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Marijuana prosecution and immunity in emergency situations

Despite recreational marijuana's legal status in Colorado, it is still unlawful for individuals under the age of 21 to possess or consume marijuana.

Under normal circumstances, those who violate this offense could be charged with an unclassified petty offense. However, emergency situations can boost a minor immunity to serious criminal prosecution.


More about immunity in emergencies

Colorado law includes provisions that are meant to encourage minors to contact the authorities in some specific emergency situations without fear of prosecution for a petty marijuana offense.

An underage person is granted immunity from criminal prosecution for the consumption of marijuana or for possessing marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia if he or she:

  • Calls 911 to report that another underage marijuana user may need medical attention due to marijuana consumption;
  • Gives their name to a 911 operator and he or she was the first person to make the 911 report;
  • Stays with the underage user being reported until assistance arrives;
  • Cooperates with medical professionals and/or authorities at the scene.

In these types of emergency situations, it is important that underage individuals are aware of their rights to ensure that responders can provide medical attention to those who need it.

Underage charges

Those who possess or consume marijuana under the age of 21 can face a fine up to $100 or a court-order completion of a substance abuse education course on a first offense. Subsequent offenses may result in heightened fines and added community service hours.

If your son or daughter is facing marijuana charges after an emergency situation, talking to an attorney to learn more about legal options available is a good first step.

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