An Out-of-State Visitors Guide to Marijuana in Colorado

An Out-of-State Visitors Guide to Marijuana in Colorado

Coloradans passed Amendment 64 in November 2012, effectively legalizing the possession and sale of marijuana in the State of Colorado, making Colorado one of two places in the world where an adult, over the age of 21 can legally possess and consume marijuana recreationally. Amendment 64 gave the State until January 1, 2014 to create the framework and regulations necessary to allow for the retail sale of marijuana.

January 1st came and went rather uneventfully, but stepping back and looking at the significance of that day, it truly is historic. Since then, I’ve received countless phone calls from people planning on visiting not just Colorado Springs, but really the State of Colorado, seeking advice on what they’re allowed to do while here, in terms of purchasing and consuming marijuana.

It is my goal to address many of the most common questions I’ve been asked.

Can I Buy Marijuana While I Visit Colorado?

In short yes. Any adult, over the age of 21 can possess and consume marijuana in the State of Colorado. The law makes no distinction about in state residents versus tourists, in terms of the possession, purchase or consumption of marijuana in Colorado.

How Much Marijuana Can I Have?

This is where the law does make a distinction between residents and visitors. An adult with a valid Colorado ID can purchase up to one ounce of marijuana, while an individual with an out of state ID can purchase up to one quarter ounce at a time.

How Do I Purchase Marijuana?

Think of it much like purchasing alcohol. All you have to do is present a valid government issued ID, showing you are over the age of 21, and you are free to make your purchase up to the legal amount.

Where Can I Buy Marijuana?

Initially the State licensed 136 stores, statewide, allowed to sell marijuana. Keep in mind that cities, towns and counties are allowed to ban the sale of marijuana, and many have, like Colorado Springs for instance. Probably the best guide I’ve seen to legal pot shops is this one.

Are There Restricted Store Hours for Pot Shops?

Yes, Colorado law states that stores cannot open before 8:00am and cannot be open past midnight. Keep in mind though that each jurisdiction is allowed to make more restrictive hours and many have. Denver, for instance, won’t allow stores to remain open past 7:00pm.

How Can I Transport Weed I Legally Bought?

The best advice I can give on this issue is to place it in a closed trunk. This way, if you are stopped by law enforcement, there’s no question that you weren’t consuming it.

Can I Get a DUI For Smoking Weed in Colorado?

YES. In fact, Colorado has made it easier to prosecute you for driving stoned. Colorado has adopted an “express consent” law. This means that by virtue of operating a motor vehicle on Colorado roads, you consent to a chemical test of your blood or breath if an officer has probable cause to believe you are impaired. If the Officer believes you are high, they will require a chemical test of your blood. This allows them to determine how many nano-grams of active THC metabolites are in your blood at the time of driving. If you have more than 5 nano-grams of active THC metabolites, you are presumed to be substantially impaired, meaning that a DA could tell the jury that, regardless of any other indicators of impairment, or how well you did on the roadside tests, its OK for them to presume you were driving stoned. In short, don’t drive high.

Isn’t Weed Still Illegal Under Federal Law? Will the Feds Prosecute Me?

Yes and no. Marijuana remains illegal under Federal Law. That being said, the federal government has said that they will not prosecute the possession or sale of marijuana, so long as state law is being complied with, and those laws are “robust”. Colorado has tried to make the regulations regarding possession and sales of marijuana robust and well regulated, so as to prevent federal interference.

Can I Use My Credit or Debit Card to Legally Purchase Weed?

Someday. As it stands right now, pot shops are cash only businesses, due to federal banking regulations regarding money laundering and banks doing business with individuals dealing in areas illegal under federal law. This requirement will likely be changing soon though.

Where Can I Smoke Weed in Colorado?

