is weed legal in colorado

Is Weed Legal In Colorado: Full Guide

Table of Contents

Colorado is a fantastic tourist destination, known for its vast beauty and robust cities. Visitors can have just about any experience they like in the Centennial State,  whether you are a nature lover or an adventure seeker. There are stunning mountain ranges, vibrant cities, and endless outdoor activities. You won’t get bored exploring the Rocky Mountains, skiing on the world-class slopes, or whitewater rafting. If you happen to be a cannabis fan, you’re in luck – there is plenty of green to be shared here. 

Is Weed Legal in Colorado? Straight to the point.

  • Recreational THC: Yes 
  • Medical THC: Yes
  • CBD: Yes
  • Delta-8: No

Medical Weed Laws

Medical marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2000. Adults who are 18 years of age or older and have a qualifying medical condition can apply for a medical marijuana card. To be eligible, the person must also be a resident of Colorado. 

However, minors who have a qualifying medical condition and have at least one parent who is a Colorado resident may also be eligible for a medical marijuana card. In addition to meeting these requirements, minor patients must see two providers and submit two provider certifications. This ensures that the minor is receiving appropriate medical care and that both providers agree that medical marijuana is an appropriate treatment option.

Qualifying conditions include

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Cachexia
  • Persistent muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Severe nausea
  • Severe pain
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • An Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Any condition for which a physician could prescribe an opioid

Colorado medical patients may buy up to two ounces of cannabis flower and eight grams of concentrate per day. However, medical patients between the ages of 18 and 20 are only permitted to purchase up to two grams of concentrate per day. These limits aim to prevent excessive consumption of marijuana among patients and ensure that the substance is being used for legitimate medical purposes.

Recreational Weed Laws

Colorado and Washington tied for first place when they passed laws for recreational marijuana in 2012. In Colorado, Amendment 64 made cannabis possession and use legal for adults over 21. Since then, Colorado has become one of the most popular tourist destinations for marijuana enthusiasts from around the world.

One notable aspect of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado is the strict regulations placed on the industry. The state has implemented strict testing requirements to ensure that all marijuana products are safe for consumption. They require all marijuana products to be labeled with potency and ingredient information. These early regulations have been modeled by many states since they’ve looked to Colorado’s wins and losses to develop their own programs. 

Another important aspect of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado is the tax revenue generated by the industry. According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, the state collected over $300 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales in 2020 alone. This revenue has been used to fund a variety of programs, including education, drug treatment, and law enforcement.

For recreational users, the daily purchase limit is either one ounce of weed flower or eight grams of concentrate. However, there are limitations when it comes to edibles. Recreational customers can buy various types of cannabis products, including edibles, as long as the products contain 800 mg of THC or less.

Is Weed Decriminalized in Colorado?

Typically, when a state legalizes recreational cannabis, it has become decriminalized. While this is true for small amounts of cannabis, there are still penalties for possessing an excess of legal limits. See below for more information. 

Cannabinoid Variants

Although Colorado has a longstanding medical and recreational program, there is another market offering even more cannabinoid options. These hemp-derived, alternative cannabinoids offer effects of their own, and consumers can purchase them online. However, there are some guidelines to consider, and not all alternative cannabinoids are legal in Colorado. 

Is CBD legal in Colorado?

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production in the United States. This legislation opened up vast possibilities for CBD-rich hemp to enter the mainstream market, allowing consumers to purchase CBD in retail establishments and online. CBD is often found in supplements, topicals, edibles, portable vape pens, home goods, and beauty and body care products. 

The Farm Bill legally protects CBD production, but it is not without stipulation. All commercially available CBD products must be derived from hemp and contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. However, some states have elected to regulate CBD independently and may have further restrictions on its use and distribution. CBD is legal in Colorado.

Is Delta-8 legal in Colorado?

Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in hemp and marijuana. It’s grown in popularity for its mild, yet psychoactive effects that mimic those of Delta-9. However, to produce enough Delta-8 to infuse into products like vape pens and gummies, many manufacturers must convert CBD into Delta-8 through a special isomerization process. In Colorado, any alteration to hemp-derived cannabinoids is illegal – therefore, Delta-8 is not allowed. 

