Recreational marijuana is legal here in Colorado, along with a few other states, including California, Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Maine, and Massachusetts.

If you’re itching to head into the wilderness for some hiking, fishing, or camping this summer, you may be planning to bring some marijuana with you.

But even though it’s legal to possess and consume marijuana in our state, there are still federal rules regarding how, when and where you can use it.

There are also considerations for using marijuana in Colorado parks too. So before you hit the open road to explore the beauty that our state and national parks have to offer, make sure you know the rules for marijuana usage in National Parks.

Reefer Rules

You can purchase, possess, and consume weed products in Colorado with the following stipulations:

  • You must be 21 years old and have a government ID as proof of age
  • You can legally purchase up to 1 ounce at a time
  • You can only purchase from a licensed marijuana retailer
  • You cannot possess more than 1 ounce at a time

These rules apply to edibles too.

Pot in Parks

When it comes to using marijuana in parks, whether it be a public park in town, state park or a National Park, the rules are simple: marijuana usage in public places is illegal.

National Parks and Forests are federal land, so the rules are even more stringent.

All federal laws apply within the boundaries of National Parks, and those laws forbid the possession or usage of marijuana.

The same goes for National Monuments or any area that’s on federal land or considered federal property.

Marijuana and Skiing

One thing that may come as a surprise is that most ski areas and resorts in Colorado are on federal land. That means federal laws concerning marijuana apply to ski areas, too.

Since 2009, over 25,000 people have been cited for possession of marijuana on federal land. This is technically punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $5,000 fine, although most typically end up with a fee of a few hundred dollars.

Your Marijuana Rights

If you’re stopped and are in possession of marijuana, it’s important you protect yourself by knowing your rights.

You can’t be searched without probably cause. However, a ranger or officer can use the smell of weed (or perceived smell) as probable cause.

The New York Times found many cases of police lying about having smelled weed to establish probable cause for a search.

You aren’t legally required to consent to a search, or to admit anything.

If a ranger or officer claims probable cause and searches you anyway, you will be in better legal standing if you didn’t comply to the search.

In the Car

It’s legal to have possession of marijuana in your car, as long as your car isn’t on federal land. Additionally, you can't transport your weed across state borders. Be aware of this especially if you are in a National Park that overlaps state boundaries.

If you have marijuana in your car, you must keep it in a sealed container.

It’s illegal to consume marijuana in your car or to drive under the influence. The legal limit is 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood.

A blood test can check this, and refusal to submit to a test can lead to your license being taken away. There are also new technologies being worked on to test THC levels on the spot.

The smartest choice is to stay out from behind the wheel if you’re going to use marijuana.

Alternative Options

Looking for legal ways to enjoy cannabis and the great outdoors together?

Given the restriction of using marijuana in both Colorado State and National Parks, there’s a new trend of privately owned weed-friendly camping areas. These spots are cropping up all over the state.

Some options include CanyonSide Campground and Wilderness Bud & Breakfast.

Similarly, there are a number of hotels around the state that allow marijuana usage.

If you aren’t sure if a hotel or campsite allows marijuana, call ahead in advance and double check.

If you’re charged with illegal cannabis possession in any state or National Park, contact an attorney immediately. Depending on your case, the full attention of a private attorney can help get your case dropped or your punishment minimized.

Contact us if you need legal advice or representation for marijuana-related charges >

Contact Rogers & Moss for your free, no-risk, consultation.