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colorado medical marijuana growing laws

Colorado Marijuana Laws

Updated August 2019

Colorado is one of the most liberal states in the U.S. in regards to its attitude toward cannabis. Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 to legalize the sale, cultivation, and possession of recreational marijuana in 2012. Having already passed comprehensive medical marijuana legislation, the legal marijuana market in Colorado reached over $1 billion dollars in 2016. Learn more about Colorado marijuana laws below.

Recreational Marijuana in Colorado

Colorado legalized recreational marijuana for adults aged 21 and older in November 2012. Under the law, adults can legally sell, possess, or transport up to 1 ounce of marijuana. The consumption of marijuana must be done in private or in certain licensed businesses where social consumption is permitted. In 2019, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a series of marijuana bills into law taht allow marijuana home delivery and social cannabis lounges.

According to Colorado marijuana laws, being caught with marijuana quantities of more than 1 ounce to 2 ounces is considered a petty offense and susceptible to a maximum fine of $100. Possessing 2 to 6 ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor and punishable to a maximum fine of $700 and incarceration of up to 12 months. Possessing 6 to 12 ounces of marijuana is also a misdemeanor, punishable to a maximum fine of $5,000 and incarceration of 6 to 18 months. Possessing more than 12 ounces of marijuana is a felony, punishable to incarceration of 1 to 2 years and a maximum fine of $100,000.

Medical Marijuana in Colorado

Medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2001. With the written approval from a physician, patients can legally use, possess, and cultivate marijuana under the law.

Patients can possess up to 2 ounces of usable marijuana and up to 6 cannabis plants. They should always keep their doctor’s documentation on hand to avoid arrest.

Colorado’s medical marijuana law expands legal access to minors, provided they have parental consent. As of June 2016, schools in Colorado are required to allow students access to medical cannabis while on school grounds after Gov. John Hickenlooper signed “Jack’s Law.”

Approved conditions in Colorado are as follows:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Pain
  • Epilepsy and other Seizure Disorders
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Nausea
  • Opiate Replacement (“Any Condition for Which a Physician Could Prescribe an Opiate”)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Other conditions are subject to approval by the Colorado Board of Health.

Consumption of CBD from Hemp Oil in Colorado

Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.

Cultivation of Cannabis in Colorado

Colorado marijuana law allows individuals to grow up to six marijuana plants on their properties for both medical and non-medical purposes. However, just three of the plants can be mature at any one time. Trimmings from these plants can be shared with adults over 21 without financial remuneration.

The state has also legalized the cultivation of hemp by farmers licensed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Legal Status of Other U.S. States

Stay up to date on the latest state legislation, referendums, and public opinion polls. Our Marijuana Legalization Map allows you to browse the current status of medical and recreational marijuana laws in other U.S. states and territories.

Sources

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_cannabis_by_U.S._jurisdiction#.C2.A0
  • http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881#
  • http://norml.org/legal/item/colorado-legalization?category_id=1582
  • http://denver.cbslocal.com/2016/06/07/jacks-law-medical-marijuana-in-schools-bill-signed-by-governor/
  • https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/CHED_MMR_Report_August_2016_Statistics_092016_1.pdf

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice. Although we endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Therefore, any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk.

With more states legalizing the use of marijuana it can be hard to stay up to date on Colorado marijuana laws. Click to learn more about marijuana laws in CO!

Colorado’s “Medical Marijuana” Laws

Obtaining and using medical marijuana in Colorado

Article 18, section 14 of the Colorado constitution gives Colorado residents the right to use and grow marijuana to treat a debilitating medical condition. It also extends certain protections to people who act as the primary care-giver to medical marijuana patients.

Colorado law does not, however, confer upon any medical marijuana user or primary caregiver the right to sell or distribute marijuana or to possess, manufacture, produce, use, dispense or transport marijuana other than for medical use.

To help you better understand Colorado’s medical marijuana laws, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss the following, below:

1. Who may legally use medical marijuana in Colorado?

Medical marijuana use is governed by Article 18, section 14 of the Colorado constitution and Title 12, Article 43.3. of the Colorado Revised Statutes. This latter law is known as the “Colorado Medical Marijuana Code.”

