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Colorado Cannabis Sales Climb as Consumption Laws Confound

By Hal M. Bundrick

NEW YORK (MainStreet) It's now easier to buy recreational marijuana in Colorado than it is in Amsterdam, where sales are against the law though infractions are rarely enforced. The challenge may be finding a legal place to consume your cannabis. The marijuana buds, spliffs, candies, pastries, soaps and lotions are readily available, but usage is carefully restricted.

Colorado residents 21 and older can purchase and possess up to one ounce of retail marijuana while non-residents can purchase up to a quarter ounce at a time.

As of now, consumers might be best advised to partake in their pot inside their homes or at selected hotels with designated smoking rooms. But be careful about bringing it out on the terrace or porch. Visible public consumption is still illegal.

According to the official City of Denver website, pot use is prohibited on public transportation, including light rail and transit facilities, as well as in amusement parks, music venues, parks, playgrounds, bars, restaurants and "outdoor and rooftop cafes." And the law disallows the creation of "social clubs" or blunt-friendly "coffee shops."

And there is no distinction made as to whether your recreational use involves smoking, eating, sniffing, sucking, chewing, drinking or rubbing.

You can't consume it in a car, taxi or limousine, though you can carry up to an ounce of it in the vehicle; just don't take it across the state line. And don't bring your brownie bag to the airport, either -- Denver International has some of the most stringent possession regulations in the nation. Forget about trying to mail a goodie box home, too.

It seems recreational marijuana is best played by home gamers.

"On residential private property, retail marijuana consumption in any outdoor location is illegal unless the person is the property owner or lessee or has been granted express or implied permission by the property owner or lessee," the City of Denver website says. "On private non-residential property, marijuana consumption is illegal in any outdoor location if it is clearly visible from a public place."

Each Colorado municipality has its own regulations affecting cannabis consumption, so local laws may vary.

Meanwhile, Washington State has also legalized the use of recreational marijuana and is expected to allow retail sales later this year.

Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet