Decriminalization is the buzz word most often attached to marijuana
laws. Decriminalizing marijuana possession really means treating the
offense like a petty crime or traffic incident. The state of Colorado
has adopted this decriminalization attitude with regard to a small
amount of marijuana. They also passed medical marijuana initiatives in
2000 allowing for the medicinal use, possession and growing of
However, just because some of your laws are deemed "pot friendly"
doesn't mean all marijuana use is legal. As a matter of record, there
is an average of over 10,000 arrests on marijuana charges every year in
Colorado. Illegal marijuana farmers account for around 55,000 pounds of
pot grown each year which translates into a $375 million street value.
Colorado Medical Marijuana Laws
Like other states, Colorado residents passed medical marijuana laws.
This allows for patients who are suffering from certain illnesses to
get a prescription from a doctor to legally obtain marijuana. Under the
conditions of the Colorado medical marijuana law, a patient with
written documentation of this illness is entered into a confidential
registry. Often these are people suffering from chronic pain, glaucoma,
cancer, and certain types of seizures or nausea.
Colorado medical marijuana laws allow registered users or their
specific caregivers to be in possession of up to two ounces of
marijuana or the ability to grow up to six plants for their own use.
Colorado Marijuana Penalties
A petty offense is how the Colorado law refers to the possession of
less than a single ounce of marijuana. Even with that type of offense
you will be charged a $100 fine. You are also required to report to a
court ordered hearing. If you fail to show up for the hearing, you are
then charged with a misdemeanor and can face up to six months in jail
with a $500 fine. It is also a misdemeanor to be caught using marijuana
in public. For that charge you'll have 15 days added to your possible
With possession of one to eight ounces of marijuana, you'll still be
charged with a misdemeanor and face up to six to eighteen months in
jail with a possible find in the range of $500 to $5,000. Possession of
more than eight ounces of marijuana will have you charged with a
felony. A conviction for this charge comes with a one to three year
jail sentence and fines of anywhere between $1,000 and $100,000.
When you are arrested for selling marijuana you start off with the same
treatment of less than one ounce as a petty offense. However, selling
or growing any amount over one ounce is a felony and comes with two to
six years in jail and/or $2000 to $200,000 in possible fines. If you
are caught and convicted of transporting over 100 pounds of marijuana,
you're looking at 8 to 24 years in jail and fines of $5,000 to
Those same penalties are attached to a conviction for selling marijuana
to a minor or within 1,000 feet of a school. The possession or selling
of pot paraphernalia is treated as a petty offense with a $100 fine.