Is Delta-10 legal in Colorado? 

Delta-10 THC is produced much like Delta-8 and therefore falls under the same restrictions. Unless a cannabinoid is naturally derived, it is not legal in Colorado. 

Are THC-O and other THC variants legal in Colorado? 

In recent years, alternative hemp-derived cannabinoids have dominated the market as a more accessible way to get high. However, they have existed in a legal gray area until February 2023. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has declared Delta-8-THC-O and Delta-9-THC-O illegal controlled substances. These compounds are not naturally occurring in either hemp or marijuana and are considered synthetic cannabinoids. 

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and its byproducts so long as they contain no more than 0.3% Delta-9-THC by volume. The market for cannabinoids has grown in the states since then as several alternative cannabinoids emerged, including synthetic THC isomers. 

For the time being, this latest update does not affect alternative cannabinoids like THC-JD, THC-P, THCP-O, THC-H, and THC-B because they do exist naturally in trace amounts. Advocates feel that only the end of the federal prohibition on marijuana will successfully regulate synthetic or naturally occurring cannabinoids.

Are HHC and HHC-O legal in Colorado?

HHC and HHC-O are mild cannabinoids prized for their soothing effects. However, because they are altered in a lab, they are not legal in Colorado. 

Cultivation Laws

In Colorado, residents who are over 21 years old are allowed to grow marijuana plants for personal use. The state law allows up to six plants per person, with a maximum of three flowering plants at any given time. However, it’s essential to note that local governments can impose stricter regulations. For example, in Denver, a home grow is limited to 12 plants, regardless of the number of adults over 21 in the house. Therefore, it is crucial to check with your local government to be aware of any specific regulations.

For medical marijuana users, the laws are different. The plants must be kept in an enclosed and locked area that is not easily visible to the public. Therefore, outdoor cultivation is prohibited. For homes with residents under 21, any marijuana cultivation area must be locked and enclosed separately, which minors can’t access. In homes with no residents under 21, extra precautions must be taken to ensure that visiting youth don’t have access to marijuana plants.

Moreover, it is vital to keep in mind that homegrown marijuana or marijuana products can’t be sold to anyone. Only licensed marijuana businesses can sell marijuana products in the state. Therefore, if you’re planning to grow your marijuana plants for personal use, make sure you are aware of the local and state regulations and follow them strictly to avoid any legal consequences.

If you are interested in starting a cannabis cultivation business, there are several hoops to jump through to obtain a license. In addition, there are several licenses one can apply for. To learn more about the program and how to get involved, visit this website.

Where to Buy Weed in Colorado

There is no shortage of options for getting high in the Rockies. Here are the channels for sourcing weed. 


Colorado boasts well over 500 retail dispensaries throughout the state. Yet, nearly a third of them are located in Denver. Chain locations are increasingly popular here as store owners gobble up locations as quickly as possible in order to dominate the market. If you have a store you like, this is a big win as you can visit a location while traveling in the state. The bottom line is there is no shortage of green crosses in Colorado. 


Yes, you can order weed online for home delivery in Colorado as of 2021. The person ordering must be the only person to answer the door and show a valid ID proving they are over 21. 

Direct to Consumer

Direct to consumer means that you can buy weed straight from the brand without stepping foot in a dispensary. This model is a growing trend for the industry and one that will continue to expand in the years to come. For now, you must purchase through a dispensary in Colorado.

Black Market

Despite legalization efforts, the marijuana black market remains active. The illegal purchase of weed from a black market dealer comes with serious risks. Not only is it difficult to determine the potency and purity of the product, but the legal implications can be disastrous. In some cases, a mere slap on the wrist, but in others, buying weed illegally results in jail time or a prison sentence. For those that live in a state with a medical or recreational marijuana program, it’s best to obtain cannabis through legal channels.

Is Drug Testing Legal in Colorado?

