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The 5 things you need to know about marijuana laws in Colorado

While some may still sneer at the fact that Colorado legalized medical and recreational marijuana, there is no doubt now that it has had a huge impact on our state, particularly our revenue. As a 2015 Forbes article explains, by about this time last year, our state had accumulated $55 million in recreational marijuana sales alone. For medical marijuana, total sales reached a staggering $96 million.

Despite the boom in our state's economy, residents still need to keep in mind that while marijuana is legal to use, there are still restrictions on the drug that must be followed or else you risk violating the law. Prosecutors in Colorado take drug charges very seriously and do not consider ignorance of the law a valid excuse for breaking it. 

5 need-to-knows about the law

1. You must be at least 21 to buy marijuana in Colorado. Just like with cigarettes and alcohol, individuals wishing to purchase marijuana must be of legal age to do so. Giving recreational and medical marijuana to a person under 21 is a crime and is punishable under the law.

2. Only licensed retail stores are allowed to sell marijuana. While purchasing marijuana in licensed stores is legal, purchasing marijuana from an unlicensed store or individual is not.

3. Consuming any form of marijuana in public is illegal. Whether you're at a restaurant, a park or in a marijuana retail store, it is illegal to consume marijuana in public. You should check with each specific city to determine its consumption laws and penalties for violating them.

4. You may transport marijuana in your car but not across state lines. Although the transportation of marijuana in a closed container is allowed in Colorado, it is still illegal to bring the drug across state lines - even if it's to another state where medical or recreational marijuana are also legal. This violates state and federal laws, which may lead to serious prosecution.

5. Each city may have different marijuana laws concerning sale and consumption. As if the laws concerning marijuana weren't restrictive enough, you should know that each city may have different consumption and sales laws, as well as different penalties for violating them. It's for this, and other reasons, that talking to a lawyer well-versed in state drug laws is such a good idea after being charged with a drug crime.

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