Many visitors to Colorado have questions about traveling with marijuana in the car. Where can I put it? Can the passengers smoke? Here's a bit of insight into Colorado's laws on bringing marijuana into your automobile.
First off, much of the legal language applies to an 'open container' of marijuana. Colorado law defines an 'open container' of marijuana in the context of motor vehicles as follows:
“OPEN MARIJUANA CONTAINER" MEANS A RECEPTACLE OR MARIJUANA ACCESSORY THAT CONTAINS ANY AMOUNT OF MARIJUANA AND:
(I) THAT IS OPEN OR HAS A BROKEN SEAL;
(II) THE CONTENTS OF WHICH ARE PARTIALLY REMOVED; OR
(III) THERE IS EVIDENCE THAT MARIJUANA HAS BEEN CONSUMED WITHIN THE MOTOR VEHICLE.
Clearly this is an ambiguous definition, as containers of marijuana come in many forms. Defining “open container” as it pertains to alcohol is pretty easy, but what constitutes “open container” for marijuana? For example, your buddy gives you 1/4oz in a zip lock baggy. Is that an open container? Since the definition is clearly open to a wide range of interpretations, we recommend taking a conservative view of the law. The last thing you want is some anti-marijuana cop crusader to issue you a ticket for his lame interpretation of what “open container’ means.
Here are some tips on staying legal while driving with marijuana:
No passengers in a car can legally consume marijuana, period. This applies to persons in either the front or back seating areas.
You can't keep your open container of marijuana anywhere in the “passenger area” of the vehicle. Don’t put it in the glove compartment, as that is also considered a “passenger area”, as well as any area of the vehicle that is readily accessible by the driver or passengers.
Be safe, put any marijuana in the trunk of your vehicle. If the vehicle doesn't have a trunk, the law allows you to place the pot behind the last upright seat in the vehicle.
If you get busted, you'll get a Class A traffic infraction. The fine isn't too bad, only $50. The real damage is having a drug infraction on your record, which can show up on future employment background checks.
There are a few exceptions to the law. You are allowed to consume marijuana in the back of a privately hired vehicle, such as a limo. Also, for RV's you are allowed to travel with open containers, as long as they're located in the living quarters of the RV and not the passenger areas.
So to reiterate, the best plan for traveling with weed in Colorado is to put it in the trunk, or if there is no trunk, behind the last seat. Happy Safe Travels!