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The 411 on 420

This is a PSA: No, Colorado universities aren’t living under a cloud of smoke, despite popular belief. However, with 420 week underway, what better time to get to know the influence our gal Mary Jane can have on the state of Colorado?

Out-of-state students attending universities in Colorado have been thrown into a culture where the laws and government regulations are brand new to us. There are specific marijuana sales and consumption laws that change not only from state to state, but also city to city. Add the vague and quite confusing differences between the federal and state laws regarding the matter, and that’s just about when you’re officially lost.

Well, have no fear collegiettes! We want to make sure, especially with all the shenanigans going on around you on 420, that you stay safe and aware of the potentiality of our friend Mary stabbing you in the back this week.

If you shouldn’t be drinking, you shouldn’t be smoking…

Remember: Marijuana and alcohol use have similar regulations. In the state of Colorado, you must be 21 or older to buy, possess and use recreational marijuana. It is also illegal to give or sell recreational marijuana to minors.

If home is where your heart is, then you should keep your weed there, too…

Retail marijuana is intended for private, personal use. It is illegal to consume, use, display, transfer, distribute, sell or grow retail marijuana in public. Don’t think too fast – in some cases it may even be illegal to do so at your own home, unless granted permission by the property owner. The same law additionally applies for edibles and other forms of marijuana.

The Light Rail is not for lighting up…

Despite decisions you have made regarding alcohol consumption on the train before, it is still against the law. The consumption of marijuana on any type of public transportation is illegal.

Does the phrase “don’t drink and drive” sound familiar?

The same goes for marijuana. Unless you want handcuffs on your wrists (save it for your significant other!) and orange to really be the new black, it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. Similar to drinking and driving, consequences can result in a DUI or a jail sentence. 

Leaving Colorado and thinking about making a run for it back home with some memorabilia? Yeah, you won’t get far…

The Denver International Airport prohibits possession, use, display and transfer of all marijuana use on its property. It is illegal to take marijuana across any state line.

Federal and State laws are the same thing, right?

Wrong. When the two laws conflict, Federal has the big guns. In fact, states like Colorado, where marijuana has been legalized for recreational purposes, are exactly where the two butt heads. The tricky part is, since the production and taxing of marijuana must all take place within the same state without involving the Feds, that prevents these businesses from being able to put money in credit unions (which are federally regulated).

Can I get marijuana at any dispensary in Colorado?

Well, you’ve heard us mention recreational marijuana. This is different than medicinal marijuana. Basically, recreational dispensaries aren’t trying to cure your glaucoma. There are many suburbs of Denver, such as Greeley or Colorado Springs that ban recreational dispensaries. Medicinal marijuana requires a physician’s recommendation and has separate dispensary outlets.

In all seriousness collegiettes… This is the law, and it’s crucial to be aware of these changes and remain smart regarding the matter, especially for students new to Colorado. It’s hard, however, to understand something so new and compound. Marijuana law, with all its obvious complexities, is further altering our school academically. The University of Denver is the first institution to add the pot business to its law school curriculum, offering its first class called “Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform.”  

That being said, don’t go too far – Her Campus DU is going to keep you up to date on an evolving business that might be changing more than just our curriculum.


Lindsey Miller is a University of Denver sophomore majoring in Strategic Communications and minoring in Professional Writing. She is the campus correspondent of Her Campus DU, which she co-founded in March 2015. Lindsey can see herself taking her career in many directions, but of course hopes she will be writing wherever and whatever that may be.
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