Traveling to Colorado: What Cannabis Users Need to Know
As more and more states introduce legal medical and adult use recreational marijuana, the regulations for traveling with cannabis products can be complicated. Even with a registered medical marijuana card, cannabis is not permitted on airplanes (in federal airspace) and may be considered unlawful possession when driving through certain states. Though each state has varying laws about qualifying health conditions for medical cannabis, the substance remains a schedule I narcotic at the federal level.
When traveling to a legal state like Colorado, you should plan to purchase your medication from a licensed dispensary upon arrival.
On the Road
If you are road-tripping to or from Colorado, plan to purchase cannabis when you arrive. Although most states where medical marijuana is legal allow you to transport sealed containers of product in the trunk of your car, this is not the case for crossing state lines, no matter the neighboring state’s laws. Colorado cannabis is only legal in the state of Colorado.
Know the laws in the states through which you will be driving to avoid breaking these laws. Cannabis remains illegal in several states surrounding Colorado, including Nebraska and Kansas. Texas, Utah and Wyoming only allow low-THC products for medical use and qualifying conditions are quite restricted. You also must properly register for these programs to qualify for protection from the law.
Never bring cannabis on a bus or train traveling through a prohibited state; doing so could result in an arrest for federal drug trafficking, which can be a felony offense. If you are only traveling through states where medical marijuana is legal and are a registered patient of that state, be sure to carry your state medical cannabis card with you at all times. Colorado allows for the display of this document on a digital device such as a phone, so save a copy to your local device.
In the Air
Possession of marijuana and cannabis (THC) infused products, such as edibles, concentrates or flower, is illegal under federal law. TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law, including possession of marijuana and cannabis infused products, to local law enforcement. It is unlawful to possess marijuana or cannabis products at Denver International Airport, though it is lawful to carry these types of products in the state of Colorado. TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers. Accordingly, TSA security officers do not specifically search for marijuana, but in the event a substance that appears to be marijuana or a cannabis infused product is observed during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer. Flying with cannabis can carry a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine for a first-time offense. Cannabis, whether medical or for adult use (recreational), is not currently permitted in checked luggage.
Out of State Medical Cards in Colorado
Colorado medical marijuana is only accessible to those who are residents of Colorado and possess a Colorado Medical Marijuana Recommendation that has been registered with the Colorado Department of Health & Environment (CDPHE). Those who have cannabis recommendations from another state cannot access our medical program.
But don’t worry! Just like you could be prescribed ibuprofen or purchase it over the counter, the adult use market (recreational) is seeing a large increase in products that are designed to be more therapeutic than recreational. This includes products of varying potency, cannabinoid profiles, application methods and more.
Buying Cannabis in Colorado
Once you arrive, you can purchase Colorado cannabis at any licensed dispensary. While you do not need a medical marijuana card in Colorado to do so, you will still need a valid form of identification proving you are over the age of 21. You do not have to register or store any of your personal information with a dispensary to purchase cannabis, but they may verify your ID with a simple QR code reader.
Most dispensaries only take cash, and many have ATMs on site for your convenience. The Infinite Wellness Center is proud to accept all debit and credit cards with no added convenience fee.
Don’t be fooled by online sellers or in-person transactions – the only legal cannabis transactions in the state of Colorado occur inside of a licensed facility that will double check your ID, provide tested products and collect sales tax.
Out of state visitors (and out of country visitors) have the same purchase and possession limits as an adult resident of Colorado, up to one ounce with equivalency per transaction. If you are a casual user, an eighth (3.5 grams, normally $25) should be plenty to last you through a weekend, and you may want to try a few grams of different strains while you’re here.
After the dispensary staff checks your ID, you will be able to view the items they are selling. Don’t expect a traditional retail experience here, every dispensary is configured a little bit different. The Infinite Wellness Center has hundreds of cannabis products to choose from, but our highly trained staff, deli style service and detailed menu are here to navigate through the variety.
It can help to have a few things in mind concerning how you’d like your experience to go. For example, Indica strains tend to make you sleepy, while a Sativa strain is more energizing. Most commercially available strains are a hybrid of the two.
Keep in mind that the travel restrictions will also apply on your return trip, so if you will be leaving the state you should plan to consume everything you buy while you’re still in Colorado. For this reason, it makes sense to start small for your first purchase; you can always go back for more!
