Colorado Marijuana Law

November 2012, the State of Colorado passed Colorado Amendment 64 which allows adults 21 or older to grow up to six marijuana plants, as well as possess up to one ounce of marijuana. 

Vail Police are educating the public on responsible marijuana use, the consequences of breaking the law, regulations governing recreational marijuana use, and the legal and health risks of marijuana.  

Related Ordinances Adopted by the Town of Vail

Vail Town Code Modification Regarding Possession, Consumption and other Aspects Related to Provisions of Amendment 64
Ordinance No. 2, Series 2013, approved on Feb. 5, 2013

Temporary Moratorium Banning Retail Marijuana Establishments
Ordinance No. 3, Series 2013, approved on  Jan. 15, 2013
Ordinance No. 9, Series 2013, approved on July 16, 2013


Q. What is Colorado’s Marijuana Law?
A.  In November 2012, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64. The amendment became law on Dec. 10, 2012. According to the law, adults 21 and older can possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants privately.

Q. Where can I consume marijuana legally?
A.  Consumption of marijuana may be allowed in private locations providing it is not prohibited by the property owner. The open or public consumption of marijuana is not allowed in the following locations: public ways, streets, sidewalks, alleys, bicycle paths, trails, golf courses, public buildings, parks, open spaces, parking lots, shopping centers, places of business usually open to the general public, and automobiles or other vehicles located on public property or public right of way.  Generally, anytime a person in public or outside a private residence can see another person consuming marijuana, it is a violation.

Q. Can I consume marijuana on Vail Mountain?
A. No. Marijuana continues to be illegal under federal law. Consequently, consumption of marijuana on U.S. Forest Service land, including Vail Mountain and much of the land surrounding Vail, is illegal under federal law. In addition, Vail Mountain does not permit the consumption of marijuana in or on any of its lifts, facilities or premises under its control. Using ski facilities under the influence of drugs or alcohol is against the law and a violation of the Colorado Ski Safety Act. Those found in violation of the Colorado Ski Safety Act risk losing their skiing and snowboarding privileges and, upon conviction, are subject to a fine of up to $1,000.

Q. Where can I purchase marijuana legally?
A. State regulations have been enacted that allow for retail sales to begin Jan. 1, 2014 by licensed providers. There are no licensed retail marijuana outlets in the Town of Vail. Unlicensed transactions, including selling marijuana to another person for a price, is illegal.

Q. What are some guidelines to help me use marijuana responsibly?
A.  Responsible choices for recreational marijuana use are similar to those for alcohol. If you choose to consume marijuana, please do so responsibly, safely and prudently:
1.Be well informed about the legal and health risks of marijuana use.
2.Respect the rights of individuals who do not wish to be exposed to marijuana smoke.
3.Appoint a designated driver if you are under the influence.
4.Obey the laws and regulations governing recreational marijuana.

Q.  What other legislation extends regulation of smoking in Vail?
A.  Vail Code 5-4-2 defines smoking as “the lighting of any cigarette, cigar or pipe, or the possession of any lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, regardless of its composition. Vail Code 5-4-1 states, “Because the smoking of tobacco or any other weed or plant is a danger to health and is a cause of material annoyance and discomfort to those who are present in confined areas, the Town Council hereby finds, determines and declares it is necessary and beneficial to the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare.  State law prohibits smoking in any public building and within 15 feet of the main entrance to any business.  County ordinance prohibits smoking in any chair lift/gondola line or bar/restaurant patio area.

Q. What is the penalty for violating marijuana possession or consumption laws in Vail?
A. The general penalties are as follows, with certain limited exceptions:  A person who possesses not more than 2 ounces of marijuana commits a petty offense, punishable by a fine not more than $100.  A person who openly and publicly displays, consumes or uses 2 ounces or less of marijuana commits a petty offense, punishable by a fine of up to $100 and up to 24 hours of community service.  A person who openly and publicly displays, consumes or uses, or possesses, more than 2 ounces of marijuana, but less than 12 ounces of marijuana commits a misdemeanor.  A person who possesses more than 12 ounces of marijuana commits a felony.

Q. How will Colorado’s marijuana law impact my vacation experience in Vail?
A. Given the consumption restrictions which prohibit use in all public places, Vail’s family-friendly focus will thrive without interruption. Guests should expect the same premier vacation experience they’ve come to expect.  

Vail Police
General Information