Despite Colorado allowing “recreational marijuana” and “medical marijuana”, possession of marijuana can still be illegal under Federal Law and if a person’s possession of marijuana goes beyond the legal possession limit of the substance allowed by Colorado law.
If a person has a medical marijuana license, there is only a limited amount of the substance that that person can legally possess. If someone is a medical marijuana caregiver, there are also strict rules on the amount that the caregiver can legally possess or cultivate. While they are becoming rarer, there have been prosecutions for possession of marijuana amounts in excess of what the medical marijuana law allows. This is a quickly changing and evolving area of the law.
Possessing & Selling Marijuana in Colorado
Recreational marijuana can only be possessed by persons over 21 years old. Consumption of marijuana in public remains illegal in most cities and counties.
Selling marijuana without the proper licensing remains a serious crime in Colorado. The amount possessed to be sold affects the level of crime that could be charged. If there is a gun (working or not, loaded or not, real or fake) near the marijuana or the seller; or if a sale takes place within 1,000 feet of a school, the charge can carry a mandatory prison sentence.
Despite marijuana being legally sold in Colorado, it remains a very serious crime to try to take marijuana to another state from Colorado – whether by carrying it or shipping it.
Often these charges come up after a “confidential informant” has assisted law enforcement officers in arranging a sale. Sometimes these confidential informants are working with police because they are facing possession charges themselves and have agreed to arrange a certain number of sales in order to avoid being prosecuted. Prosecutors do not like to disclose the identifying information of such confidential informants, and that can sometimes be used to try to get cases resolved short of a trial.
Another way to challenge the prosecution of possession charges is by attacking the manner in which the law enforcement officers came to find the marijuana (i.e. the search and seizure of the substance). If the officers are found to have violated the accused rights as they located and seized the substance, the court will suppress the substance and not allow the inappropriately located and seized items to be used as evidence against the accused.
The lawyers at Miller & Harrison, LLC are experienced in handling these types of cases – from minor possession to intent to sell to large-scale cultivation of marijuana.