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Colorado Cannabis and Underage Laws: What Minors Should Know

Colorado Cannabis and Underage Laws: What Minors Should Know

Medical and recreational marijuana have been legal for some time in the state of Colorado, and yet possession charges remain quite common. Now, however, those charged with possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia are more often than not under the age of 21, for, just as minors cannot legally purchase alcohol, they cannot legally purchase or use retail marijuana.


Whether you are minor facing possession charges or you suspect that your child has been using marijuana, it is in your best interest to gain a thorough understanding of Colorado‚Äôs policies regarding marijuana use among minors. Detailed below are a few things you need to know:

Possession Laws and Penalties

Possession of retail marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia (including those meant for growing, harvesting, storing, or inhaling drugs) by those under the age of 21 is illegal in the state of Colorado. Those found guilty of possessing one ounce or less of retail marijuana are required to pay a fine of up to $100 and take a substance abuse education class.

Penalties are relatively lenient for first-time offenders under the current distribution policy on marijuana in Colorado. However, they grow far harsher for second-time offenders and those found in possession of more than one ounce. Second and third-time offenders are required to perform up to 36 hours of community service and submit to screening from the Department of Behavioral Health. This is particularly relevant for understanding how medical marijuana drug testing and workers comp interact, as these screenings could affect employment and compensation claims. Additionally, individuals caught using marijuana while on probation may face specific probation-related penalties. Those found in possession of larger amounts of retail marijuana may be forced to pay significant fines or even spend time behind bars.

Cultivation of Plants

Among minors, the cultivation of six or fewer marijuana plants is deemed a level 1 drug misdemeanor, carrying hefty fines ranging from $500 to $5,000 and a potential imprisonment of up to 18 months. After six plants, the consequences for growing marijuana are the same for minors and those over the age of 21. However, it’s important to note that if an adult gives marijuana to a minor, it can make the legal trouble much worse for the adult.

Prosecution Immunity

A minor can gain immunity from criminal prosecution if it can be shown that they called 911 in good faith to report that another underage person was in medical assistance due to marijuana consumption. It must be shown that the minor called 911, reported their truthful name to the 911 operator, was the first to make the report to 911, remained on the scene with the minor in need of medical attention until help arrived, and fully cooperated with medical personnel and law enforcement.

Being charged with a drug crime is always stressful, but it can be particularly nerve-wracking for minors. If you have been charged with marijuana possession or cultivation, it is imperative that you get in touch with a trusted marijuana possession defense attorney. The consequences of being convicted on these charges can have far reaching, negative effects on your future. Attorney Kevin Cahill has the experience to help you navigate the Colorado criminal justice system, and will fight to see the most positive of outcomes to your case. If you are facing charges of being a minor in possession of retail marijuana, contact the Law Office of Kevin Cahill at (720) 445-9887 for a free consultation.

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