Many people think of Colorado as the home of US weed, with its prosperous cannabis farms and booming weed industry. Colorado was one of the first states to legalize pot and helped to pave the way for future changes across the country.
But while you might know Colorado for pushing boundaries and leading the cannabis industry, there are still several places within the state where weed cannot be sold. This is a fact that often surprises tourists who visit Colorado to experience its thriving weed culture, only to find that over half of the state still does not allow weed for sale.
Let’s take a look at the counties in Colorado where you will not find weed for sale.
Weed Laws in Colorado
As of 2012, recreational weed became legal in the state of Colorado. The state passed Amendment 64 in December 2012 and made the sale and use of marijuana legal for the very first time.
Under Colorado state law, growing, selling, and using cannabis is legal; however, each county can set its own rules as to whether it is for sale. Within Amendment 64, there are specific laws outlining each county’s power to control the sale of recreational weed within its borders.
Cannabis sales within Colorado fall into two categories: Medical and recreational. To purchase medical cannabis, you must first qualify for a medical marijuana card. On the other hand, anyone who is over the age of 21 can acquire recreational marijuana.
The legality of cannabis sales gets even more complicated when you break it down to the town level. Incorporated towns can set their own rules as to whether weed can be sold. This means that cities such as Aurora have decided to allow sales, despite being in both the Arapahoe and Douglas counties where sales are banned.
Even in counties where weed can be sold, there is often confusion with regard to the limitations that are placed on sales. Amendment 64 set limits on the opening times of establishments that sell weed. Stores cannot open before 8 am and must close before midnight.
Each county has the power to limit opening hours further as long as they still fall within the state’s restrictions from 8 am to midnight. For example, in Denver, stores that sell weed must close before 7:30 pm.
Where Can You Buy Weed in Colorado?
There are a total of 64 counties in Colorado, and surprisingly only 25 allow weed for recreational purposes. This number is slightly higher for medical cannabis businesses, with 28 counties allowing medical cannabis.
The three top destinations for tourists heading to Colorado in order to try some of the state’s most excellent weed are Denver, Boulder, and Aurora. All three of these cities have dispensaries around almost every corner, living up to what most people imagine when they think of Colorado’s weed industry.
Most of the touristy mountain towns that are known as being skiing hot spots do not allow the sale of weed. The exact reason for this is unknown, but it has led to tourists flocking to local towns where they can legally buy marijuana during their ski trips.
Douglas County has attempted to find a balance, and while it does not allow weed for sale, it has legalized the possession and consumption of marijuana.
Every county and even every town has its specific laws regarding weed, making it somewhat of a minefield for tourists.
Where Can You Smoke Weed in Colorado?
Colorado law does not distinguish between residents and visitors, meaning that as long as you are visiting one of the counties where it is legal for weed to be sold, you have the same purchase rights as locals. All that you require is some form of ID to prove that you are over the age of 21, making the process almost identical to buying alcohol.
It is still illegal to consume weed in public places within the state of Colorado. For residents, restrictions on where they can enjoy marijuana are very rarely a problem, as the consumption of weed within your own home is legal.
However, landlords do have the right to include terms in tenancy agreements that prohibit the use of weed.
Tourists do not have such a lenient way to light up in Colorado. Most hotels have strict rules in place that prohibit you from taking marijuana while on the property. This means that even if you do plan a trip to a county that allows the sale of marijuana, or might find yourself with nowhere to enjoy it.
Final Thoughts on Counties in Colorado that Do Not Sell Weed
Purchasing and consuming within Colorado can quickly become confusing, especially for tourists who are not familiar with local laws. It is important to remember that there are three different sets of laws at play: Federal law, state law, and county law. Each set of rules places various restrictions on where weed can be sold and how it can be consumed.
Before heading to Colorado, it is worth doing a little research into your exact location. A few quick Google searches could help you to avoid heading home with a fine or worse having to travel for miles to find a legal store.