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Is Marijuana Legal in Colorado?

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The short answer is yes -- and no. The possession of marijuana is legal on a state level, but it is still illegal to possess marijuana on the federal level. However, the Obama administration has not made it a priority to pursue marijuana offenders in the states where medical or recreational marijuana is legal.

In November of 2012, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, which allows marijuana to be regulated like alcohol. The move makes recreational, as well as medical, marijuana legal in the state. Prior to the passage of Amendment 64, Colorado had been home to many thriving medical marijuana businesses. Medical marijuana is often shortened to the acronym of MMJ.

Can I buy marijuana now in Colorado?

Yes, the sale of recreational marijuana was legalized on Jan. 1, 2014. The state has issued licenses to more than 100 retail marijuana stores in Denver. The state treats marijuana like alcohol, so buyer must be age 21 or older to purchase marijuana. Out-of-state buyers can buy 1/4th of an ounce at a time, while in-state buyers can buy one ounce at a time.

Many visitors are surprised to find marijuana establishments advertising their wares in Colorado. Prices for retail marijuana vary, and taxes are charged on retail marijuana. Marijuana must be consumed on private property, and is banned at the Denver International Airport.

What about medical marijuana?

Some marijuana dispensaries only sell medical marijuana, which requires visitors to obtain a medical marijuana card through a doctor's visit and registration with the state. Some dispensaries sell both recreational and medical marijuana, but are required to have a physical separation, such as a wall, between the two sides. Medical marijuana cards are available only to Colorado residents, not out-of-state residents.Taxes are NOT charged on medical marijuana, and prices start at $25 for an 1/8th of an ounce.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health, the number of Colorado residents with valid Medical Marijuana Registry ID cards totaled 112,149 as of October 2013. Sixty-seven percent of card holders are male, and 33% are female. The majority of card-holders cite severe pain as a reason to obtain the medical marijuana card. Effective in February 2014, the application fee for medical marijuana cards is $15.

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