You may legally use medical marijuana in Colorado if:

  • You are a Colorado resident,
  • You are 18 years old OR you have the consent of a parent and a diagnosis from two doctors, and
  • You are using marijuana under a physician’s advice or recommendation to treat a “debilitating medical condition,” defined as:
    • Cancer,
    • Glaucoma,
    • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV),
    • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), or
    • A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition, which causes you to suffer:
    • Cachexia (wasting syndrome / severe weight loss);
    • Severe pain;
    • Severe nausea;
    • Seizures (including those characteristic of epilepsy);
    • Persistent muscle spasms (including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis); or
    • Any other medical condition approved by the state health agency, including in response to a patient or physician’s petition.

2. Medical marijuana use by those under 18

If you are less than 18 years old, you must meet the following requirements in order to be able to receive a medical marijuana card:

  1. Two physicians have diagnosed you as having a debilitating medical condition;
  2. One of these physicians has explained the possible risks and benefits of medical use of marijuana to you and each of your parents who lives in Colorado;
  3. The physicians have provided you with the written documentation legally required by the state of Colorado;
  4. Each of your parents residing in Colorado has consented, in writing, to your use of medical marijuana;
  5. One of your parents residing in Colorado consents in writing to serve as your primary care-giver;
  6. Your parental primary care-giver has completed and submitted an application for a medical marijuana registry identification card;
  7. The Colorado state health agency approves your application and sends your registry identification card to the parent you have designated as a primary care-giver;
  8. You and your primary care-giver parent must collectively possess no more marijuana than you are entitled to possess; and
  9. Your primary care-giver parent controls the acquisition of such marijuana and the dosage and frequency of your use.

3. Who can be a primary caregiver?

A “primary care-giver” is someone with significant responsibility for managing the well-being of someone with a debilitating medical condition.
Merely supplying marijuana to a patient for medical use is insufficient, by itself, to qualify you as a primary caregiver. 1

In addition to having responsibility for a medical marijuana patient’s well-being, to be a Colorado medical marijuana primary caregiver you must:

  • Be 18 or older.
  • Be a Colorado resident.
  • Not be the patient’s physician.
  • Not have a primary caregiver of your own.
  • Complete a Caregiver Acknowledgment Form for the patient to submit along with his or her completed application packet.

If the patient is under 18, you must be the patient’s parent or legal guardian in order to be designated as the patient’s primary caregiver.

4. How much medical marijuana can I possess?

Medical marijuana users and their primary caregivers may collectively possess only as much marijuana as is medically necessary for the patient’s debilitating medical condition.

By law, however, the following limits are automatically considered legal:

  • Up to 2 oz. of a usable form of marijuana; and
  • Up to 6 marijuana plants, with no more than 3 being mature, flowering plants that are producing a usable form of marijuana.

If this amount is insufficient for your legitimate medical needs, you may possess more. If you are arrested for a violation of Colorado’s marijuana laws, however, the burden will be on your to prove that amounts in excess of the foregoing were necessary.

Note that the possession of a Colorado medical marijuana identification card does not allow you to use or possess any synthetic cannabinoid (fake marijuana).

5. Advantages of obtaining a Colorado medical marijuana card

Since recreational use of marijuana is legal in Colorado for adults who are at least 18, you might be wondering if there is any reason to obtain a medical marijuana card.

Whether or not a marijuana registry identification card is desirable depends on your situation.

The major advantage to having a Colorado medical marijuana ID card is that it allows you to possess more marijuana than is legal for recreational users.

Recreational users may possess up to 1 oz. of flowers, or 8 grams of concentrate, or 800 mg. of edibles (or a proportional mix) as well as 6 plants (with no more than 3 mature). If your use falls within these limits, you may not need a card.

However, usable marijuana includes the seeds, leaves, buds, and flowers of the cannabis plant, as well as any mixture or preparation obtained therefrom. (It does not include the plants’ stalks, stems, and roots).

A mature marijuana plant will often provide more than 1 oz. of usable marijuana. As a medical marijuana patient you may possess up to 2 oz., or more if medically necessary. So you receive a bit more protection in the even that your plants produce more than 1 oz. of usable marijuana.

You may also receive the benefit of the doubt if you are stopped by the police on suspicion of violating Colorado marijuana laws.

And finally, being a medical marijuana user may allow you to join a medical marijuana cooperative, which will grow your marijuana for you and give you access to a consistent quality of marijuana. You may also be subject to lower taxes on medical marijuana purchases.

