Colorado’s Marijuana Laws and Penalties
Posted By: Jacob Martinez
If you are a recreational user of marijuana, legalization probably made you stand up and cheer. Finally you could stop hiding and feeling guilty about using marijuana. If you wanted to light up on the street, you could just do it.
With the legalization of recreational marijuana use under Amendment 64, you may be under the impression that marijuana laws are now obsolete in Colorado. This, however, is not the case.
While the recreational use of marijuana is allowed, there are still laws and penalties associated with the possession, sale, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana in Colorado.
Possession for Personal Use: No Penalties
You are allowed to possess marijuana for personal use if you are 21 years old or older.
You can possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana without a penalty, and you can transfer up to 1 ounce of marijuana – without an exchange of money – with no penalty.
If you want to grow your own marijuana, you are also allowed to grow up to 6 marijuana plants, with no more than 3 of those plants being mature, without a penalty.
Petty Offenses: $100 Fine
If you’re in possession of between 1 and 2 ounces of marijuana (up to 2 ounces), you can be punished by a maximum fine of $100. You will receive a ticket with a mandatory court date. If you fail to appear in court, you can be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $750 and up to 6 months in jail.
Misdemeanors: Fines and Jail Time
Level 2 Drug Misdemeanor. Level 2 drug misdemeanors are punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a maximum fine of $700. You can be charged with this for possession of over 2 but no more than 6 ounces of marijuana.
Level 1 Drug Misdemeanor. Level 1 drug misdemeanors are all punishable by 6-18 months in jail and a fine of $500-$5,000. You can be charged with this for:
- Possession of between 6 and 12 ounces of marijuana
- The sale of 4 ounces or less of marijuana
- Possession of more than 1-3 ounces of hash
- The sale of 2 ounces or less of marijuana concentrate
Felonies: Fines and Jail Time
Level 4 Drug Felony. Level 4 drug felonies are punishable by 6 months to 2 years in jail and a fine between $1,000-$100,000. You can be charged with this for:
- Possession of more than 12 ounces of marijuana
- The sale of between 4 and 12 ounces of marijuana
- Sale, transfer, or dispensing of not more than 1 ounce of marijuana to a minor
- Cultivation of between 6 and 30 plants
- Possession of more than 3 ounces of marijuana concentrate
- Sale of between 2 and 6 ounces of marijuana concentrate
Level 3 Drug Felony. Level 3 drug felonies are punishable by 2-6 years in jail and a fine between $2,000-$500,000. You can be charged with this for:
- Sale of between 12 ounces and 5 pounds of marijuana
- Sale, transfer, or dispensing between 1 and 6 ounces of marijuana to a minor
- Cultivation of more than 30 plants
- Sale of between 6 ounces and 2.5 pounds of marijuana concentrate
Level 2 Drug Felony. Level 2 drug felonies are punishable by 4-16 years in jail and a fine between $3,000-$750,000. You can be charged with this for:
- Sale of between 5 and 50 pounds of marijuana
- Sale, transfer, or dispensing between 6 ounces and 2.5 pounds of marijuana to a minor
- Sale of between 2.5 ounces and 25 pounds of marijuana concentrate
Level 1 Drug Felony. Level 1 drug felonies are punishable by 8-32 years in jail and a fine between $5,000-$1,000,000. You can be charged with this for:
- Sale of more than 50 pounds of marijuana
- Sale, transfer, or dispensing of more than 2.5 pounds of marijuana to a minor
- Sale of more than 25 pounds of marijuana concentrate
As you can see, the penalties for marijuana can be minor or severe depending on the amount of the substance in question. If you have been charged with a marijuana offense, contact a criminal defense attorney with a proven track record in drug offense cases.
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 designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.