Important Updates:

The city expands beta to preview its new website and gather feedback. | More Info


The City of Boulder welcomes your feedback. Use our Inquire Boulder customer service tool to tell us what’s on your mind.

  • Participate & Engage
  • Doing Business Over
  • Inquire Boulder
  • Explore Boulder
  • Contact City Council
  • Open Data Catalog
  • Public Safety
  • Emergency Alert Sign Up
  • Customer Self Service Portal
  • Online Records Access

Marijuana in Boulder

This page is intended to provide you with a starting place for understanding legal marijuana in the City of Boulder. This is a guide and you should look at the referenced law for specific legal issues. See Marijuana Businesses for information about medical and recreational marijuana businesses in the city.

Marijuana City Codes

The City of Boulder’s municipal codes include different provisions than Colorado’s state laws, so review Boulder’s municipal codes before buying, using or growing marijuana in the city. Links to Boulder’s marijuana codes are below: 

Marijuana Facts

  • Marijuana is also called “cannabis” because the scientific name for the plant is cannabis.
  • There are two categories of marijuana: medical and recreational.
  • Recreational marijuana is also called retail marijuana.
  • There are different terms used for stores that sell marijuana such as dispensaries, retail centers and wellness centers.  
  • There are four major types of licensed marijuana businesses in Boulder: 1) stores where product is sold 2) grows where marijuana plants are cultivated 3) manufacturing facilities where marijuana is extracted into concentrates and/or put into food 4) testing facilities that check THC content and check for harmful bacteria.
  • Hemp is the same plant species as marijuana (cannabis) but hemp is defined in Colorado Amendment 64 as having less than 0.3 percent THC content.
  • THC is the psychoactive part of marijuana that causes a “high” sensation.
  • Concentrates can be extracted from marijuana plants or hemp plants. Concentrates extracted from marijuana plants can have much higher levels of THC than flower (bud) from a marijuana or hemp plant because the product is concentrated.
  • Some common terms for marijuana concentrate are hash, budder, shatter and wax. These names often refer to the appearance or consistency of the concentrate.
  • CBD oil is a concentrate that can be extracted from either a marijuana plant or a hemp plant.
  • Concentrates can be heated and turned into vapor then inhaled or they can be added to food or drinks.

Frequently Asked Questions

How old do I have to be to buy and use marijuana?

21 years old.

Legal references: Colorado Amendment 64(1)(a); Colorado Marijuana Rule R402(A); BRC 6-16-8(b)(1); BRC 6-16-13(a)(1); and BRC 5-10-4(a).

How old do I have to be buy and use marijuana if I have a medical marijuana card?

18. If you are 17 or younger you must have a parent present.

Legal reference: Colorado Amendment 20(6).

Can I use my Buff Card to buy marijuana?

No. You must have a valid government issued ID such as a driver’s license or passport.

Legal references: Colorado Marijuana Rule R404(A) and Colorado Marijuana Rule M405(B).

How many marijuana plants can be grown in one residence in the city of Boulder?

Up to six plants.

Legal references: BRC 6-14-13(a)(6) and BRC 6-16-13(a)(5).

Can my roommate or spouse also have six marijuana plants for a total of twelve?

No. You can only have a maximum of six plants per residence in the city of Boulder.

Legal references: BRC 6-14-13(a)(6); BRC 6-16-13(a)(5); and BRC 6-16-2 definition of “Possess” is related to total number of people in the residence leased or owned.

Can I have more than six marijuana plants in my residence if I have a doctor’s recommendation?

No. In the city of Boulder, more than six marijuana plants must be grown at a licensed medical marijuana business.

Legal reference: BRC 6-14-13(a)(6).

Where can I grow my legal number of marijuana plants?

You can grow your legal number of marijuana plants inside your own residence or in another building you rent or own if the plants are grown in an enclosed and locked space. The State of Colorado defines “enclosed” to include covered. The city defines the enclosed space as within a building.

