Recreational Marijuana in Colorado - WHY NOT IN KY?

Proponent of Practical Pot Policy Published:

This is reprint of an article at The Motley Fool (link pasted in at end)

9 Things to Know Before Smoking Marijuana (Legally) in Colorado

By John Maxfield | More Articles
January 1, 2014 | Comments (32)

We're only a few hours into the New Year, but one thing can be said with a high degree of certainty: 2014 will go down in history books as the year that marijuana began its official nationwide trek toward legality.

As you read this, lines have formed at hundreds of marijuana dispensaries throughout Colorado, which, along with Washington, became the first states on Wednesday to allow the sale of cannabis for recreational use. Smoking a joint is now legally indistinguishable from drinking a beer in these two states -- absent, of course, federal law.

For those of you that have decided to partake in this watershed event -- for better or for worse -- here is a list of nine things that you should know before lighting up in Colorado.

1. Is marijuana really legal in Colorado?

The answer to this is both yes and no. From a state law standpoint, it is now legal to buy, possess, and consume marijuana for recreational use in Colorado. From a federal standpoint, however, all of these activities are still illegal, as cannabis remains a Schedule 1 drug (meaning that it has "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse").

The good news (at least for those of you interested in partaking in this newfound freedom) is that the federal government isn't likely to get involved. In August, the U.S. Department of Justice published the so-called Cole memorandum (link opens PDF), laying out eight "enforcement priorities," beyond which it will defer to state and local law enforcement agencies to "address marijuana enforcement of their own narcotics laws."

As a result, so long as you don't distribute it to minors, transport it across state lines, drive while under the influence, possess it on federal property, or run afoul of the other priorities laid out in the Cole memorandum, then it seems safe to assume that adherence to Colorado's laws (covered below) will likely shield you from legal problems.

2. Who can buy weed in Colorado?

Starting Jan. 1, anybody over the age of 21 (with a valid government-issued photo identification) can walk into a licensed dispensary and purchase marijuana.

3. Where can you buy it?

Only licensed retail dispensaries are allowed to sell marijuana in Colorado. Fear not, however, as there are a growing number of these across the state.

According to recent figures, the Marijuana Enforcement Division, the governmental agency tasked with regulating the industry, has issued 136 recreational licenses to retail stores throughout the state.

The official list of qualified retail locations is available here (link opens PDF). Additionally, here is a map of the both medical and recreational dispensaries throughout Colorado.

4. How much can you buy?

This depends on whether or not you're a Colorado resident.

If you are, then you can buy up to an ounce per visit for recreational use -- the limit is two ounces for holders of a medical marijuana card. If you aren't, then you're limited to a quarter of an ounce per visit.

Given that you could make multiple visits in a single day, in turn, the more pertinent question concerns how much you can legally possess. The answer to this question is one ounce.

5. How much does marijuana cost in Colorado?

This is likely to change around the turn of the year as the new recreational laws take effect. If demand soars as some are predicting, then the price will likely rocket higher due to limited supply.

Either way, initial estimates suggest that recreational marijuana will start out selling for between $50 and $60 per eighth of an ounce after taxes. By comparison, because medical marijuana isn't subject to the same 25% in additional excise and sales taxes, it will likely sell for a considerable discount to recreational cannabis.

6. Where can you smoke it?

As a general rule, you're allowed to consume marijuana on private, but not public, property. Beyond that, it's up to local municipalities to dictate consumption rules.

In Denver, for instance, marijuana can be consumed on private property so long as the use isn't done "openly or publicly." This precludes public transportation, schools, sporting venues, parks, playgrounds, sidewalks, and roads, among other places.

7. Can you also grow it yourself?

Yes. Adult residents of Colorado are allowed to grow up to six plants in their home. However, no more than three can be in the flowering stage at any one time, and there can be no more than 12 plants at a single residence, regardless of the number of occupants.

8. What's in it for Colorado?

The short answer is: tax revenue. In the most recent fiscal year, Colorado generated $9.1 million in retail sales tax from the sale of medical marijuana. This figure is bound to surge with the introduction of recreational sales and the additional 25% in excise and sales taxes thereon in 2014.

