Roughly 10,000 marijuana-related arrest occur annually in the state of Colorado despite having some of the most progressive marijuana laws in the nation. The state passed Amendment 20 in 2000, which legalized using marijuana for medical purposes without the risk of a fine or jail term.
Coloradans suffering from ailments such as HIV, AID, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or any other medical condition characterized by seizures, muscle spasms or nausea can be prescribed medical marijuana to treat their conditions. Patients must register with Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Registry and apply for a medical marijuana registry ID card. Patients must also provide a statement from their physician that states how the use of medical marijuana would benefit the patient. Registered patients, or their caregivers, may possess up to two ounces of medical marijuana and can cultivate no more than 6 marijuana plants for medical purposes.
The registry received approximately 99,559 applications since it began operating in June 2001. seventy-one percent of the applicants were male, and the average applicant age is 40. More than a thousand doctors signed for patients under the registry, and 66 percent of registered patients have a caregiver. Severe pain is the most reported condition, with muscle spasms being the second most reported condition.
Non-medical use and possession of marijuana is against the law in Colorado. Penalties are contingent with the severity of the offense. Fines can range from $100 to $100,000 for possession and $100 to $1,000,000 for cultivation, sale and distribution. Jail terms can range from six months to three years for possession and 2 to 24 years for cultivation, sale and distribution.
Being a first-time offender can be a scary experience, but an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney can make the experience less stressful. Your attorney can advise you of your rights under the law and make sure you are treated fairly. Under Colorado law, first-time offenders may be eligible for diversion programs and/or an alternative sentences that could result in probation and expunging of the charge off of your record once the sentence is completed.