As marijuana's April 20 holiday approaches, Colorado is sure to see a bump in dispensary traffic, pot tourism and joint circles, and the state Marijuana Enforcement Division wants to make sure you know the rules for having fun...and not getting arrested.
Although constantly compared to alcohol, marijuana is regulated in a very different manner in this state. For starters, dispensaries can't give out samples or free products, and are held to very strict limits on sales amounts and advertising. Public consumption is also banned in Colorado — despite the annual events at Civic Center Park for 4/20, where there's plenty of public consumption (and also arrests).
Want to celebrate 4/20, but don't know all of the rules? The MED recently broke them down for you:
Public consumption banned
While public pot use is currently banned in Colorado, the state isn't entirely devoid of places to socially consume. Denver and Colorado Springs have several licensed marijuana clubs and lounges, and there are private, pot-friendly establishments and events in Colorado, as well as marijuana tourism companies that allow social use during their tours.
Unlike with alcohol, Colorado marijuana transactions have very strict purchasing limits, with recreational customers restricted to possessing and purchasing one ounce of flower, eight grams of concentrate or edibles containing 800 milligrams of THC per day. Dispensaries that allow customers to circumvent this law could face harsh punishment from state and local authorities.
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Samples and giveaways
Coupons and discounts are totally fine for Colorado dispensaries to use as marketing tools, but the shops are banned from giving customers free marijuana products or samples. Many pot shops deal with this restriction by "selling" products for 1 cent, which is technically legal. Most of us can spare a penny, but c'mon....
Medical and retail marijuana delivery is still banned in Colorado, but a bill in the state legislature could change that in coming years. Until then, though, any website or service claiming to offer marijuana delivery is illegal and/or a scam. This isn't San Francisco: You still have to drive to get things here.
This industry guideline isn't specific to legal marijuana, but still affects consumers, especially tourists and new Coloradans. Because state law mandates that residents 21 and up must have a horizontal ID, some dispensaries and bars won’t allow anybody without one inside — even if the vertical ID is still valid — in order to avoid any risk of serving underage customers. This is a store policy, not a law, but it's becoming more common. Bring a horizontal ID or valid U.S. passport to a dispensary, just to be safe.