What You Need to Know When Visiting for Colorado Cannabis
The Mile High State. As many of you may know, Colorado has legally allowed the use of recreational cannabis since 2014, one of the first states to overrule the federal stance on 420. Though the plant remains illegal in most of the US, Colorado has seen an unprecedented increase in an industry that is now known as “pot tourism.” Whether you’re visiting and simply want relax with some reefer or if you’re traveling to Colorado specifically to try it out, there are some things you really ought to know about Colorado cannabis.
Cannabis in Colorado History
Colorado was one of the first states to legalize the limited use of recreational cannabis. But did you know that Colorado was one of the first to make the drug illegal?
For the majority of US history, cannabis and hemp have actually been legal. Cannabis oil was a main ingredient in many medical tinctures and was even recreationally legal. Regulations really began around 1906, when products with cannabis in them had to be labeled. In the Southwest US at this time, racism and fear against Hispanic immigrants created a stigma that the drug was a danger to America. In fact, the term “marijuana” was specifically used in the media to create an association of the “dangerous drug” with Spanish and the immigrant population. Prohibition advocates used this fear to make a case for higher restrictions against the drug, leading to legislation of growing and use of cannabis being a misdemeanor offense in 1917.
In 1929, Colorado officially made the sale, distribution, and possession of cannabis a felony. The majority of people who were penalized and targeted have been, for the most part, the minority Hispanic population. It wasn’t until The Marihuana Act of 1937 that the rest of the US really began enforcing heavy convictions of cannabis use and sale.
From that time until 2000, Colorado recognized any possession or sale of cannabis to be a felony offense. In 2000, a 54% vote approved Amendment 20, allowing the sale and use of limited cannabis products for medicinal purposes. It wasn’t until over a decade later, in 2014, that recreational cannabis became legal again in Colorado. Since then, Colorado has seen many changes, from new advancements in critical medical products (ie Charlotte’s Web), to an influx of tourists wanting to experience the drug without risking 10 or more years of their life in prison. Though Colorado is still learning how to navigate the pros and cons of this industry in the modern age, it seems that cannabis can provide many opportunities to a multitude of people.
Don’t Be That Guy: Know the Laws
When you visit Colorado to partake in legal pot, there are a few rules you REALLY need to know:
- You have to be 21 years or older to buy and use cannabis, and you can only have 1 ounce in your possession.
Technically, it’s 1 ounce of THC, so go wild on CBD and industrial hemp-only products. You need to have a VALID (not expired or fake) government issued ID to prove you are over 21. So don’t try to look cool to that underage kid who only hangs out with you so you’ll buy them drugs. That’s still illegal, and creepy.
- You can buy up to 28 grams in one transaction
Good news, tourists! Before 2016, out of state visitors could only buy up to 7 grams per transaction. Now you can buy as much as CO residents! Just remember, you can’t take it across state borders or into the airport (don’t risk it, they’re really cracking down at the borders), so you probably don’t want to go overboard. Nothing like having to abandon really good (and expensive) bud.
- You can get a DUI from driving high
Cannabis may be legal, but a DUI is still a felony. If you are pulled over and the officer suspects that you are high or impaired in any way, they can require you to take a blood test. You cannot have cannabis in your car if it’s in an open container, a container with broken seals, or if there is any evidence of consumption inside of the car. Also, you are putting everyone in danger, including so many bike riders who may or may not stop at the 4-way stop sign. Just don’t.
- Cannabis CANNOT be smoked openly and in public
Similar to open-bottle laws for alcoholic beverages, smoking cannabis in public is an offense. This can be a downer for tourists, who typically don’t have access to a private property in CO. But never fear when the Solarium International Hostel is here! For your enjoyment, we have purposefully created an awesome, 420 tipi in our beautiful backyard. So you can grab your green, smoke in the tipi, and relax knowing you’re in the clear. (Disclaimer: No smoking of ANYTHING inside the building or rooms. Smoking strictly prohibited inside the main building or apartment annex).
Weeding Out FoCo Dispensaries
Being out of town can be tricky, especially when looking for the right dispensary. Remember, since cannabis is still federally illegal, many dispensaries only accept cash.
Here are our top 3 favorites in Fort Collins:
Located just North of Old Town, Infinite Wellness has fair prices, a large selection, and incredibly helpful staff. The environment is chill and low key, an ideal neighborhood one-stop pot shop. A local favorite.
For those who may be a little timid of the cannabis culture, Organic Alternatives has more of a doctor’s office feel. With contemporary interior design and calm music, you will check in with the receptionist, then wait to be called by a very knowledgeable team member. Located in the middle of Old Town; highly recommend for first time users.
Located in South Fort Collins, Natural Alternatives is about a 10-15 minute drive from Old Town. With an incredible selection, super-friendly staff, they are the closest dispensary to Loveland, CO. Check out their weekly specials with a discount on selected strain each week!
No matter what the occasion, we’re here for you to enjoy both Northern Colorado and legal cannabis. Can’t wait see you; high-five!
The Solarium International Hostel
What have you experienced in Colorado cannabis tourism?