- Jaelyn Kohl
Navigating Colorado's Medical Marijuana Legislation
Ins & Outs of Cannabis Legalities in Colorado
Colorado has become a mecca for cannabis consumers across the country, and even the world. With all these people coming from all these different places, it is imperative that education regarding the legalities around the cannabis culture be clear so we can continue offering it. Budtenders at any recreational or medical cannabis dispensary all over the state but particularly Denver are well-versed in the ins and outs of cannabis legalities.
First off, it’s important to realize the distinct, and legal, differences between hemp and marijuana. CBD, cannabidiol, is a compound of the cannabis plant that can be extracted from both hemp and marijuana. CBD sourced from hemp is legal everywhere in the United States in accordance to the Farm Bill. Cannabis, the closely related plant that has higher percentages of the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is only legal for purchases through dispensaries in a select few states, Colorado being one of the first.
Where to Smoke
If you are lucky enough to live in, or be visiting, a state with recreational marijuana, that doesn’t mean that consumption of products is a free-for-all. Public consumption is still prohibited, meaning that streets, parks, bars, etc. are not appropriate places to exercise that freedom. You cannot consume at dispensaries or grow properties - anyone caught consuming marijuana on these premises puts the entire business, its employees, and all of its licensing at risk for termination. State parks, National Forest land, and Bureau of Land Management areas are regulated federally and consumption here will likely result in a ticket. The law states that cannabis consumption must be contained to personal property. Also, be aware that just because a vehicle is deemed ‘personal property’, consuming cannabis within a vehicle is grounds for a hefty penalty.
Driving under the influence of cannabis products can, and will, result in a DUI and most likely an arrest. Although it is perfectly legal to keep your stash in your car, probable cause, resulting in a search of the vehicle, for burnt marijuana odor was ruled “just” in a recent case. If a police officer has reason to believe you are under the influence of any substance, you are immediately subject to sobriety tests, search of the vehicle, and a potential DUI if failed. If you are driving with cannabis in your car, the best rule of thumb is to keep it out of arm’s distance reach of the driver, and certainly safely away from any children.
Speaking of children and cannabis, kids and marijuana don’t mix, and it is more than a slap on the wrist if this law is broken. Only customers of age 21 or older can purchase and consume product, unless the patient is 18+ with a medical card. However, if you want to gift or tip cannabis products to someone you know, for certain, is over the age of 21, that is acceptable. Buying or selling any marijuana product outside of a dispensary is another reason to get busted.
So please, if you are a visitor to Colorado, don’t ruin it for everyone else by not using common sense when it comes to legalized marijuana. This plant is great, it does amazing things for
people, and it can be a lot of fun, but the fun is over when the boundaries aren’t followed. If in doubt, ask your local Standing Akimbo Medical Dispensary budtender or visit the state’s website that outlines all legalities here.
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