Colorado Edibles: Do You Know the Law?

Since 2014, marijuana has been legal in the state of Colorado. However, this legalization of recreational marijuana isn’t without limits or laws. It’s important for anyone who lives in Colorado or visiting to understand marijuana and various marijuana-related product laws.

One such product is marijuana edibles. These concentrated forms of marijuana can be dangerous to those who are not aware of their proper consumption of them.  As well as what the law says about how much you can have.

Here is what you need to know about edibles in Colorado.

Marijuana Laws in Colorado

To understand the laws concerning edibles, you first have to look at the laws surrounding marijuana in general in the state.

First and foremost, no one under the legal age of 18 can legally purchase recreational marijuana. You have to be over 18 to go into a dispensary, and if you’re under 21, you must be a medical marijuana patient to buy.

Colorado law in the state dictates how much a person can purchase or have in their possession at one time. For flower cannabis, the limit is one ounce for recreational users and two ounces for medical users. Concentrated cannabis amounts are also regulated. You cannot possess or buy more than eight grams of concentrate or 800 milligrams of THC in an edible product. A dispensary will not sell you an amount over this limit.

Marijuana Laws in Colorado

How Edibles Are Different

The two main ways people consume cannabis are eating it or smoking it. There’s a big difference between these two methods of consumption that are important to know. The biggest differences include:


When you smoke marijuana, the “high” or euphoria is almost immediately. Edibles take much longer to have this same effect. It can take as little as 30 minutes or as much as two hours to feel any of the therapeutic effects. That is because edibles must be processed through your digestive system before going into your bloodstream, something that happens faster through the lungs when smoked or vaped.


When you smoke cannabis, the effects will typically last up to three hours. Eating edibles will have a lasting effect for approximately twice that amount of time. Effects can last up to eight hours.


The high produced by edibles is different than that produced by flower cannabis. The high from edibles can be much more powerful,  which is why dose correctly is so important.

DUI Laws in Colorado

You may think that driving under the influence only relates to alcohol, but cannabis is another substance in Colorado you can get into trouble if you drive under the influence. You cannot have more than five nanograms of THC in your system when operating a motor vehicle in the state. Any form of cannabis can be a problem, whether smoked or eaten.

Driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous and can lead to car accidents since it can slow reaction times and make it difficult to concentrate on the roads.

DUI Laws in Colorado

Staying Safe with Edibles

If you want to legally consume edible cannabis in Colorado, the law is on your side. But some tips can help make the experience safer and more enjoyable. Remember, it’s very easy to eat too much at once. You should keep these tips in mind to help with your experience and stay safe:

Go Slow

As mentioned, it’s easy to eat too much THC when consuming edibles. You may have no idea how much you can handle at once. It’s best practice to consume no more than 10 milligrams at once, no matter how much marijuana you may have smoked in the past.


Don’t take more THC through edibles until you feel the impact of the sample you first tried. From there, you can add more slowly. The general rule is to wait about one hour for every 10 milligrams consumed THC.

Have a Meal

Before you eat a marijuana edible, it’s a good idea to have something in your stomach. Some people may try to say that this hinders the impact of the edible, but that’s not true. When you eat first, you can prevent an upset stomach and activate your gallbladder. Activating your gallbladder will help your body to absorb the edible better.

Be Safe

Don’t get behind the wheel of a car if you’ve had an edible. It can be very easy to go over the five-nanogram legal limit.



About the Author:

Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020, and is Lead Counsel rated.