In Colorado, employers are allowed to conduct drug testing but they must follow specific rules and guidelines. The state’s constitution allows the use and possession of marijuana for adults 21 and older, but employers can still enforce drug-free workplace policies. Employers must have a written drug testing policy that is communicated to all employees, and testing should be private and fair. Employees should not be subjected to unnecessary invasion of privacy, and the testing should be done in a non-discriminatory manner. 

If an employee tests positive, they should have an opportunity to explain or contest the result, and employers should provide support and resources for those who test positive, such as referrals to substance abuse treatment programs. Finally, employers must take appropriate disciplinary action, which may include termination, for employees who violate the drug testing policy. However, it’s important to note that there are certain limitations on testing employees for THC, such as requiring a reasonable suspicion of drug use or having a safety-sensitive position.

General FAQ

Where can you smoke weed in Colorado?

Generally, you can smoke weed in the privacy of your own home or that of a friend or relative with permission. For tourists, it’s recommended to ask dispensary staff for consumption suggestions, and hotel staff for their specific rules since smoking and vaping is prohibited in hotel rooms and some public outdoor areas. Private homes and backyards may allow marijuana consumption with permission from the owner. Certain private lodgings may also permit smoking and edibles, but it’s best to check with the vacation-rental manager first. Colorado offers a variety of marijuana-friendly attractions and private social clubs for legal consumption, so it’s worth looking into these options as well.

Can you smoke weed in public in Colorado? 

No, it is illegal to smoke weed anywhere in public in Colorado.

When was weed legalized in Colorado?

Medical marijuana was legalized in 2000, and recreational marijuana was legalized in 2012.

Punishment for Illegal Acts FAQ

What are the penalties for selling, gifting, transporting, or importing weed?

In Colorado, it is legal for people over 21 years old to transfer up to two ounces of cannabis without receiving payment. However, unlicensed sales of marijuana are still subject to criminal penalties. State-licensed entities can sell cannabis to people over 21 years old, with penalties for illegal sales increasing with the amount sold. 

The sale of up to four ounces of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor and punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Selling more than four ounces, but not more than 12 ounces is considered a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000. The sale of more than 12 ounces but not more than 5 pounds of marijuana is a felony, and can result in a sentence of 2 to 6 years in prison and a maximum fine of $500,000. 

Selling more than 5 pounds, but not more than 50 pounds, is a felony that carries a sentence of 4 to 16 years in prison and a maximum fine of $750,000. Finally, selling more than 50 pounds of marijuana is a felony punishable by a sentence of 8 to 32 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000,000.

What is the penalty for selling to a minor?

The state of Colorado has strict penalties for those who sell, transfer, or dispense marijuana concentrate to minors. If an adult who is two years older than the minor sells, transfers, or dispenses more than 1 pound of marijuana concentrate to a minor, they can be charged with a level 1 drug felony, which carries a sentence of 8 to 32 years and a fine of $5,000 to $1,000,000. 

Selling, transferring, or dispensing more than 3 ounces but not more than 1 pound of marijuana concentrate to a minor is a level 2 drug felony, punishable by a sentence of 4 to 16 years and a fine of $5,000 to $750,000. If an adult sells, transfers, or dispenses more than 0.5 ounces but not more than 3 ounces of marijuana concentrate to a minor, they can be charged with a level 3 drug felony, carrying a sentence of 2 to 6 years and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000. 

Finally, selling, transferring, or dispensing not more than 0.5 ounces of marijuana concentrate to a minor is a level 4 drug felony, punishable by a sentence of 6 months to 2 years and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000. It is important to note that these penalties only apply if the person is an adult and two years older than the minor.

What is possession with the intent to sell?

Possession with intent to sell is when someone is in possession of more than they can reasonably consume or beyond legal possession limits. If a person is found to be in possession of 8 ounces or more of marijuana, it may be considered a lesser-included offense of possession with the intent to distribute. While all elements of the possession offense are included, the only difference is the quantity of marijuana. Possession of a larger quantity can lead to harsher sentencing as it is considered a sentence enhancer rather than an essential element of the offense.

When is possession still a crime?

Possession is a crime if you are found guilty of intent to distribute, or if you possess more than the legal limits. 

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