Say hello to Meg, Colorado’s trusted budtender. She’s here to educate adults 21+ on marijuana laws, its effects, and how to use it responsibly. Make sure you play by these rules each and every time you use.
Take it from Meg the budtender — responsible marijuana use is the only way to fly. So let’s set the bar high and understand why we all have a responsibility in using marijuana safely and respectfully. Follow along for Meg’s tips and advice.
People around you have a right to fresh air, so never light up in a public space. Not only is it against the law, but you’re also exposing people to unwanted secondhand smoke -- definitely not cool. Instead, remember that it’s perfectly legal to smoke in your own home or on your own property. Just keep in mind that property owners, landlords, and rental companies can ban the use and possession of marijuana on their premises.
Did you know it can take up to four hours for an edible to take effect? While it can be tempting to go in for another one while you’re waiting for a high to hit, just chill out and have some patience. Using too much can lead to anxiety, hallucinations, and paranoia -- not a fun time. The standard serving size is 10 mg of THC, so don’t take more than that to start. Edibles can have a different effect depending on how often you use marijuana.
Kids, pets, or even curious visitors can get into marijuana if it’s not locked up and out of sight. It’s always best to keep marijuana in the child-resistant packaging from the retailer, and invest in a safe or lockbox to ensure the only person who can get to your marijuana is you. Because even as your kids get older, it’s important to keep your stash locked away safe and sound.
If a child accidentally eats marijuana in any form, immediately contact a medical professional or call the poison control hotline (1-800-222-1222). You may know if someone has accidentally used marijuana if he has problems walking or sitting up, difficulty breathing and becoming sleepy. If the reaction seems more severe, call 911 or go to an emergency room right away.
Using marijuana and alcohol at the same time can impair you more than using either one alone. It's never a good idea to use them together. Also, if you’re taking prescription drugs, be sure to ask your doctor if it’s safe to use marijuana.
Whether you’re trying marijuana for the first time or you’re an old pro, there is such a thing as too much marijuana. That’s why it’s important to understand how marijuana affects you and know your limits. Signs that you’ve had too much can include extreme confusion, anxiety, paranoia, panic, fast heart rate, delusions or hallucinations, increased blood pressure, and severe nausea or vomiting. Not a good time.
If you’re new to marijuana and are unsure how it will affect you, start with a low dose. For edibles, a serving is 10 mg. Dabbing and hash oil products use highly concentrated THC with potency up to 80% and shouldn’t be used by anyone who hasn’t used marijuana in the past.
Driving while you’re under the influence of marijuana is illegal and dangerous to yourself and others on the road. You can be charged with a DUI and are subject to the same penalties as driving drunk. In Colorado, you can’t drive if you have five nanograms or more of THC in your system. Make the right choice by planning to wait several hours if you’re going to drive. So if you’re smoking, wait six hours before driving. If you’re having edibles, wait eight hours.
Even though marijuana is nice and legal here, it’s totally illegal to take or mail it out of Colorado. Carrying marijuana is also banned at all Colorado airports, so if you’re flying out of town, make sure you leave your marijuana at home.
Not only is sharing marijuana with people under 21 against the law, it can hurt their health, get them in trouble, and put their future goals at risk. You could be charged with a felony if you share with anyone under age, even if they’re family members or friends.
There’s still a lot to learn about the effects of marijuana, but here’s what we do know:
MARIJUANA AND YOUR LUNGS
Smoke irritates the lungs. People who smoke marijuana daily or near-daily may have a daily cough, bronchitis, mucus and wheezing. Marijuana smoke contains the same cancer-causing chemicals as tobacco smoke. Heavy marijuana smoking has been linked with tissue damage in the lungs, although we need more research to determine if this tissue damage increases the chances of developing lung cancer.
MARIJUANA AND YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Daily or near-daily use of marijuana can have a negative effect on your memory. Marijuana, especially in high doses, can cause hallucinations, paranoia and not knowing what’s real.
Secondhand smoke from marijuana has many of the same cancer-causing chemicals as secondhand smoke from tobacco. Never smoke around children, pregnant women or anyone who doesn't want to be exposed to secondhand smoke.
MARIJUANA’S HEALTH EFFECTS ON YOUTH
Youth who use marijuana regularly are more likely to have difficulty learning, memory issues, and lower math and reading scores. Visit our Youth Health Effects section for more information.
If you’re visiting Colorado and plan to use marijuana, follow Meg the budtender's tips to make sure your good time is also a legal and safe experience.
In Colorado, adults 21 and older can buy and have up to one ounce of marijuana at a time. Dispensaries, which are licensed retail locations where budtenders like Meg work, are the only legal places to purchase marijuana. So that means it’s also illegal for you to re-sell marijuana. To read more about the laws you need to know to safely, legally and responsibly use marijuana, click here.
Before you use marijuana, find out if it’s cool to use where you’re staying. Many hotels don’t allow marijuana on their property, so check with them first before using because it could be illegal. Marijuana is also not allowed in any public space in Colorado. If you’re renting a car, know that it’s illegal to drive high and to use marijuana in a vehicle, even as a passenger. Many rental companies may even charge a fee if the car smells like marijuana -- and fees stink.
Even though marijuana is legal in Colorado, it’s illegal to take or mail it out of state. Don’t mess around, just keep it here. Carrying marijuana is also banned at all Colorado airports, so if you’re visiting make sure you have properly thrown away any marijuana before you leave. When getting rid of marijuana, use a secured container and place it in a safe place that’s out of reach from children, like a dumpster. Never leave marijuana in hotel rooms or rental cars, because you could be charged additional fees, or it could fall into the hands of a minor.