Beyond this, the industry generates millions of dollars every year for the state from licensing and application fees. To apply for and obtain a license to run a medical marijuana facility serving more than 500 patients, for instance, the necessary application and license fees alone approach $40,000.

9. Where does all of the legal weed come from?

Under the current laws of Colorado, all of the marijuana sold in the state must be grown there as well -- this, as a side note, follows similarly from the federal proscription on interstate distribution of controlled substances. As a result, there's a growing industry of marijuana farmers that's sprouted up throughout the state.

While the size of each operation varies -- ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands of square feet -- the only thing they all have in common is growth. "We can't grow the stuff fast enough to sell it," a local cannabis cultivator told me during a tour of his facilities.

The Foolish bottom line

At this point, whether you agree or disagree with the decision in Colorado and Washington to legalize the sale and consumption of marijuana for recreational use, the one thing that seems certain is that this trend has only just begun.

"The only thing more addictive than illegal drugs is tax revenue," John Paul Maxfield, a Denver resident and the founder of Waste Farmers, told me.

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  • Oh, and did I mention the jack-booted thugs?

  • Well, that is good and I might add that the salient issues that you raise are supported by the science.  This is why Colorado and Washington have decriminalize recreational pot use, and 20 states and D.C. have decriminalized medical marijuana.  There is no "shame" for anyone who wishes to alter their state of conciousness with marijuana, however, in most states it is still illegal...which is the worst thing about doing it.  In this case, the cure is WAAAAAAYYYY worse than the disease.  

  • I'm only saying that it is not reason enough to say that it is a gateway drug just to keep it from being used. Honestly if the main point I want it legalized is that my aunt has breast cancer and she doesn't eat due to her chemo therapy and marijuana will help that in all senses. I have no identity with the person I use to be and am 100% clean. There is nothing for me to hide nor anything to be ashamed of.

  • Stoner8625, do not be fooled into thinking that your have any identity security on this or any other social media web site.  Therefore, I would be a little more carefull with your public admissions of your illicit drug use on any social media.  I can assure you that there are police that search these webways looking for admissions such as yours...and they will find out who you are bust you. That is what they do, and they are dead serious about it.  

    Even though this is a so-called anonymous web site, there truly is no anonymity on the world wide web, and remember that you had to reveal your identity in order to get on here and other web sites.  Do you really think that if the police came knocking on the SJ door looking for your identity that they would not give it to them pronto?

    I personally know of instances where the police have raided parties and gatherings that were advertised on social media, or busted those who posted photos of themselves doing a bong hit or other stupid activity.  It is stupid to make these admissions as you are literally busting yourselves.

    So, don't be surprised if the police come knockin' on your door with a battering ram and guns drawn.  They see arresting people like you who flaunt their illicit drug use as their number one priority in fighting the War on Some Drugs Other Than Alocohol and Tobacco.  To them you are promoting contraband useage.


  • For anyone who believes that pot is a gateway drug then I hate to say it but u are sadly mistaken. I'm 19 years old and yes I have smoked weed, like a lot and loved every second of it. I have tried many other substances such as shrooms and extacy and no I take no interest in ever wanting to do it again. Marijuana for recreational purposes is exactly the same as drinking a beer on your property and does absolutely no damage to your body besides gaining a couple of pounds and even that wears off after a while. It is a better source of income for the state than any plant we have. We are so far in debt and people are too blinded by fear of trying something new that could potentially help them. Ky should go green and even tho I'm not old enough to buy when it is legalized I still say do it and yea I won't lie I'll still smoke and enjoy it because it is my freedom to choose what I put in my body as well as it is for everyone else. If u don't smoke that's fine u can have your liver killing alcohol and let us stick to the safer alternative. And I'll say it again by experience MARIJUANA IS NOT A GATEWAY DRUG!!!!

