While the recreational use and sale of marijuana may be legal in Colorado, there are still plenty of ways that the drug can get you in trouble with the law.
Take the recent case in Colorado Springs, where an adult woman is being investigated for distributing marijuana to minors. Her house was put under surveillance when the police noticed an unusually high number of underage visitors stopping by for a short time and then leaving. After police obtained a warrant and searched her house, they announced they had enough evidence to support allegations that the woman was selling marijuana to underage customers.
So who is in trouble in this situation—the woman who sold the weed, or her underage patrons? The answer is that both parties could face a variety of drug crime charges with serious consequences, including:
Sale or distribution to a minor. Under Colorado law, it is illegal to sell, transfer, or distribute marijuana to a person who is under the age of 21. The sentencing for this crime is determined by the age of the vendor and the amount of marijuana sold. If convicted of this crime, the woman could be penalized with years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
Minor in possession. Similarly, if any of the minors involved in the incident were found with marijuana on their person, they may face minor in possession charges. In Colorado, possession of marijuana can result in a misdemeanor or felony, depending on circumstances such as the amount of marijuana found and the existence of a previous criminal record. The penalties for minor in possession may include fines, jail time, and a stain on their criminal record.
Minor in possession of drug paraphernalia. In Colorado, it is not only illegal for individuals under 21 to possess marijuana, but also to possess marijuana paraphernalia if they know or reasonably should know the paraphernalia could be used in violation of the law. That means that even if the minors involved in the Colorado Springs incident were only found with equipment or products intended for marijuana consumption, they could still face legal repercussions.
Driving under the influence. Driving under the influence of marijuana is a serious crime at any age, but the penalties are especially severe for drivers under the age of 21. If the minors involved in the incident were caught attempting to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana as they left the scene, they could be penalized with fines, public service, and license suspension.
As a parent, you can help protect your child from penalties associated with minor in possession charges by warning them about the legal consequences of underage marijuana use. Never supply your underage child with the drug, or leave marijuana or edibles around the house where your child can access them.
And if your underage child or teen has been charged with minor in possession or another marijuana-related crime, the best thing you can do for them as a parent is to contact a Colorado juvenile crimes lawyer. An experienced lawyer will be able to explain the charges your child is facing, and provide your family with invaluable guidance and legal counsel during this difficult time.
With the help of a tough attorney and the right defense, you may be able to have your child’s marijuana charges reduced or dropped so that they can avoid penalties like incarceration and a lifelong criminal record.