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Colorado Open marijuana container - motor vehicle - prohibited.

Colorado statute CRS 42-4-1305.5 outlines restrictions and exceptions related to having an open marijuana container in a motor vehicle. In most cases, violating these provisions is a Class A traffic infraction punishable by a $50 fine plus a $7.80 surcharge.

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Penalties for Having an Open Marijuana Container in a Motor Vehicle in Colorado

Charge Classification Penalty
Open alcoholic beverage container – motor vehicle Traffic infraction


Class A: $50 fine plus $7.80 surcharge

Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 42-4-1305.5:


CO Rev Stat § 42-4-1305.5 (2020)

(1) Definitions. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) “Marijuana” shall have the same meaning as in section 16 (2) (f) of article XVIII of the state constitution.

(b) “Motor vehicle” means a vehicle driven or drawn by mechanical power and manufactured primarily for use on public highways but does not include a vehicle operated exclusively on a rail or rails.

(c) “Open marijuana container” means a receptacle or marijuana accessory that contains any amount of marijuana and:

(I) That is open or has a broken seal;

 (II) The contents of which are partially removed; and 

(III) There is evidence that marijuana has been consumed within the motor vehicle.

(d) “Passenger area” means the area designed to seat the driver and passengers, including seating behind the driver, while a motor vehicle is in operation and any area that is readily accessible to the driver or a passenger while in his or her seating position, including but not limited to the glove compartment.

(2) (a) Except as otherwise permitted in paragraph (b) of this subsection (2), a person while in the passenger area of a motor vehicle that is on a public highway of this state or the right-of-way of a public highway of this state may not knowingly:

(I) Use or consume marijuana; or

(II) Have in his or her possession an open marijuana container.

(b) The provisions of this subsection (2) shall not apply to:

(I) Passengers, other than the driver or a front seat passenger, located in the passenger area of a motor vehicle designed, maintained, or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation;

(II) The possession by a passenger, other than the driver or a front seat passenger, of an open marijuana container in the living quarters of a house coach, house trailer, motor home, as defined in section 42-1-102 (57), or trailer coach, as defined in section 42-1-102 (106) (a);

(III) The possession of an open marijuana container in the area behind the last upright seat of a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a trunk; or 

(IV) The possession of an open marijuana container in an area not normally occupied by the driver or a passenger in a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a trunk.

(c) A person who violates the provisions of this subsection (2) commits a class A traffic infraction and shall be punished by a fine of fifty dollars and a surcharge of seven dollars and eighty cents as provided in this section and section 42-4-1701 (4) (a) (I) (N).

(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to preempt or limit the authority of any statutory or home rule town, city, or city and county to adopt ordinances that are no less restrictive than the provisions of this section.

Have you gotten a ticket for having an open marijuana container in your vehicle in Colorado Springs or El Paso County?


It’s important to understand that having an open marijuana container in your motor vehicle can harm your driving record and future opportunities. A conviction of this infraction requires that the prosecution convince a jury to find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. To defend yourself against an open marijuana container-related charge, you must understand how the law applies to your case and what the El Paso County District Attorney must prove.


Frequently Asked Questions


How much marijuana can I legally carry in my car?

The quantity limit for possession of cannabis generally in Colorado is two ounces, which applies to marijuana products in motor vehicles. However, if the packaging on the cannabis product has been opened and some of the contents removed, you could be in violation of Colorado’s “open container” law.

Can you use marijuana in a limo in Colorado?

One exception to Colorado’s “open container law” for marijuana includes private vehicles used to transport customers for compensation. This applies to limousines but not taxi cabs, since taxis are not considered private transportation. Passengers of the transportation company are, therefore, subject to the company’s policies regarding the consumption of alcohol by passengers.

Can you use marijuana while sitting in a parked car?

Colorado’s “open container law” applies to all vehicles intended for travel on roads in public, regardless of whether the car is physically being driven or in motion. This means that even if you are using marijuana while sitting in a parked vehicle, you could still be in violation of this statute if you have an open container of marijuana.

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