3 Drug policy of Colorado

Drug policy of Colorado

The U.S. state of Colorado has various policies restricting the production, sale, and use of different substances.


Specific drugs


There are two sets of policies in Colorado relating to cannabis use, those for medicinal use and for recreational use. On November 7, 2000, 54% of Colorado voters approved Amendment 20, which amended the State Constitution to allow the use of marijuana in the state for approved patients with written medical consent. Under this law, patients may possess up to 2 ounces of “medicine” and may cultivate no more than six marijuana plants (no more than three of these mature flowering plants at a time). Patients who are caught with more than this in their possession may argue “affirmative defense of medical necessity” but are not protected under state law with the rights of those who stay within the guidelines set fourth by the state.[1] Furthermore, doctors, when making a patient recommendation to the state can recommend the rights to possess additional medicine and grow additional plants, because of the patient’s specific medical needs. Conditions recognized for medical marijuana in Colorado include: cachexia; cancer; chronic pain; chronic nervous system disorders; epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizures; glaucoma; HIV or AIDS; multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity; and nausea. Medical marijuana Patients are still under the scrutiny of federal law. Additionally, patients may not use medical marijuana in public places or in any place where they are in plain view, or in any manner, which may endanger others (this includes operating a vehicle or machinery after medicating). Colorado medical marijuana patients cannot fill prescriptions at a pharmacy because under federal law, marijuana is classified as a schedule I drug. Instead, patients may get medicine from a recognized caregiver or a non-state-affiliated club or organization, usually called a dispensary. Dispensaries in Colorado offer a range of marijuana strains with different qualities, as well as various “edibles” or food products that contain marijuana. Certain dispensaries also offer patients seeds and “clones” for those who want to grow their own medicine.[2]

Colorado has different laws pertaining to the recreational use of cannabis. Those who are not registered with the state as patients do not have the same rights. Possessing paraphernalia, one ounce or less of marijuana, or giving someone one ounce or less is considered a petty offense in Colorado and is punishable with a $100 fine. Selling any amount of marijuana or possessing more than half a pound (8 ounces) is considered a felony and is punishable by prison time. The state of Colorado also offers a conditional release program where first time offenders can opt for probation instead of a trail where after they complete probation successfully, their criminal record will not show the charges.[1]

Decriminalization also exists in Denver and select other cities where within the city limits, adults 21 and older can possess up to an ounce of marijuana without penalty. This is contingent on the local laws, meaning state and federal police can still penalize people who participate in this but local police cannot.[3][4]



  1. ^ a b "Marijuana Law Reform". NORML. 1970-01-01. http://www.norml.org. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ O'Driscoll, Patrick (2005-11-03). "Denver votes to legalize marijuana possession". Usatoday.Com. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-11-03-pot_x.htm. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  4. ^ "Breckenridge Votes to Legalize Pot". CBS News. 2009-11-04. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/11/03/national/main5517472.shtml. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 

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