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 grant a minor immunity from criminal prosecution.
Immunity in emergencies
Colorado law includes provisions that are meant to encourage minors to contact the authorities in 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 (first) to report that another underage marijuana user may be in need of medical attention
- Gives their name to a 911 operator
- Stays with the underage user being reported until assistance arrives
- Cooperates with medical professionals and/or authorities at the scene
While marijuana is known for its pain-relieving qualities, has been suspected to be involved in a recent car crash. 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.
Those who possess or consume marijuana under the age of 21 can face a fine up to $100 or a court-order substance abuse education course. 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, talk to an attorney to learn more about what legal options they may be able to take.