What is Recreational Marijuana?
To understand the concept behind recreational marijuana, all you have to do is consider the word recreation, which is related to activities that bring you enjoyment. Recreational marijuana, then, is used for the purposes of enjoyment, rather than for strictly health or medical benefits.
This is an important distinction because many states still limit the use of marijuana to only those with a proven medical need, which is defined on a state-by-state basis. In Colorado, residents enjoy the freedom to choose from both medical and recreational marijuana, depending on their needs and whether they qualify for the medical marijuana registry.
The passage of Initiative 20 in the year 2000 allowed for access to medical marijuana with the use of an identification card (from the Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry) for patients age 18 and over, and/or caregivers. Then, in 2012, Amendment 64 (the Colorado Marijuana Legalization Amendment) was passed, legalizing recreational marijuana for adults age 21 and over.
This means you no longer need to register to purchase cannabis and cannabis products from a recreational cannabis dispensary in Denver. That said, there are some differences between medical and recreational weed that you should be aware of before deciding which is right for you. Here are a few things you need to know about recreational marijuana in Colorado.
Consumption of Recreational Weed in Denver
The only requirement to be eligible for consuming recreational marijuana in Colorado is that you have to be age 21 or over. You don’t even have to be a resident of the state to purchase and consume recreational weed – all you have to do is prove that you’re 21 or older. Keep in mind that it is illegal to transport marijuana, so don’t expect to buy it in Colorado, take it to the airport, and transport it to another state. It is illegal to bring marijuana to any international or other airport in the U.S.
As for where you can consume the cannabis after you visit the nearest recreational marijuana dispensary, the laws have recently changed to allow for greater latitude. Since the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis in Colorado, it has only been legal to consume it in private spaces, such as a home. Public consumption was strictly prohibited.
However, Colorado passed HB 1230 in 2019, allowing for limited public consumption. While it is still illegal to consume marijuana in most public spaces, including motor vehicles, HB 1230 allowed for the creation of business licenses specifically related to marijuana consumption. As a result, consumers can now partake of cannabis in licensed tasting rooms, lounges, and associated hospitality businesses.
Purchasing Recreational Cannabis in Denver
Both medical and recreational consumers can make purchases at any recreational marijuana dispensary, but there are some state-licensed dispensaries that are designated for medical marijuana patients only. An out-of-state patient does not qualify to purchase at a Colorado medical marijuana dispensary, but can make purchases at recreational dispensaries if over the age of 21. Consumers can make purchases themselves, or patients can designate a caregiver to make purchases on their behalf, with suitable registry identification.
Thanks to the passage of HB 1234 in 2019, there are now additional ways to purchase cannabis and cannabis products. This bill allowed for marijuana delivery, so that consumers no longer have to visit a dispensary in person to purchase weed. This is great news for patients with mobility issues that make it difficult to get to a dispensary, as well as Colorado residents that have no state-licensed dispensary nearby.
The law specifies that cannabis delivery for medical marijuana patients commences on January 2, 2020, while all cannabis consumers (including recreational) can begin receiving delivery of marijuana on January 2, 2021. However, this doesn’t necessarily affect the amount of cannabis you’re allowed to purchase or possess.
In the state of Colorado, possession of flower is limited to 1 ounce for recreational use or 2 ounces for medical use, while possession of concentrates is limited to 8 grams for recreational use and 56 grams for medical use.
Can I Grow My Own?
It is not legal for citizens to grow recreational cannabis in Denver, or anywhere in the state of Colorado. However, qualifying patients and caregivers may grow their own marijuana, within specific limits. Both the patient and the caregiver may possess/grow up to 6 plants, but only three can be in the flowering stage. This means a given residential cultivation site could house up to 12 plants.
Laws vary somewhat by city and county, but a caregiver can often grow at multiple locations for the benefit of multiple patients. However, they must provide the locations of cultivation sites, as well as patient registration information, under the law.
Is Medical and Recreational Cannabis the Same?
There are several differences between medical and recreational cannabis you should be aware of. As noted previously, both can be purchased in a recreational cannabis dispensary in Denver, but there are certain dispensaries that only serve medical marijuana patients.
Even so, the dispensary you visit is likely to offer a similar experience, complete with a range of products to choose from, as well as knowledgeable and experienced professionals on hand to help you understand your options. In some cases, dedicated medical marijuana dispensaries are set up like a doctor’s office, insomuch as there is a waiting room and patients are allowed in one at a time for the purposes of privacy. Recreational dispensaries are not allowed to offer medical advice.
In addition, medical and recreational marijuana products may differ somewhat. For example, medical marijuana may feature a higher content of CBD, while recreational products may feature more THC. This is because the intent of the products is different. Medical marijuana customers are typically seeking symptom relief, while recreational consumers are often more interested in the psychoactive effects of the marijuana.
There’s also a difference in pricing, or more specifically, taxation. Medical marijuana is subject to the 2.9% sales tax placed on goods in the state of Colorado. Recreational, or retail marijuana and marijuana products, on the other hand, are subject to the retail marijuana tax of 15%. While recreational marijuana is certainly easier to obtain, there are some benefits to medical marijuana that qualified patients should consider.