It has been six years since Colorado voters decriminalized recreational marijuana. But cannabis users still have rules to follow. You can still get arrested if you are carrying more than the one ounce the law permits for anyone 21 and older. Where you decide to light up can also have consequences.
The whiff of weed will undoubtedly raise an officer’s suspicions about whether you are driving impaired, since marijuana is prohibited in vehicles – just like alcohol. Yes, pot is legal. But not completely. It is important to know the distinctions the law makes for possession and use.
The penalties for pot
You cannot smoke, vape or eat marijuana in public – outdoors or indoors. That includes many venues that might seem conducive to imbibing, such as parks, concerts, restaurants and cafes.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance, in the same category as heroin, cocaine and LSD. You cannot use it on federal land, including national parks, forests and ski slopes.
Private property is your securest space, but if you rent, that is up to the proprietor or owner. Hotels also typically ban usage.
If the police catch you with up to two ounces of marijuana, it can be a petty offense punishable by up to $100 in fines. Same with smoking in public. Anything more than two ounces is a misdemeanor that carries a possible one-year jail sentence and $750 in fines. Possession of 12 ounces or more is a felony.
You have legal options
The law is clear on possessing recreational marijuana. But the stakes remain high if authorities catch you with too much or consuming it in the wrong place. You might be able to challenge whether the marijuana was yours, or other circumstances of your case.
Getting arrested is stressful and fraught with uncertainty, but you have options. Contacting an experienced defense attorney can help square the facts of your case with the evolving law and secure the best possible outcome for you.