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Colorado Recreational Marijuana Laws – Possession

While the possession, sale, and distribution (link to new distribution page) of marijuana is now legal in Colorado – it is heavily regulated by the state – and you can still get in trouble for possession, use, and distribution if you don’t follow the rules.

When Amendment 64 passed in 2012, it became legal under state law for adults over the age of 21 to possess and cultivate specific quantities of marijuana for personal use.  It’s important to note that this is a state-specific law, and marijuana possession is still illegal at the federal level – so don’t get caught on the grounds of a federal facility with weed in your pocket.  Although personal possession of less than an ounce is likely to cause any issues – it’s better not to gamble on that chance.

While this is not intended to be a comprehensive resource – these guidelines can help you determine what is and is not legal under Colorado law.

Colorado Marijuana Use & Possession Laws

If you have more than one (1) ounce of marijuana on your person for personal use – its still a criminal offense.  Penalties for marijuana possession in Colorado depend heavily upon how much you possess and where you are at the time you’re caught holding and/or using the drug.

Possession of more than one (1) ounce but less than two (2) ounces of marijuana

 Possession of more than one (1) ounce of marijuana, but no more than two (2) ounces is a petty drug offense.  You can still be cited and could face a fine of up to $100 according to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-18-406(5)(a)(I) (2019).

Public use or display of two ounces of marijuana or less

Someone who publicly displays, consumes, or uses up to two (2) ounces of marijuana can also be convicted of a petty drug offense. Penalties step up here and can include a fine of up to $100 and/or up-to 24-hours of community service according to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-18-406(5)(b)(I) (2019).

Possession of above two (2) ounces but less than six (6) ounces. 

If you possess over two ounces of marijuana, you’ve moved from petty drug crime into a level two drug misdemeanor – which can be punishable with a fine of more than $50 but less than $750.  You also risk up to 364 days in jail with this charge – and can be sentenced to both a fine and jail time according to Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-1.3-501, 18-18-406(4)(c) (2019).

Possession of more than six ounces but less than 12 ounces of marijuana

You risk conviction of a level one drug misdemeanor, six to 18-months in jail, and/or a fine of between $500 and $5,000 if you possess more than 6 ounces, but less than 12 ounces of marijuana.  The same sentence is at risk if you possess no more than three ounces of marijuana concentrate such as hashish or Possession of more than six ounces but no more than 12 ounces of marijuana, or possession of no more than three ounces of marijuana concentrate (such as hashish or marijuana wax). See Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-1.3-501, 18-18-406(4)(b) (2019) for more details.

Possession of 12+ ounces of marijuana or 3+ ounces of concentrate

If you possess more than 12 ounces of marijuana or 3 ounces of concentrate, you’ve crossed the line into a level four drug felony charge.  If convicted, you face between six months and one year in jail, a fine of between $1,000 and $100,000, or both according to Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-1.3-401.5, 18-18-406(4)(a) (2019) respectively.

Arrested for marijuana possession and not sure what to do? Call Steven Rodemer for help – (719) 635-7886.

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