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Know the Law

Residents & Visitors

  • Answer - You must be 21 and older to buy, possess or use retail marijuana. It is illegal to give or sell retail marijuana to minors.

  • Answer - Only licensed retail marijuana stores may sell retail marijuana, and only to those 21 and older.

    Medical marijuana requires a state red card, which can only be obtained by Colorado residents with a recommendation from a doctor that a patient suffers from a debilitating medical condition that may benefit from medical marijuana. Medical marijuana patients can obtain marijuana from a licensed center, a primary caregiver or self-grow. For more information about medical marijuana, please visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment.

  • Answer - Those 21 and older can purchase retail marijuana at licensed retail stores.

    Other municipalities in Colorado also allow retail marijuana stores. Please go to each city’s website to determine specific marijuana sale and consumption laws.

  • Answer - Retail marijuana is intended for private, personal use. Such use is only legal in certain locations not open or accessible to the public. Marijuana may not be consumed openly or publicly.

  • Answer - No, it is illegal to consume marijuana in public. 

    This includes but is not limited to areas accessible to the public such as transportation facilities, schools, amusement/sporting/music venues, parks, playgrounds, sidewalks and roads and outdoor and rooftop cafes. It is also illegal to smoke at indoor-but-public locations like bars, restaurants and common areas in buildings.

  • Answer - Since Amendment 64 went into effect in late 2012, adults 21 and older have been allowed to possess up to 1 ounce of retail marijuana.

  • Answer - Adults 21 and older can purchase and possess up to 1 ounce of retail marijuana at a time. 

  • Answer - No, it is illegal to consume marijuana in or around a licensed store. It is also illegal to smoke at indoor-but-public locations such as bars, restaurants and common areas in buildings.

  • Answer -  No. These businesses are not permitted.

  • Answer - Penalties range from a fine to a possible jail or prison sentence. Colorado State Statutes and Denver Revised Municipal Code spell out the specific penalties for various violations.

    Schools, universities and employers are allowed to put in place their own disciplinary actions for marijuana-related infractions.

  • Answer - No. Possession laws are the same for all retail marijuana types, and public consumption is always illegal, regardless of form. 

  • Answer - Yes. Marijuana may be carried in cars but it may not be in an open container and cannot cross state boundaries. It is illegal to use or consume marijuana in a motor vehicle and it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. 

  • Answer - Yes. It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana and it can result in a DUI, just like alcohol. Anyone with 5 nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (known as THC) per milliliter in whole blood (CRS 42-4-1301) while driving can be arrested for DUI. The consequences of DUI is dependent on the driver but they can include fines, jail time and a revoked license.

  • Answer - No. It is illegal to take marijuana across state lines. DIA prohibits possession, use, display, and transfer of all marijuana on its property.

  • Answer - No. It is illegal to consume marijuana in public, which includes public transportation.

  • Answer - It is illegal for drivers and front-seat passengers to use marijuana in vehicles designed for private, for-hire transportation in Denver. If the private, for-hire transportation operator allows for it, marijuana may be consumed in the rear passenger area only.

  • Answer - It is up to the discretion of the hotel if it allows marijuana smoke to be consumed in their smoking rooms (the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act limits all smoking to at most 25 percent of rooms). You should ask the hotel if they allow it. Denver city laws prohibit marijuana consumption on hotel balconies if visible from any public place.

  • Answer - Denver ordinances only apply within the City and County of Denver. Please go to each city or county’s website to determine specific marijuana sale and consumption laws.

  • Answer - It is illegal to consume, use, display, transfer, distribute, sell or grow retail marijuana at or within any park, parkway, mountain park (including Red Rocks) or other recreational facility, on  any city-owned property (including streets and sidewalks) within 1,000 feet of a public or private elementary, middle, junior high or high school and on the 16th Street Mall (including any city street or sidewalk one block in either direction from the mall). Additionally, DIA prohibits possession, use, display and transfer of all marijuana on its property.  

  • Answer - On residential private property, retail marijuana consumption in any outdoor location is illegal unless the person is the property owner or lessee or has been granted express or implied permission by the property owner or lessee. On private non-residential property, marijuana consumption is illegal in any outdoor location if it is clearly visible from a public place.  

Parents, Guardians & Neighbors

  • Answer - Penalties can range from a fine to a possible jail or prison sentence. Additionally, K-12 schools, universities and school districts may have disciplinary and expulsion policies for students caught with retail marijuana on school property.  In Denver, those 18-21 caught possessing marijuana will face a civil penalty and not a criminal citation.  

  • Answer - No. You must be 21 and older to have or use retail marijuana. It is illegal to give or sell retail marijuana to minors.

  • Answer - There is a 1,000-foot spacing requirement between retail marijuana stores and schools. 

  • Answer - Call 9-1-1 if you are worried about the health and safety of your child. You must be 21 and older to have or use retail marijuana and children should be kept away from retail marijuana at all times.

  • Answer - Call a veterinarian. Pets should be kept away from marijuana at all times. 

  • Answer - Yes. Adult residents can grow up to 6 marijuana plants per person. No more than 12 total plants are allowed per residence regardless of the number of adults living there.

    Marijuana plants must be kept in an enclosed, locked area, and growers should take extra precautions to ensure that only authorized adults have access to the marijuana plants. 

    You must be 21 and older to have or use retail marijuana. Children and pets should be kept away from plants at all times. 

  • Answer - It is illegal to consume marijuana in public in Colorado. If you see a violation in Denver, call the police non-emergency line at 720-913-2000.

  • Answer - Both marijuana and tobacco smoke are subject to the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibits smoking in most indoor places accessible to the public. 

    It is illegal to consume marijuana in public.

