Fort Collins

Colorado Springs

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” right? Probably not. We’ve all heard the stories and seen the pictures, it seems nothing stays private for long anymore. If you come to Colorado and partake in your newly legal right to use marijuana, it might not stay private for up to 30 days or more. This may not seem like a big deal, I mean, you’re not taking any pot back on the plane, right? Well, if you happen to be drug tested within 30 days of using pot, it might have serious consequences.   We have discussed why blood, breath, and urine tests are not always accurate at determining the level of impairment. But what if the person who is testing you, say an employer, doesn’t care about the level of a substance? They only care if it shows up. These tests are a reliable way to determine positive/ negative readings.   The majority of drug screenings are given as urine tests; it’s quick, easy, and fairly cheap. Examiners will determine the amount of marijuana’s chemical breakdown product (metabolite) THCOOH is in the sample. These metabolites are easily stored in fat cells, which means they can stick around for 30 days or more. The good news is science backs the variability of these tests and hold that urine test results are not a perfect indicator of recent consumption or intoxication (e.g. if used as evidence of DWI). The bad news is, many states have passed zero-tolerance laws that have stiff penalties for any THC or THC metabolite found in your system, regardless if it means you were under the influence.   There is no way to know how long each individual will test positive for marijuana use. If you have an upcoming drug test, we suggest playing it safe. Positive drug tests can impact many areas across your life, even in pot-friendly states.

Remember, What Happens in Colorado… Stays In Your System For 30 Days

In the era of digital exposure and ever-decreasing privacy boundaries, the notion that “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” has lost its charm. It appears that nothing remains truly confidential these days. Colorado, a state known for its progressive stance on marijuana legalization, exemplifies this new reality, where even your private marijuana consumption may not remain concealed for long – up to 30 days or more, to be precise. While this might not seem like a significant concern at first glance, it can have serious repercussions if you find yourself subjected to a drug test within that timeframe.

We’ve previously explored the limitations of blood, breath, and urine tests in accurately gauging impairment levels. However, what if the entity conducting the test, such as an employer, is primarily concerned with the presence of a substance rather than its intoxication level? For such cases, these tests serve as reliable tools to determine simple positive or negative outcomes.

Urine tests, being quick, cost-effective, and straightforward, dominate the landscape of drug screenings. They aim to detect the presence of THC’s primary breakdown product, THCOOH, in the sample. These metabolites tend to linger in fat cells, extending their detection window to 30 days or more. While it’s reassuring to know that science acknowledges the variability of these tests and doesn’t consider urine test results as perfect indicators of recent consumption or intoxication (e.g., as evidence of driving while impaired), the bad news is that many states have enacted zero-tolerance laws. These laws entail severe penalties for any trace of THC or THC metabolites in your system, regardless of whether it signifies impairment.

The unpredictable nature of how long an individual will continue to test positive for marijuana use poses a significant challenge. Therefore, if you anticipate a forthcoming drug test, erring on the side of caution is advisable. Positive drug test results can have far-reaching consequences across various aspects of your life, even in states where marijuana is legalized, like Colorado.


In such situations, having legal counsel becomes crucial. Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, a reputable law firm specializing in alcohol and drug-related driving offenses in Colorado, can offer invaluable guidance and representation. Their expertise can prove instrumental in navigating the complexities of drug testing laws and safeguarding your rights when faced with potential legal challenges stemming from marijuana use. In an age where privacy is fleeting, it’s essential to be well-informed and prepared to protect your interests.

Do you have further questions or concerns? Call us or contact the attorneys at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, and we will be happy to help.

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