The legalization of marijuana in Colorado has garnered headlines across the nation and provoked various reactions from people in parts of the state like Weld County. Regardless of how they may view the legal changes, it is important for state residents to understand that the new laws do not represent a free pass on issues like drug possession and distribution. There are still several rules and limits that residents and tourists must adhere to in order to avoid an arrest and drug-related charges.
Retail Marijuana Rules & Regulations
There are still strict regulations for the purchase, sale and possession of marijuana in Colorado, even if the drug can now be sold to people who do not have a medical license. According to the New York Times, provisions include:
- Residents can purchase up to an ounce per day, while non-residents can purchase a quarter ounce.
- Residents can grow up to six plants at home; larger-scale growing requires a license.
- It is still illegal to smoke marijuana in public places, including campgrounds and parks, and private properties can ban smoking.
- Taking the drug to Denver International Airport or across state lines is illegal.
Residents should also note that federal laws making marijuana illegal still supersede state laws. The Justice Department may not be actively enforcing the federal law at the state level, but authorities are prepared to intervene if the state's regulations are not sufficient to keep drugs away from minors and out of other states. This means that state officials are taking the enforcement of the regulations currently in place seriously.
Recent Marijuana-Related Arrests
Retail marijuana stores have procedures in place to prevent buyers from exceeding the daily limit. However, people may still run into legal trouble by growing more than the law allows, smoking in public places, driving under the influence or distributing the drug. In other words, residents should not assume that most activities involving marijuana that were previously illegal are now permitted.
In the short time since sales of retail marijuana have become legal, arrests relating to the drug have still occurred. According to CBS Denver, during the first week of January, two people were arrested in southern Colorado after upwards of 1,000 marijuana plants were found in the home they were living at.
With these legal changes being newly implemented, residents and visitors alike will need some time to understand what is now legal under state law and what remains illegal under any law. In the meantime, anyone who is going to buy, grow or use the drug should exercise caution and try to stay above the law in other regards.
If you are facing charges of a crime involving marijuana or other substances that are still illegal under state and federal law, you should make sure to speak with an attorney. An experienced defense attorney can advise you on the relevant laws as well as your options for fighting the charges.