Brush up on substance law 101 before WinterWonderGrass |

Brush up on substance law 101 before WinterWonderGrass

New city rules would limit the total number of pot plants grown in a residence to a dozen.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — If this is your first trip out to Colorado, or your first time here in a few years, it might be time to spend a minute catching up on our state of affairs. Here’s a quick summary of state laws and local policies related to substances that you should know while you’re here.


Adults 21 years and older (with a government-issued ID to prove it) may possess as much as 1 ounce of THC in Colorado. Public consumption in any form — smoking, eating or vaping — or open possession of marijuana is an offense that can earn you a citation; public areas include sidewalks, restaurants and bars, and ski slopes. It's legal to share marijuana with another adult 21 or older, including homegrown product, but retail marijuana may only be bought at a licensed retail store.

It's a felony to give, sell to or share marijuana with anyone younger than 21 years old.

In terms of being prosecuted for driving under the influence, the legal limit for active tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in your system while operating a vehicle is 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood. However, law enforcement officers base arrests on observed impairment, no matter driver’s level of THC detected in a blood test.

The potency of edibles is often difficult to predict, but is generally more intense than the effects of smoking marijuana. THC can take 30 minutes to several hours to take effect, and can be felt for as long as 10 hours. Because of the difference in how eaten cannabis is metabolized the liver, it has a more psychedelic effect than THC that was smoked. Individual responses to edibles also vary drastically from person to person, as do the doses of THC in different products.

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At WinterWonderGrass Steamboat 2017, edibles were the most common medical issue, causing users to black out and lose control of functions.


In Colorado, it is illegal for people younger than 18 years old to purchase, possess or smoke nicotine products.

Steamboat Springs’ Smoke-Free Air Act of 2005 prohibits smoking in places of public accommodation within the city.

The festival has a designated smoking area on site around the wood burning fire pit and requests that smokers dispose properly of cigarettes.


Beer, wine and spirits will be available for purchase; attendees are not allowed to bring their own alcohol into the festival. In the three heated tents serving beer (Jamboree, Picking Perch and Soap Box), tastings representing more than 20 Colorado craft breweries will be available from 2 to 5 p.m. daily.

Attendees are reminded to not bring alcohol outside of festival boundaries.

The legal blood alcohol content level, or BAC, for a driver who’s 21 or older in Colorado is .08 percent for a DUI. The offense of Driving While Ability is Impaired, or DWAI, includes a limit of .05 percent. (Add clickable link to Steamboat Transportation article)

A note for festival-goers arriving from flatlands:

While it's a commonly held belief that drinking at higher altitudes means feeling more intoxicated, research from the past decade shows no evidence supporting that idea. Drinking alcohol at altitude can, however, depress breathing and cause altitude sickness, which feels very similar to a hangover. Being at altitude also causes dehydration, which affects how a person processes alcohol and makes hangovers worse, so be sure to chug the recommended 4 to 6 liters of water per day to stay hydrated.

By your third day at altitude, your body should be acclimatized to drink like usual.  

Water will be available for free at the festival, but disposable plastic water bottles and one-time-use cups will not be, so bring an empty reusable water bottle with you.

Keep in mind that this festival is an inclusive, family-friendly event for all, from babies to senior citizens. Steamboat Springs police and fire personnel will be at the festival to ensure safety.