Colorado has legalized Medical Marijuana, but what are the laws regarding possession of marijuana otherwise? Here is a list of the penalties for marijuana possession, from NORML:
Possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is a petty offense. The offender receives a summons to appear in court, and upon a promise to appear in court, the offender is to be released from detention. The maximum penalty for a violation is $100. Failure to appear at the specified time and location results in the increase of the charges to a misdemeanor. Displaying or using the marijuana in public results in the added penalty of up to 15 days in jail. Possession of greater than one ounce is a misdemeanor, punishable by 6-18 months in jail and a fine of $500 – $5,000, plus a $600 surcharge. Possession of greater than 8 ounces of marijuana is a felony, punishable by 1 – 3 years in prison and a fine of $1,000 – $100,000 and a surcharge of $1,125. Generally, subsequent convictions of possession of over one ounce double the possible penalties.
Transfer of less than one ounce of marijuana for no consideration is considered possession and is punished as such. Any other transfer, sale, manufacture or cultivation is a felony, punishable by 2 – 4 years in prison and a fine of $2,000 – $500,000 and a $1,500 surcharge. Any transport of greater than 100 lbs. is punishable by 8 – 24 years in prison and a fine of $5,000 – $1,000,000. Any transfer to a minor is also a felony punishable by 2 – 4 years in prison and a fine of $2,000 – $500,000. Any sale within 1000 feet of a school or public housing area increases the penalties to 8 – 24 years in prison and a fine of $10,000 to $1,000,000.
Patients who possess written documentation from their physician recommending the use of marijuana and are registered with the state and issued an identification card may legally possess no more than two ounces of marijuana or no more than six marijuana plants.
Any convictions for drug offenses that involve diversion from the prison system require a mandatory 16 – 48 hours of community service.
Any felony convictions involving possession or sale of marijuana also result in the suspension of the offender’s driver’s license for a period of up to one year.
Possession or sale of paraphernalia is a petty offense punishable by a fine of up to $100.
Conditional release: The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual’s criminal record does not reflect the charge.
Decriminalization: The state has decriminalized marijuana to some degree. Typically, decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption. The conduct is treated like a minor traffic violation.
Medical marijuana: This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective. For more information see NORML’s Medical Marijuana section.
Hemp: This state has an active hemp industry or has authorized research. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and other products. For more information see NORML’s Industrial Use section.