sales tax rate for the state. A 15% excise tax was also added to the retail cannabis’s wholesale price. These taxes don’t apply to medicinal cannabis.
The cannabis industry after legalisation
Sales of recreational cannabis in Colorado continue to rise; a trend that has been noted throughout other US states too.
In July 2020, cannabis sales totalled over $226 million; a record-breaking month. Throughout 2020, Colorado’s Department of Revenue states that the total revenue of both medicinal, and recreational cannabis sales exceeded $2.19 billion.
Despite heavy taxes, cannabis sales continue to grow in the state. From January to May, 2021, sales totalled over $962 thousand. Since 2014, the state of Colorado has surpassed over $10 billion in cannabis sales.
Can you grow cannabis in Colorado?
The state law permits individuals to grow cannabis at home. Up to six plants per person are permitted, with a maximum of three flowering at the same time.
There are a few important restrictions to be aware of:
- As of 2018, the maximum number of cannabis plants that can be grown in one residence is 12. This is irrespective of how many people over the age of 21 live there.
- Some counties may have stricter laws on growing.
- All plants must be grown in a locked, enclosed area.
- They must not be visible (this means they cannot be grown outside in the garden).
- Minors must not be able to access the growing area.
- If minors are living in the property, care must be taken to ensure that they don’t have any access to the plants.
- Only licenced grow retailers can sell cannabis products.
Is CBD legal in Colorado?
The laws regarding CBD in Colorado are confusing. It’s still illegal at federal level, yet CBD products are sold in stores and online in many forms; as skincare products, as a supplement and in food.
However, the US’s FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has issued several ‘cease and desist’ letters to companies across the country, particularly targeting business who made “deceptive marketing” claims on their labelling.
The FDA has specifically said that CBD cannot be legally used as an ingredient in food or drink. This law applies in Colorado; however, given the prevalence of CBD products, it will be hard for US authorities to police the industry.
Can cannabis seeds be sent to Colorado?
Cannabis seeds can be legally purchased and used in Colorado. However, as laws differ from state to state in the US, mailing them in and out of the region is a legally ‘grey’ area. Technically it’s legal to have them sent into Colorado, though anecdotal reports suggest that they may be held up at customs.
Mailing cannabis seeds out of Colorado to other US states is illegal.
Medicinal cannabis in Colorado
In 2000, Colorado legalised medicinal cannabis. The law permits patients to access cannabis for medicinal purposes, providing they have consent from their doctor. Additionally, patients must have a Medical Marijuana ID card, which can only be obtained after proof of residency is given.
Doctors may recommend cannabis for treating the following conditions:
- Persistent muscle spasms
- Severe nausea
- Severe pain
The law allows patients to possess up to two ounces of cannabis. Like recreational users, they can grow up to six plants (with only three flowering at one time). Doctors also have the right to recommend larger quantities for patients, if required.
The legalisation of recreational cannabis use resulted in a reduction of medicinal cannabis patients. In January 2014 (when recreational use was made legal), there were 111,030 registered medicinal cannabis patients in Colorado. By the end of 2018, that figure had dropped to 85,207.
This is because obtaining cannabis from a medical professional comes with certain obstacles. For example, the patient must visit their doctor annually, in order to keep being approved for the drug. They must also pay a $25 processing fee.
Industrial hemp in Colorado
The US Farm Bill (2018) made industrial hemp legal across the country. This means it’s legal to grow in Colorado. Indeed, since the law was passed, crop cultivation has doubled in the state.
However, not everyone is pleased with the change in federal law. For example, Eban Abshire, a small-scale hemp-grower in the state, comments: “I don’t think the Farm Bill is so good for us small growers. I think it’s going to open it up so that if you don’t have thousands of acres, you can get left out.”
The Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Hemp Programme regulates the cultivation of the plant, and also oversees a certified seed programme. It doesn’t get involved with any other aspects of hemp production, such as processing, selling or distributing.
Good to know
If you are travelling to Colorado (or currently live there), you may be interested to know the following:
Where to Buy Marijuana Seeds in Colorado?
What are the laws around buying marijuana seeds and growing marijuana in Colorado?