This is probably the biggest challenge for out of state residents traveling to Colorado to smoke marijuana. Public consumption remains illegal, therefore, its really best to consume it in the privacy of your own home (although this too is an issue because landlords have the right to say no). You cannot consume it in National Parks, at Ski Areas, outdoors, and even a hotel has the right to say no, just like they can prevent you from smoking cigarettes in your room. I’ve been asked if you can smoke in your parked car. NO, please don’t ever smoke pot in a car, regardless of if it is parked and off, this is a recipe for disaster.

Anything Else I Should Know Before Coming to Colorado to Purchase and Smoke Marijuana?

First, the rules are constantly changing; I’ve tried to be as up to date as possible, but its best to check with an attorney before coming. Next, keep in mind that Colorado’s legalization is essentially an experiment and many other states and the federal government are watching it closely. Don’t do anything that could jeopardize its success. Don’t commit crimes, don’t provide marijuana to underage people, don’t try to take it home with you. Remember, if you ever want pot to be legalized in your state, it likely has to succeed in Colorado, don’t do anything that would potentially add to the negative statistics.


Steven Rodemer is a criminal defense attorney in Colorado Springs at The Law Office of Steven Rodemer, LLC. Steve has been named for three years as one of the “Top 40 Attorneys Under 40” by the National Trial Lawyers, a “Top 100” DUI Attorney by the National Advocacy for DUI Defense and was named as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers in 2014.

  • john herndon

    one question that nobody seems to ask or that is not addressed is the number one question to me – can an out of state driver go into colorado and buy pot and then take it back to their state?

    • z

      No. Border states routinely search cars crossing state lines from Colorado or Washington.

    • thedailychronic

      That would not only be illegal, but also lacks common sense.

  • Common Sense

    Of course you can’t. It’s still illegal to possess weed in your state? What dumb question is that?

  • ali

    I’m curious if you can take legally obtained medical marijuana across state lines for your own medical use when travelling.

    • Shadow

      Not unless you wish to be arrested.

  • jwall07

    Both questions are retarded!!! WOW people!

  • Sir Jacko

    Regarding the limit of 1/4 ounce purchase for out of state residence, is that per day? Also, can you get around that buy just buying a 1/4 from one store, another 1/4 from another store, and so on?

  • Dj

    You’ll be fine these guys are fuckin retards lol

  • Mike

    If I smoke it in colorado then get tested in oklahoma, can I get in trouble for positive test

  • Rusty Weaver

    Can you buy other products besides buds?

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  • Tony

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  • Mary

    Cannabis is a plant. It grows naturally on our planet. No feds, banksters, or corporate peons should have the ability to make nature and natural medicine “illegal.” The very word legal would assume respect for the hypocrisy which is ‘Merika’s military-industrial-complex. My right as a citizen of the Earth is to take a seed put it in a pot or the ground and grow as many damn plants as I want. Oh my…. that sounds like Freedom.

  • Marie R

    When you buy your products from the dispensary they give you a locked bag to keep it in so it is then considered a controlled substance and you can legally walk with it on your person as long as the bag is locked. If you walk with your product not in that locked bag it is considered an open container just like alcohol laws. No need to hide it in your trunk.

  • Raq

    If I drive from Fort worth, Texas to Ouray, Colorado, can I bring pot with me for the drive and will I be checked crossing into Colorado? I know there isn’t a border but I did not know if it had changed since Marijuana was legalized in Colorado.

  • Canna Sseur

    The guide kind of leaves out the critical points – like where to get the best herb depending on where you are at in CO. Saying “136” stores is like telling someone going to Vegas, “if you want to visit a casino and get good food, go to one of the several hundred restaurants or casinos”… A little obvious, no? It’s good to shop around, but when I check a guide I want to know the “Go-To” spots. I agree that once you have done your shopping you will find the best spot that suits you though. For me, ChoiceOrganics (FoCo), TGS (Denver), and the best I’ve visited yet, Nature’s Gift Shop (Pueblo West) are good calls depending on where you are at in the State. Anyone else seen better?