Updated November 24, 2021: please read the latest on Colorado marijuana laws here.
Whether you’re a visitor from elsewhere or a Colorado local, at some point you’ve probably found yourself in need of some of cannabis, or at least wondering where you can buy weed in Colorado. While it is a known fact that dispensaries outnumber Starbucks in areas like Denver and around the Mile High City it may be difficult to not stumble upon a dispensary virtually anywhere you go, that is not always the case in other areas of the state. By the time you finish reading this blog post, you’ll have a good idea of where to find weed in Colorado as well as what you may need to grab some green.
Medical Marijuana Patients
A question that is commonly fielded by cannabis industry professionals and hosts of tourists alike is: “Does my medicinal marijuana card from ‘X’ state also work in Colorado?” Well, for those who may now be wondering that themselves, the answer is a surprising, “Maybe!”
You see, as more and more states have begun to legalize cannabis throughout the country, more states have begun adopting medical marijuana-friendly legislation as to not alienate patients that may be traveling outside the boundaries of their home states. However, the aforementioned legislations may not be as black-and-white as many would hope.
For instance, in Arizona, medicinal marijuana authorizations from out of state are recognized, but patients from outside of the Grand Canyon State are not allowed to shop at state-licensed dispensaries. Conversely, states like Hawaii welcome medical marijuana patients from out-of-state with open arms by employing a registration process that allows patients to register for an electronic registration card, given they pay a small fee and provide an ID as well as their home state medical cannabis registration.
Patients can actually apply up to 60 sixty days before they even visit, allowing them to be eligible to purchase marijuana from state-licensed dispensaries the moment they touch down. Some states, such as Oklahoma, make it even easier for patients to cop some cannabis, allowing out-of-state patients to purchase medical marijuana without a fuss.
As long as your card is unexpired and comes from a state that issues “substantially equivalent” licenses, you’re legally free to visit any dispensary in the Sooner State. Something that’s important to mention, though, is that fact that accepting an out-of-state marijuana license in a state with compatible legislation is completely up to the dispensary owner. Even if you cruise up to a place like Oklahoma or DC where out-of-state licenses are legally accepted, any given dispensary can have policies in place that disallow you from utilizing their facilities, so consider calling ahead before you make the trip out to an incompatible dispensary.
For residents of Colorado who may be wanting to secure a medicinal marijuana license for themselves, the process is actually rather straightforward. Simply visit a state-licensed physician for an evaluation and if you’re seen as fit, they will recommend you for a medical marijuana license. There are many physicians in Colorado that specialize in this and a quick Google search can point you towards one. Once you have that recommendation, the physician will likely help you submit your relevant paperwork to the state for approval. This entire process typically takes 3-4 weeks at most and your application will actually serve as a temporary license for up to 35 days, allowing you to purchase from medical marijuana dispensaries right after you’ve left the physician’s office.
Unfortunately for visitors to the Centennial State, the pioneering land of the cannabis industry does not currently accept out of state medical marijuana licenses at its state licensed dispensary. Given this state’s knack from being progressive, many speculate that it’s only a matter of time before legislation that permits the acceptance of out-of-state MMJ licenses is adopted, however, there are other means of obtaining cannabis that will be outlined below.
Adult recreational use
For those who may be visiting Colorado and either possess an out-of-state medical marijuana license, or no license at all, purchasing cannabis in the Centennial State is actually quite simple, provided that you are at least 21 years of age. Unfortunately for those under drinking (or in this case, blazing) age, there are no legal means of purchasing cannabis in this state and any story one might have heard regarding a “cool” dispensary that sells to those under 21 is almost certainly fabricated. For those who are of age, however, there are a few things you may want to know about purchasing marijuana in Colorado.
First off, you’ll need an unexpired form of state or federal identification that also features a picture. Most visitors and locals alike simply use their driver’s license or a state-issued identification card but passports are also totally acceptable. If your license happens to be expired, it will not be accepted, also, if you happen to be using a temporary license or a vertical variant of a license (like most states issue to those under 21), you will likely be turned away as well.
Next, you’re probably going to want to bring cash with you. Since credit cards cannot be accepted by any dispensary in Colorado, you can’t use your card to swipe your way to securing green. However, to circumvent this, many dispensaries have ATMs on their premises so that prospective or unaware buyers can pull out cash on-site. Don’t go overboard with the cash, though, because visitors are limited to purchasing only up to a quarter-ounce of cannabis at a time.
Pro tip: you can visit multiple dispensaries over the course of one day in order to get around this limit—however, visitors are only allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana in total.
Once you’ve secured your sack, there are still some rules at play, though. For one, you cannot use or display marijuana in public. While you will certainly see other people doing exactly that, you still run the risk of being fined or even jailed for public consumption if you’re caught, depending on the circumstances. While it may be cool in theory, it probably won’t be worth it in the long run. You’re better off engaging in consumption somewhere it’s permitted and then exploring your surroundings afterwards.
Also, and perhaps most obviously, you cannot provide any cannabis or cannabis-infused product to minors or operate a vehicle while under the influence.
Wrappin’ it up
Whether you’re a visitor, local, or something in between, finding marijuana in Colorado is far from a monumental task for those that are of age. Simply plug that inquiry into a search engine and you’ll likely find a dispensary nearby, regardless of where you happen to be in the Centennial State.
Of course, if you came here looking for a push in the right direction, recreation and medicinal consumers can always obtain quality cannabis as well as a wide variety of cannabis-infused products at your nearest Buddy Boy Dispensary.