With countless people indulging in legal weed in Colorado, many wonder what the laws are that govern buying cannabis seeds and starting their own marijuana grow and where to buy cannabis seeds?
Residents of Colorado are welcome to grow weed at home, as long as they follow the laws around cultivation. With the passage of Amendment 64, Colorado recreational dispensaries can legally sell cannabis seeds to adults over 21 of age. Residents can buy those seeds legally grow up to 6 plants, 3 of which can be mature at a time (a mature plant is defined as a flowering plant). Colorado law also requires that the plants be grown in an enclosed, locked space that is not “open” or “public”.
If you’ve ever wanted to try growing your own marijuana, this is a great time to visit you’re The Spot 420 dispensary to buy some cannabis seeds!
The Rules of Buying Marijuana Seeds at a 420 Dispensary
Like buying any other product from dispensaries, buying seeds comes with its own set of rules. As with buying weed itself, you need to be 21 years of age or older to buy seeds at a Colorado recreational dispensary. You’ll need valid government-issued ID. You’re also not allowed to give or sell seeds to minors.
While anyone from around the world can come to Colorado to buy cannabis seeds from a 420 dispensary, there are a lot of rules governing who can grow weed and where. Read on!
Possession of cannabis, including seeds, is mostly illegal in the United States. It is still illegal federally. If you live in Colorado, you’re fine to grow weed under the cultivation limits. If you’re from somewhere where it’s still illegal to possess and/or grow cannabis, you shouldn’t buy seeds and take them out of Colorado – if it’s still against the law where you are, you could face harsh penalties.
Where to Buy Marijuana Seeds?
In Colorado, you have to pay for seeds at 420 dispensaries and pick up your products in person. Seeds can’t be mailed, so shop local at the Spot 420 Pueblo dispensary and Trinidad dispensary!
Choosing Your Cannabis Seeds
As many smokers know, there are different strains of cannabis, and thus seed, for every desired trait and every type of person. There are countless strains of marijuana out there, and The Spot 420 dispensaries stock a wide variety of products for you to try growing. How you know which marijuana strain to choose?
In most cases, it’s a matter of personal preference. Most people should choose between indicas or sativas (or grow both!) to start.
The Difference Between Growing Indica and Sativa
Sativas will grow quickly. They’ll get quite tall in the course of the season. With this type of plant, you’re looking at an energetic, “up” high.
Indicas are shorter and denser. They mature faster than sativas once they start flowering. People generally call the stone from these plants more of a body buzz.
Of course, there are hybrid seeds, which have individual characteristics depending on the percentage of indicas and sativas in each plant. When you make your seed selection at a 420 dispensary, think about the type of growth and maturation you want in your plant, and the type of high you’re looking for.
Generally, to get the most bang for your buck, look for seeds of plant strains that are proven to have large yields and a high THC content. Buying cheap seeds isn’t worth it, most of the time. You’re likely to end up with plants that fail to grow into anything worthwhile. When you consider how much weed you can get out of a single plant, it makes sense to invest in high-quality seeds, which should turn into high-quality bud!
How to Know You’re Getting High-Quality Marijuana Seeds
The next questions after where to buy Cannabis seeds should naturally be how to know you’re getting high quality marijuana seeds?A good Colorado dispensary, like The Spot 420 will stock and sell high-quality cannabis seeds. If you want to double-check the quality of the product you are getting, there are a few things to look for when you are seed shopping.
The genetics of a seed are the most important aspect of quality. Seeds should come from plants with desirable traits, and predictable behavior. Buy seeds from breeders who care about their product, and will take the time to breed plants properly to get the best quality seeds possible.
You can find out how seeds are harvested and stored. Seeds should be fully matured before they are harvested for sale. They need to be stored in dark, cool places, and used within 16 months, or frozen for future use. If not, you’ll end up with seeds that have been spoiled by mold and other nasty developments, so be sure to ask if you aren’t sure of how the seeds were kept.
Once you buy them, use them right away, or store them appropriately in the meantime.
If you have additional questions about where to buy cannabis seeds, call or come in to The Spot 420 dispensaries to chat with our knowledgeable staff.