What You Need to Know About Purchasing Recreational Marijuana in Colorado On New Year’s Day

Recreational marijuana available in Colorado on New Year's Day | Cannabis Now Magazine

Here in the mile high city, there a perceptible buzz in the air (pun always intended), because recreational marijuana goes on sale January 1st and with the clock counting down, it seems all eyes are on Colorado.

While the country is awash in rumors about the upcoming changes, I have sifted through the state legislation, news segments and stoner blogs to give you a realistic view of what “going recreational” will really mean.

Will Recreational Weed Be More Expensive?

Currently, the only way to legally purchase marijuana is with a medical registry card. Costs include a doctor’s visit and consultation, application fee and certified mailing cost. Doctor’s visits average about $75 depending on the doctor and location. Currently the application fee is $35. (The fee was lowered from $110 on June 1, 2007, and was again lowered from $90 on January 1, 2012.) The first hearing for an additional reduction in fee cost will take place on December 17th, 2013. Certified mailing typically ranges from $3-$6.

This means medical marijuana cards total just over $100 before any marijuana purchases are made and cards need to be renewed annually.

While many current patients are excited about the prospect of avoiding the doctor, we now know there will be a hefty tax associated with recreational marijuana. Colorado passed Proposition AA on November 5th of this year, creating a 15 percent excise tax on the wholesale price and an initial 10 percent sales tax on the retail price. Some cities have added a local tax; Boulder for example is imposing a 5 percent excise tax and a 3.5 percent sales tax on top of the newly created recreational tax. Medical marijuana, by comparison, is only subject to state and local tax. Denver is currently 7.62 percent.

To put it another way – for an eighth of marijuana, selling in Denver at $30 recreational, the tax rate will be nearly 29 percent, or $8.59. If you purchase an eighth a month at $30 you will spend on average $103 annually in recreational tax, virtually the same cost as a registry card application or renewal.

Can Marijuana Be Purchased on New Year’s Day?

As New Year looms nearer, many are concerned about the availability of recreational marijuana. At current standing, only 12 stores in Colorado will be open to the public on January 1st, 2014.

For those planning to purchase on New Year’s Day, this means standing in line potentially for hours in record cold temperatures and an almost certain shortage of products—made no easier by the influx of tourists and dispensary tours on charter buses; recreational customers should expect longer lines and shortages for at least the next year.

While the ups and downs are apparent, whether or not to go recreational is a decision each consumer should make on their own. Additionally, we should remember that this is a time for celebration, a true mark that cannabis prohibition is coming to an end. The entire country is watching as Colorado takes the first steps in a completely unique time in our history – it is a time to be safe, respectful and joyous.

Tell us below, will you head to Colorado to celebrate the new year?

Errin Reaume is seasoned traveler, photographer and writer. She is currently stationed in Denver, Colorado where she works with some of the top dispensaries and cannabis companies in the state. A strong passion for natural remedies, nutrition and healthcare through individual education and prevention, Errin has driven from Florida to Alaska twice and explored many rich and beautiful countries in search of a good story.

23 Comments

  1. Karen

    January 1, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    is it legel in Colorado state & fed.?
    Thanks ~

  2. Miri

    December 24, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Actually the black market has pretty much been killed of due to the cheaper prices at the dispensaries. Even with the added tax, it is still cheaper to buy it from a large dispensary then your small local Mom and Pop operation. Most little guys have been put out of business as it is no longer profitable to grow on a small scale. They can compete with the quality, consistancy and cheap prices that larger, legal and regulated operations produce.

    • Miri

      December 24, 2013 at 7:58 am

      Can not compete, sorry for the typo

    • Michael Brown

      December 24, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      Can u tell me how much u can buy at one time. And do u have to have a Colado. Id.

      • matthew

        December 27, 2013 at 3:32 pm

        See Micheal, you are one of the problems for states and people trying to get cannabis legal. You’re not a resident and you’re trying to purchase large quantities which leads to the assumption you’re trying to sell it afterward. It’s safe to say you don’t need it medically and you’re just trying to make money. Stop being part of the plague that’s diminishing our efforts for the future.

