Colorado Weed Laws: What You Need to Know

colorado weed laws


Photo courtesy of Huffington Post. 

By Matt Myers

Published 12.07.2014

For skiers on both sides of the aisle, listen. IT IS ILLEGAL TO SMOKE POT IN PUBLIC OR EAT EDIBLES IN PUBLIC.

If you are worried that ski areas are now under clouds of pot smoke, they are not. And they're not going to be, which we discuss below. But we just wanted to mention right up front to clear up any confusion. Read the below if you want to learn more details of Colorado weed laws and its parameters.

Colorado Weed Laws

These are the marijuana laws in Colorado. Pay Attention.

  • You MUST be at least 21 years of age or possess marijuana in Colorado.
  • You DO NOT need a special card or ID, unless you need medical cannabis.
  • You CAN POSSESS 1oz of pot as a Colorado resident; 1/4 oz as a non-resident
  • It is ILLEGAL to sell or give marijuana to minors.
  • It is ILLEGAL to consume marijuana in public in any form.
  • It is ILLEGAL to drive while high.
  • It is ILLEGAL to transport marijuana across state lines.

If you observe and obey our weed laws in Colorado, you can enjoy your time just tim

Ski Resorts on Federal Land

22 ski resorts in Colorado are leased from the National Forest Service, meaning they are on federal land. While marijuana is legal in Colorado, it is still federally illegal. More than 200 people have been cited for possession on federal land in CO, and the charge is pretty tough: up to a year in jail + $1,000 fine for the first offense, with a 15-day mandatory sentence that can be extended to two years in prison for a second offense. 

The only two ski mountains that are not on US Forest Service land are Granby Ranch (one of the smallest in the state) and Silverton Mountain (which is easily the hardest in the state). All others are subject to federal laws.

Some perspective. It's not like there are federal marshalls posted everywhere. 4 million people skied at Breck and Vail combined last season and less than 100 citations were handed out. If you simply cannot control yourself and have to smoke while skiing, do it far away from everyone, you big dummy.

Be Careful with Edibles

Because it is illegal to smoke in public and it is often illegal to smoke in your condo, many skiers look into edibles in order to partake without standing out in the cold. Colorado made some news last year when a couple of young people ate too many edibles and ended up dying--not from the edibles, but from the things they did while under their influence. So just a word of warning about this form of cannabis. Be carefull.

Edibles can take up to 2 hours to take effect, and when they set in if you have taken too much, there is no way out for a few hours. Everyone reacts differently to this, even at low doses. They recommend 25mg as a good dose. If you are not a regular user, start with 5. Stay in your condo where you can control your environment. Edibles can be a great high, but they can be terrible if you get TOO high. Believe me. 

Just take less than you predict your needs to be the first time through. Give it at least 2 hours before taking more.

Colorado Dispensary Hours

In general, Colorado marijuana dispensaries are open for around the same time as many retail stores. Usually, from 800a to 700p, but as late as midnight for some stores. We don't know of any stores open later than midnight. Breckenridge Cannabis Club, one of the most visited stores in the ski industry, is open from 800a-1000p, as an example.

Crossing State Lines

As stated in the Colorado weed laws, it is illegal and just plain not advised to carry marijuana from Colorado across state lines. It's also illegal to mail marijuana from Colorado to anywhere else. So those are the obvious things, but we wanted to put this into more perspective.

Colorado is bordered by seven other states, meaning that if you drive out of Colorado you have to enter one of these states. These states have different possession laws that you need to be aware of:

Nebraska - decriminalized possesion

New Mexico - Arizona - legal medical marijuana

Utah - Wyoming - Kansas - Oklahoma - really just no sense of humor about this stuff

Texas - not a border state, but there are more people from Texas who are skiing in Colorado than from any other state. Plus, there's not much of New Mexico or Oklahoma in between Texas and Colorado, so we are just covering our bases.

While you might not be charged with possession in Nebraska, you can still be charged with illegal transportation. Same with every other state. 

The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that if you are considering transporting across state lines, you are doing it as a hobby. Or for fun. The people who are trying to catch you do this full-time for a living. And they are going to be THRILLED to catch you. You won't get off with just a warning. No matter how much cleavage you have.

The same goes for mail and for flight travel. People on the other end saw this angle the same as you, and they are going to inspect your gear and your packages and have dogs sniff you at the airport. 

Colorado is not Denver/Boulder

What we mean here is that most of the state is rural and there are some areas that didn't vote for this law and their towns and counties don't have dispenaries. Which is to say that some areas might watch you a little closer or have less of a sense of humor about your possesion than say Boulder or Telluride or Denver.

So just be cautious. As this whole page has said, marijuana is legal here, but it's best not to flaunt this every chance you get. There are tons of people you will never meet who made this possible for you, and the whole state and country has a vested interest in reducing the dummies and the known issues. So, instead, just be happy that you can partake without worry and don't make the news doing anything we wouldn't want you to. Enjoy. 

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