COLORADO: Officials encourage responsible marijuana use during 4/20 celebrations
Special to the Plaindealer
On Sunday, April 20, marijuana enthusiasts will be able to legally enjoy and celebrate the unofficial holiday dedicated to cannabis.
Now that Coloradans and tourists can legally participate in the recreational consumption of marijuana and celebrate at the many events that will take place statewide, patrons are being encouraged to be informed and abide by state laws and partake in any activities responsibly.
“State agencies, local governments, the marijuana industry and others have worked hard since the passage of Amendment 64 to ensure that Colorado remains a safe, healthy place to live,” said Andrew Freedman, Director of Marijuana Coordination for the State of Colorado. “It’s also important that all Coloradans and visitors to our state know what’s legal and what’s not. We encourage everyone to be safe this weekend and act responsibly.”
The Colorado departments of Transportation (CDOT), Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE), Revenue (DOR), Human Services (DHS), Public Safety (DPS) and the Governor’s office are reminding people that while marijuana may be legal, there are certain restrictions that must be followed for safety reasons.
- 21+, No Exceptions. You must be age 21 or older to buy, possess or use retail marijuana. And it’s a felony to give or sell recreational marijuana to minors.
- Drive High, Get a DUI. It is illegal to consume marijuana on public roadways, and any amount of marijuana use can put you at risk for a DUI. There is an open container law for marijuana. It must be sealed and not in the passenger area of a vehicle.
- Keep it in Colorado. It is illegal to take marijuana across Colorado state lines. And Denver International Airport prohibits possession, use, display and transfer of marijuana on its property.
- Not in Public, Please. Marijuana cannot be consumed in public. This includes indoor and outdoor restaurants and bars, concert venues, sidewalks, parks, schools, playgrounds and sporting venues.
- Keep Kids Safe. Avoid use of marijuana, in any form, around children. To avoid accidents, all marijuana-containing products should be clearly labeled, stored in a child-resistant container and locked in a cabinet.
“Similar to other major events, law enforcement will be out in large numbers ensuring that the public is complying with our new laws,” said Col. Scott Hernandez, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “For example, Colorado has nearly 215 law enforcement officers highly trained in the detection of impairment by drugs, including cannabis. And their main goal is to keep impaired drivers off our roads.”
Like alcohol, there is an established impairment level in Colorado of five nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the psychoactive component of marijuana—per milliliter of whole blood. But unlike alcohol, it’s uncertain how much a person can consume and still be under the legal limit, which is why it’s best to stay off the road when or after consuming.
“Just last month, we launched a marijuana impaired driving campaign called ‘Drive High, Get a DUI,’ because research showed us that many regular marijuana users were not aware Colorado’s DUI laws included marijuana,” said Amy Ford, CDOT Communications Director. “For 4/20, we’ll be stationed outside the Cannabis Cup sharing information on marijuana impaired driving and alternate modes of transportation. We want to equip attendees with knowledge that will help them make the right choice and stay DUI-free.”
Since recreational marijuana stores first opened, Colorado has continued to develop marijuana laws and regulations. In March, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law a marijuana safe-packaging bill that enhances protection for children by requiring marijuana products be sold in child-resistant, opaque, re-sealable packaging, bringing medical marijuana regulations in alignment with retail marijuana regulations.
The State of Colorado recently launched a new website to answer common questions about the legalization of retail marijuana. Coloradans and tourists are encouraged to visit www.colorado.gov/marijuana to get the facts on the new law and health effects of marijuana.