  3. me

    December 24, 2013 at 4:22 am

    the fee is going down to $15 so if you have a qualifying condition and smoke as much as most people I know you’re better off getting a red card. its legal for all people of age but if you have friends with a card there’s nothing to prohibit them going to the dispensary for you. most people will probably start growing if they can. once industrial hemp production starts the prices may go up too because of extra precautions at grow ops to prevent cross pollination. the cannabis businesses have a lot of operating costs too which affect prices. there are already some dispensaries that have problems keeping stock on the shelves.

  4. Philbo

    December 24, 2013 at 2:59 am

    Small little fact, dispensaries must grow 80% of the product they sell and can get 20% from other sources. This is where all the dispensaries are going to get in trouble. There is not enough sq footage of grow going on here. Watch how day Colorado dries up.

  5. Philbo

    December 24, 2013 at 2:52 am

    Colorado will be out of weed by June.

  6. Tyler Boggan

    December 24, 2013 at 2:00 am

    I’ve been off for a year now because of my state laws. Due to my physical pain & mental issues ill be making a move up there 2014. End Cannabis Prohibition. Strong supporter. Lets take America back one bowl at a time!

  7. Bruce Lee

    December 23, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    So to those of you who live in Colorado, in regards to the dispensaries, do they have all the different kinds sorted out with all the details about their strains just like in a medical dispensary?

    • Reba

      December 24, 2013 at 1:11 am

      Dispensaries are excited to educate rec folks with all the information they provide patients. There will be plenty of magazines out for you to pick up and educate yourself on what’s to learn! If you have any questions about strain specifics the bud tenders will be able to provide you with the info. There is also a ton of sites that have every strain available to find out their genetics lineage, effects, and potency. Very helpful to accommodate you in your search

    • Toast

      December 24, 2013 at 6:56 am

      I’m sure they will. One place has told me their recreational side is going to consist entirely of vending machines that take an ID swipe. I’m sure they’ll be independently sorted; testing will eventually need to be done on each product for sale, and each strain has different stats. Gotta keep em labeled.

    • Jess

      December 24, 2013 at 8:48 am

      yes

    • jdirt

      December 24, 2013 at 11:52 am

      More than likely, no. But we here in Co are just as much wondering how this will all play out

  8. Robert

    December 24, 2013 at 12:44 am

    I see they’re making sure to keep the black market alive by taxing it so much.

    • Jess

      December 24, 2013 at 8:50 am

      if u read the text then u will see that its about the same as medical which is WAY cheaper then the black market (if u are referring to Mexican cartel still throwing 8th for $50) which u will pay out the ass and get shitty weed.

  9. Mitchell

    December 23, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Statewide

  10. Kasha G Bear

    December 23, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    I live here already. This is the official stoner’s black friday of a lifetime! I would love to be first in line up at Annie’s but there is no way it’s gonna happen. Not only can I not afford it but I’m not going to go stand in line for 3 days only to have them run out by the time I get in the door! I can sure wish though!

  11. Mike 420

    December 23, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    I wish I could head out there but unfortunately I have no car but all I ask is that every stoner in colorado smoke out for me ! End the cannabis prohibition !!!!!!! Long live 420

  12. grapo

    December 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I was planning on it since I’m here in las Vegas the drive isn’t too bad but I’ll wait till the hype goes down a bit. Maybe mid may because I’m sure April 20th will be just as packed as new years. Either way I’ll make the drive and enjoy a couple j’s with the fellow pot smokers community.

  13. Jessika

    December 23, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Is recreational marijuana going to be available istatr wide or just in denver?

    • Reba

      December 24, 2013 at 1:03 am

      It will be available in districts that allow it, like the Springs votes against it… Google for a complete list of cities that backed up the amendment

    • Toast

      December 24, 2013 at 6:59 am

      Many localities have banned recreational sales, but many places have embraced it. One can possess up to 1 oz state wide, but the purchasing will be primarily in Denver on Jan 1st. There are a couple other places that will have their approvals in time, but the state is incredibly backlogged on inspecting the premises of applicants, so it might take a while before all the places that want to open are given the right go-aheads by the powers that be.

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