The act removed state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess written documentation from their physician affirming that he or she suffers from a debilitating condition and advising that they “might benefit from the medical use of marijuana.” (Patients must possess this documentation prior to an arrest.)
Conditions Approved for Use of Medical Marijuana in Colorado
- HIV/AIDS positive
- Severe pain
- Severe nausea
- Seizures, including those that are characteristic of epilepsy
- Persistent muscle spasms, including those that are characteristic of multiple sclerosis
- Other conditions are subject to approval by the Colorado Board of Health
Cannabis Quantities Allowed
- Possession: patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess no more than two ounces of a usable form of marijuana
- Cultivation: patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess no more than six marijuana plants, with three or fewer being mature flowering plants that are producing a usable form of marijuana.
Update 29 November 2010:
- Caregivers: The Medical Marijuana Registry program is asking for input from the public and interested parties to help draft a rule to take to the Marijuana Advisory Committee regarding primary caregivers. The proposition that the voters approved in 2000 stated that a primary caregiver must have significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a patient who has a debilitating medical condition. Medical Marijuana\25 1.5-106.pdf
- A new 2010 Colorado law requires a working definition for significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a patient. The 2010 law also states that a primary caregiver simply supplying medical marijuana itself is NOT sufficient to have significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a patient who has a debilitating medical condition.
- Comments on how to define significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a patient with a debilitating medical condition should be sent to email@example.com
- Comments will be accepted until December 3, 2010. The comments will be used at a Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for December 8 2010
- Patients who do not join the registry or who possess greater amounts of marijuana than allowed by law may argue the “affirmative defense of medical necessity” if they are arrested on marijuana charges.
Full details on how to get a medical marijuana card in Colorado.
Update November 2012:
Amendment 64 was passed in Colorado on November 6th, 2012 taking almost 55% of the vote. This makes Colorado, along with Washington, the first U.S. state to legalize and tax cannabis for recreational purposes.
Amendment 64 allows people who are over 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, over 21s will also be allowed to cultivate a maximum of 6 plants in their homes. There is also provision for a system of regulated marijuana retail stores at which marijuana could be sold which would be under a separate system from existing medical marijuana dispensaries.
It is important to note that the law cannot take effect until the Governor, John Hickenlooper, issues a proclamation certifying the vote. It is unsure when this will happen, although by law it doesn’t need to happen until January 5th 2013. Until that time it remains illegal to possess or grow cannabis in Colorado outside of the existing medical marijuana system.
Medical Marijuana card holders in Colorado remain unaffected by this legislation but are watching the situation with interest.