6. How do I obtain a medical marijuana card in Colorado?

To apply for a Colorado medical marijuana identification card, you must complete the following documents and send them to the registry by certified mail or drop box:

  • Colorado medical marijuana application form;
  • Colorado medical marijuana Physician Certification;
  • Colorado ID (Must be valid with DMV) or Colorado proof of residency waiver;
  • $15 check or money order or, if you are tax-exempt or your household income is no more than 185% of the Federal Poverty Level, a Colorado medical marijuana fee waiver with a certified copy of your current Colorado tax return.

If you have a caregiver you must also submit a caregiver acknowledgment form (see above).

7. Punishment for fraudulently obtaining a Colorado medical marijuana card

Colorado 18-18-406.3 C.R.S. makes it a Colorado class 1 misdemeanor to do any of the following:

  • Fraudulently represent a medical condition to a physician, or any Colorado government agency or law enforcement official for the purpose of falsely obtaining a marijuana registry identification card or avoiding arrest and prosecution for a marijuana-related offense;
  • Steal or fraudulently use an expired or another person’s marijuana registry identification card;
  • Fraudulently produce, counterfeit or tamper with a marijuana registry identification card; or
  • Release or make public any confidential record or any confidential information provided to or by the marijuana registry or primary caregiver registry without the written authorization of the patient.

Penalties for fraudulent use of a Colorado medical marijuana ID card can include:

  • 6 mos-18 months in jail, and/or
  • A fine of $500-$5,000.

In addition, your medical marijuana card will be revoked for one year.

8. Additional restrictions on medical marijuana users

No Colorado medical marijuana patient may:

  • Use medical marijuana in a way that endangers the health or well-being of any person; or
  • Use medical marijuana in plain view of, or in a place open to, the general public. 2

A violation of these provisions can result in your Colorado medical marijuana ID card being revoked for one year.

And finally, note that no employer is required to accommodate the medical use of marijuana in any work place.

Call us for help…

If you or someone you know has been charged with a violation of Colorado’s marijuana laws – including fraudulently using or obtaining a medical marijuana ID card – we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.

Our caring Colorado marijuana lawyers have a great deal of experience defending clients on marijuana and other drug charges.

During your free consultation, one of our experienced Colorado criminal defense attorneys will discuss the facts of your case and get started planning the best defense to your Colorado marijuana charges.

To reach one of our Colorado drug lawyers, simply fill out the form on this page, or call us at our centrally located Denver home office:

Colorado Legal Defense Group
4047 Tejon Street
Denver CO 80211
(303) 222-0330

To learn about Nevada medical marijuana laws, go to our article on Nevada medical marijuana laws.

Legal references:
  1. People v. Clendenin, App.2009, 232 P.3d 210, rehearing denied, certiorari denied.
  2. Colorado Constitution, Article 18, Section 14 (4)(a).

Colorado Criminal Laws A to Z Blog Posts:

Obtaining and using medical marijuana in Colorado Article 18, section 14 of the Colorado constitution gives Colorado residents the right to use and grow marijuana to treat a debilitating medical condition. It also extends certain protections to people who act as the primary care-giver to medical marijuana patients. Colorado law does not, however, confer upon .

Obtaining and using medical marijuana in Colorado Article 18, section 14 of the Colorado constitution gives Colorado residents the right to use and grow marijuana to treat a debilitating medical condition. It also extends certain protections to people who act as the primary care-giver to medical marijuana patients. Colorado law does not, however, confer upon .

Obtaining and using medical marijuana in Colorado Article 18, section 14 of the Colorado constitution gives Colorado residents the right to use and grow marijuana to treat a debilitating medical condition. It also extends certain protections to people who act as the primary care-giver to medical marijuana patients. Colorado law does not, however, confer upon .

Obtaining and using medical marijuana in Colorado Article 18, section 14 of the Colorado constitution gives Colorado residents the right to use and grow marijuana to treat a debilitating medical condition. It also extends certain protections to people who act as the primary care-giver to medical marijuana patients. Colorado law does not, however, confer upon .

Colorado's medical marijuana laws and penalties for fraudulent use of a medical marijuana ID card, explained by a top Denver criminal defense lawyer. ]]>