  • Colorado has had medical marijuana since 2000...if it hasn't imploded yet after nearly 14 years, it ain't gonna...;-)

  • Still waiting patiently for Colorado to implode...;-)

  • The prohibitionists will tell you that medical marijuana is just a scam and anybody can get marijuana if they want it. Ok.  California has had legal medical marijuana for 17 years.  17 years in which, 'anybody can get it'.   Where are the bodies?   Where are the harms that the prohibitionists predicted?    20 States have medical marijuana laws now which means an awful lot of people have used this medication and again, where are the bodies?  Teen usage of marijuana is down in states with these laws and so far recreational legalization has not changed the rate of teen usage in Colorado.  Rates of mental health sufferers and are relatively the same and in the case of suicide, down.  
    This proves the emptiness of the argument against legalization, as legalization has not caused an increase in the harms associated with marijuana use claimed by those who would continue the failed policy of prohibition.

  • ihater does not need to read the article or anything factual, he learned it the old fashioned way, the experts at FOX News and the Partnership for a Drug Free America.  Facts, facts?  He don't need no stinkin' facts.  He has special DNA so facts just roll off of his brain like water on a goose.

    The last three Presidents smoked pot and it didn't hurt them none...

  • hilarious how ihateoxygenthieves didn't even read the article.

    here's the key phrase you missed, "allow the sale of cannabis for recreational use".

  • ihateox, As a cancer survivor who was told directly by their oncologist that smoking cannabis will help me with the many side effects and as a person who smoked cannabis in the room at the Markey Cancer Center, I find your responses juvenile. It’s also obvious by your name you’d rather hate than understand.   Not everyone that smokes cannabis is, to use your term, a pothead.  Just as not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic.  What solid stats do you have that revels the majority of Kentuckians aren't in favor of recreational cannabis? Just spatting out negative words against the poster proves zilch. If others want recreational cannabis to be legal so be it.  Go fully support an issue you want and be happy.

  • From what I have heard it is because you can not transport it over state lines. I am not a surfer dude so I'm not sure if that info is's just something that I heard people talking about. ihateoxg you yourself just said it could help some, so how is it a gimmick?

  • Question for the author......

    9. Where does all of the legal weed come from?

    Under the current laws of Colorado, all of the marijuana sold in the state must be grown there as well......

    does colorado weed have special DNA?

  • Because kyians dont want to be potheads.  NY taxess soft drinks and big gulps illegal, in San Fran you can show your testicles in public, if your friend jumped off a bridge would you?  Just because they puff puff pass in colorado doesnt mean KY needs to.  The states 32 that still outlaw it outnumber the 18 that dont. Just call it what it is and maybe i will support it.  The "medical marijuana" is a gimmick.  Can it help some people? Sure. But its just a cover ploy for the surfer dudes.

  • 1. Is marijuana really legal in Colorado?

    Yes, as long as Democrats control state government in Colorado and the White House and Senate in Washington.  If the Republicans take over in either the state or Washington, all bets are off.  If Mitt Romney had won the election he vowed to use the powers of the federal government to oppose the legalization of marijuana, including medical marijuana.

    “People talk about medicinal marijuana. And you know, you hear that story that people who are sick need medicinal marijuana. But marijuana is the entry drug for people trying to get kids hooked on drugs. I don't want medicinal marijuana; there are synthetic forms of marijuana that are available for people who need it for prescription. Don't open the doorway to medicinal marijuana.”
    July 25, 2007, Romney speaking at a town hall meeting in Bedford, New Hampshire

    “I believe marijuana should be illegal in our country. It is the pathway to drug usage by our society, which is a great scourge -- which is one of the great causes of crime in our cities, and I believe we are at a state where, of course, we are very concerned about people who are suffering, and there are various means of providing pain management.”
    October 4, 2007, Romney speaking to students at St. Anselm Institute of Politics in Manchester, New Hampshire


    Presidential Candidates Formerly Known As Pot Smokers


    Barack Obama
    Newt Gingrich
    Rick Santorum
    Gary Johnson

    Presidents Formerly Known As Pot Smokers


    George W. Bush
    Bill Clinton
    Andrew Jackson
    Thomas Jefferson
    John F. Kennedy
    Abraham Lincoln
    James Madison
    James Monroe
    Franklin Pierce
    Zachary Taylor
    George Washington

    Presidents Formerly Known As Hemp Growers


    Thomas Jefferson
    George Washington