Adult Use? I’ve Heard “Recreational”
Cannabis is a unique product that still has unknown effects on the human body, specifically the endocannabinoid system. Because of this, many new therapies are being tested and experimented with for medical purposes. The restrictive nature of the medical program in the state of Colorado creates many consumers who use the drug therapeutically instead of for casual enjoyment. This is why we use the term Adult Use, as it is not “medical” (not prescribed by a doctor) but is being used medicinally.
The Difference Between Medical & Adult Use (Recreational) Cannabis
Colorado currently has two forms of lawful cannabis: Medical and Adult Use. The products on both sides are strikingly similar, are made from the same starting ingredients and have the same effects. So what’s the difference? Tax, potency and purchase limits.
Adult use cannabis products incur an excise tax that is levied against the starting material used to produce them, which is 15% of the market value, per pound. This cost is added on to the product by the time it gets to the consumer, in addition to the 15% recreational tax. Additionally, local county and city sales tax are added, which is 4.4% in the city of Fort Collins, totalling 19.4%. Medical products do not incur the 15% excise tax, and are only subject to the standard Fort Collins sales tax (state, county & city) of 7.4%.
Potencies are restricted in the adult use edible market to 100mg of THC per package and 10mg THC per dose. This baseline has been established by the Marijuana Enforcement Division of Colorado, which is a body of our law enforcement. Medical products have no such limitation on potency, and our highest strength products typically reach 500mg per package with 50mg per serving.
Purchase limits are where medical and adult use really differentiate. While adults over the age of 21 can purchase up to an ounce per day with equivalency, medical patients in Fort Collins can purchase their recommended limit every seven days and have no equivalency restrictions. Typically, this is two ounces, but it can be extended for patients with conditions requiring larger amounts of cannabis for treatment.
Cannabis Dispensaries in Colorado
If you are not sure where to start, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Staff members are trained to help beginners understand the types of cannabis products available, assisting them in choosing the best options for their needs. Our team recognizes our role as industry ambassadors to countless visitors, and we offer a judgement free and educational environment no matter your purchase size or amount of questions. If it is your first time, let the budtenders know! You will find they will be excited to assist you rather than judgmental about your inexperience.
Our unique deli style service will let you inspect products before purchase, but we are unable to provide samples of any nature by law. Flower can be inspected in the jar, concentrates opened and reviewed, and serving size of edibles demonstrated directly in front of you. This gives the best possible experience and avoids issues once you are ready to consume. Infinite Wellness takes this extra step as state law dictates that all sales are final, and we cannot accept back products that contain THC.
Your budtender will help package and label your purchase after you are finished assembling your order, and bag it as necessary. All of our products in store do not require additional packaging in an effort to reduce our impact on the environment wherever possible. The packaging prevents you from violating open container laws when leaving the dispensary, but you’ll need to make sure it is out of reach in your vehicle as well.
Cannabis is a service industry, so just like a good waiter or bartender remember to leave a tip for good service. Our staff dedicates their careers to pursuing the best knowledge and experience possible to provide you with an elevated experience.
If you are staying in a non-smoking hotel room, you may want to opt for an odorless option like edibles or an oil vape pen. Check out our list of cannabis friendly locations in Norther Colorado.
Using Cannabis in Colorado
Although anyone over 21 can purchase and use cannabis without a medical marijuana card in Colorado, restrictions still apply. It is lawful to gift excess cannabis to an adult over the age of 21, but you cannot ask for any retribution in any way, shape or form (money, “donation”, services, trade, etc.). Do not give marijuana to a minor or consume it in national parks and other federal areas. Also ensure you are not driving under the influence of cannabis. Open containers are not permitted in your vehicle, so keep product under wraps until you are safe, in a private location – we typically recommend the trunk.
First-time users should start slowly, particularly with hard-hitting edibles. Ask the dispensary staff advice on the best dosage for the product you choose to avoid a negative experience.
Visit Infinite Wellness in Colorado
While in town, swing by the Fort Collins area to visit the friendly, knowledgeable staff at Infinite Wellness. Contact us to learn more about our diverse selection of medical and recreational cannabis products.