Legal references: Colorado Amendment 64(3)(b); CRS 18-18-406(3)(b); CRS 18-18-102, definition of “enclosed”; BRC 6-14-7(a); and BRC 6-16-7(a).

Can I grow marijuana plants outside on my own property?

Only if the marijuana plants are grown in an enclosed and locked space within a building such as a shed.

Legal references: Colorado Amendment 64(3)(b); CRS 18-18-406(3)(b); CRS 18-18-102, definition of “enclosed”; BRC 6-14-7(a); and 6-16-7(a0.

Can I construct an enclosed and locked space in my house or within another building to grow marijuana plants?

You must first have city permits to alter your residence or build a structure with electrical, mechanical and/or plumbing fixtures.

Legal references: BRC 6-14-7(a); BRC 6-16-7(a); and BRC 10-5-2.

Where can I grow my marijuana plants if minors live in or visit my house?

If there are minors who live in your house or visit your house, then the marijuana plants must be grown in a separate enclosed and locked space that the minors cannot access.

Legal reference: CRS 18-18-406(3)(b)(II)(A).

Can I give away marijuana I harvest from my plants?

Only if you give the marijuana to an adult over 21 and you do not receive any sort of payment or favors in exchange for the marijuana. You cannot give away medical marijuana.

Legal references: Colorado Amendment 64(3)(c); CRS 18-18-406(5.5)(a); and BRC 6-16-13(a)(10).

Can I extract marijuana concentrate at my house with or without chemicals such as butane?


Legal reference: CRS 18-18-406.6 and BRC 5-10-8.

Can I mail marijuana?


Legal references: CRS 18-18-406(2)(b)(I) and BRC 5-10-7.

Can I sell marijuana in the city of Boulder without a marijuana business license from the city?


Legal references: BRC 3-17-3(g); BRC 6-14-13(a)(11); and BRC 6-16-13(a)(9).

Can I use marijuana in a car?


Legal references: BRC 5-10-2(c); BRC 6-16-13(a)(2); and CRS 42-4-1305.5(2)(b).

Can I have an open container of marijuana in a car?

Only if it is in the trunk or behind the last upright seat of the vehicle if there is no trunk and is not visible from a place open to the public.

Legal references: CRS 42-4-1305.5(2)(b) and BRC 6-16-13(a)(2).

Can I transport marijuana across state lines?


Legal reference: Federal law.

Can I be arrested for DUI if I use marijuana and drive?


Legal reference: CRS 42-4-1301(1)(a).

Can I use marijuana on my back porch?

Only if it is a private residence and the area is fenced in.

Legal references: BRC 6-14-13(a)(2); BRC 6-16-13(a)(2); BRC 6-16-2; and BRC 6-14-2 definition of “Place open to the general public” relates to this.

Can I use marijuana in the common areas of my apartment complex?


Legal reference: BRC 5-10-2(b)(3).

Can I use marijuana in public?


Legal reference: Colorado Amendment 64(3)(d); CRS 18-18-406(5)(b)(I); and BRC 5-10-2.

Can I display marijuana in public?


Legal reference: CRS 18-18-406(5)(b)(I).

Does the police department enforce marijuana laws?


Can I receive a ticket if my marijuana odor (of any kind such as plant or smoking) bothers someone else?


Legal Reference B.R.C. 5-10-6

How do I report marijuana odor complaints?

It depends on whether the odor complaint is about smoking marijuana in the city of Boulder or if the odor complaint is about plant odor from a licensed or unlicensed marijuana grow in the city. If the complaint is about smoking marijuana, then it is appropriate to contact the Boulder Police Department Dispatch at 303-441-3333 and report the complaint to a police officer. If the complaint is about plant odor from marijuana plants, then it is appropriate to complete the Marijuana Odor Complaint Form online. You can use this form regardless if the plant odor is coming from a private residence or a licensed business. The Marijuana Enforcement Team will investigate odor complaints that come in through the form.

Who do I contact for questions about marijuana?

Marijuana Enforcement Officer Rebecca Bostrack can be reached at 303-441-3460 or [email protected] .


Updated: Aug. 8, 2018