  • Answer - If marijuana odor is perceived to be excessive, residents can file a nuisance odor complaint with the Denver Department of Environmental Health by calling 3-1-1.

  • Answer - Call the police non-emergency line at 720-913-2000.

  • Answer - Only existing medical marijuana centers that are eligible to convert to retail stores can change their license before 2016. Centers that are eligible must participate in a public hearing process in which relevant registered neighborhood organizations are notified of the license request and allowed an opportunity to provide testimony. Cick here to access the public hearing calendar.

Business & Property Owners

  • Answer - Yes. Any property owner can limit retail marijuana use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or growth of marijuana on his or her property.

  • Answer - Yes. Only existing medical marijuana centers that are eligible to convert to retail stores can change their license before 2016. Centers that are eligible must participate in a public hearing process. Click here to access the public hearing calendar.

  • Answer - Yes. The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in restaurants and limits the number of hotel rooms in which smoking is permitted. A hotel or motel wishing to permit marijuana smoke in individual rooms would still need to keep 75 percent of the rooms smoke free.

Answer - Yes. Employers are allowed to regulate or prohibit the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or growing of marijuana in the workplace. Employers may also enact policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees.

Marijuana Retailers & Home Growers

Answer - Denver issues licenses for:

  • Retail Marijuana Stores
  • Retail Marijuana Products Manufacturing Facilities
  • Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facilities
  • Retail Marijuana Testing Facilities
  • Medical Marijuana Centers
  • Medical Marijuana Optional Premises Cultivation Facilities 
  • Medical Marijuana Infused Products Manufacturing Facilities

  • Answer - The first retail sales were legally authorized to begin on Jan. 1, 2014, in licensed stores, subject to inspections, hearings and other criteria. 

Answer - In Denver, only existing medical marijuana centers, manufacturers and cultivators that were operating in good standing as of Oct. 1, 2013 can apply for a retail license before Jan. 1, 2016. These facilities can convert to a retail license or add a retail license to their existing medical marijuana license.

For additional information on becoming a licensed retail store, please visit the Colorado Department of Revenue and Denver Excise & Licenses.

Answer - To verify the status of a medical or retail marijuana business license located in Denver please contact Denver Excise & Licenses by calling 311 (or 720-913-1311 if outside Denver). Please have the business name, address, or business file number of the requested license available.

  • Answer - To make a physical modification to an existing licensed premise, transfer the location of your license to new premises, or change the ownership of an existing license you must complete the required application process with the city and the state.

Any proposed physical modification and any new location to which an existing licensed business is transferred must fully comply with spacing and zoning requirements and will require another round of inspections. If you plan on making a physical modification of the premises, you must contact Denver Development Services to obtain the proper construction permits and get all required inspections to receive the Certificate of Occupancy (CO) or final approval before you can occupy a building. Additionally, any change in the use of a building may require a new zoning permit and the Denver Fire Department requires operational permits for the installation of new systems.   

  • Answer - Yes. The only persons authorized to transport marijuana or marijuana products are those licensed by the State Licensing Authority and Denver Excise & Licenses. 

  • Answer - Once all application forms and requirements are satisfactorily completed, Denver Excise & Licenses will issue an Inspection Card to the applicant. Applicants must schedule and complete inspections with the following City of Denver departments prior to issuance of the license:
    • Fire Department
    • Environmental Health
    • Community Planning & Development - Neighborhood Inspections Services
    • Community Planning & Development - Building Department
    • Excise & Licenses 

Any construction (i.e., new walls, electrical circuits, grow lights, commercial kitchen appliances, mechanical work, etc.) requires construction permits. All construction permits are required to be finalized and you must receive a Certificate of Occupancy or final approval prior to issuance of a business license. Before submitting an application for licensing or occupying a building, you must obtain a zoning permit for use from Community Planning & Development’s zoning permit counter and ensure that the proposed location is in full compliance with spacing and zoning requirements.

  • Answer - A retail marijuana store may only sell “retail marijuana,” as defined by the Colorado Department of Revenue, which has been sourced from a licensed Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility or a Retail Marijuana Products Manufacturing Facility. A retail marijuana store may not sell or give away any consumable product that is not a retail marijuana product including, but not limited to, cigarettes or tobacco products, alcohol beverages, and non-alcohol beverages or food products that are not retail marijuana product.

  • Answer - Colorado residents 21 and older can purchase and possess up to 1 ounce of retail marijuana at a time.

    Non-residents are limited to ¼ ounce. 

  • Answer - Yes. Adult residents can grow up to 6 marijuana plants per person, with no more than 3 in the mature/flowering stage at any time. No more than 12 total plants are allowed per residence regardless of the number of adults living there. Marijuana plants must be kept in an enclosed, locked area.

    Take extra precautions to ensure that only authorized adults have access to the marijuana plants. You must be 21 and older to have or use retail marijuana. Children and pets should be kept away from plants at all times. 

  • Answer - Yes. Adult residents can grow up to 6 marijuana plants per person, with no more than 3 in the mature/flowering stage at any time. No more than 12 total plants are allowed per residence, regardless of the number of adults living there.

  • Answer - Home grown marijuana, no matter the form, may not be sold to others.

    Take extra precautions to ensure that only authorized adults have access to marijuana plants. You must be 21 and older to have or use retail marijuana. Children and pets should be kept away from plants at all times. 

  • Answer - Marijuana must be grown in a fully enclosed and locked space, whether indoors or outdoors.

  • Answer - Yes. No more than 36 plants can be grown on any non-residential zone lot within City limits unless the grower holds marijuana cultivation licenses issued by both the state MED and the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses. Neither caregivers nor medical patients with extended plant counts are exempt from this rule.