6 Colorado Cannabis Laws You Must Know

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Cannabis has been legal in Colorado for medical use since 2000. Adult-use was legalized in 2012.

In this post, we cover Colorado’s must-know cannabis laws. You can find the full regulations here.

Colorado cannabis laws at a glance

  • Cannabis is legal in Colorado for both medical and recreational use.

  • The Marijuana Enforcement Division is the regulatory agency for cannabis in Colorado.

  • Colorado cannabis tracking is done through Metrc.

  • Medical marijuana is subject to a 2.9% state sales tax.

  • Retail marijuana is subject to a 15% state sales tax, levied on retail sales, along with a 15% excise tax, levied on the first transfer of marijuana from a wholesaler to a processor or retailer.

  • Cannabis delivery is legal in Colorado.

Law #1: Applications, fees, and licensing

Law: C. Owner Request for a Finding of Suitability, Owner License, and Owner Identification Badge – Initial Application and Renewal Fees.1. Controlling Beneficial Owner Request for a Finding of Suitability Fee. a. $800.00 per Natural Person 41 b. $800.00 for an Entity that is not a Publicly Traded Corporation, plus the fee in paragraph (C)(1)(a) and (C)(1)(b), for each associated natural person subject to suitability c. $5,000.00 for a Publicly Traded Corporation, plus the fee in paragraph (C)(1)(a) and (C)(1)(b), for each associated natural person or Entity subject to suitability. 2. Passive Beneficial Owner Request for Finding of Suitability Fee. A Passive Beneficial Owner may, but is not required to, apply for an Owner License and Identification Badge, and if the Passive Beneficial Owner chooses to do so, must submit the fees required by subparagraph (C)(1). 3. Renewal Fee for an Owner License. All Controlling Beneficial Owners and licensed Passive Beneficial Owners - $500.00. D. Employee License – Initial Fees and Renewal Fees. 1. Employee License Initial Application and License Fee – $100.00 a. Of the total Employee License application and license fee, $75.00 is the application fee and $25.00 is the license fee. An individual submitting an application for an Employee License may submit the total fee of $100.00 in one form of payment. 2. Employee License Renewal Fee – $75.00 a. Of the total Employee License Renewal fee, $50.00 is the application fee and $25.00 is the license fee. An individual submitting an application for an Employee License renewal may submit the total fee of $75.00 in one form of payment. 3. All Key Licenses and Support Licenses issued before January 1, 2020 will be converted to an Employee License upon the first license renewal following January 1, 2020. E. Temporary Appointee Registration – Request for Finding of Suitability Fees. 1. Natural Person – $225.00 2. Entity – $800.00 F. Other Fees. The following other fees apply: 1. Permits. a. Off Premises Storage Permit – $1,500.00 b. Transporter Off Premises Storage Permit – $2,200.00 c. Centralized Distribution Permit Initial and Renewal Fee – $20.00 d. R&D Co-Location Permit Initial and Renewal Fee – $50.00 e. Delivery Permit: i. Initial Fee Business License that will expire in 6 months or less - $2,000.00. ii. Initial Fee Business License that will expire in more than 6 months - $4,000.00. iii. All Renewals - $2,000.00 f. Transition Permit – $250.00 2. Regulated Marijuana Business Changes. The following fees apply per license: a. Change of Controlling Beneficial Owner $1,600.00 b. Changes Exempt from Change of Owner Application Requirement $800.00 c. Change of Trade Name – $50.00 d. Change of Location – $500.00 e. Modification of Licensed Premises – $100.00 3. Marijuana Research and Development Facility Research Project Proposal – $500.00 4. Responsible Vendor Provider Applications. a. Responsible Vendor Program Provider Initial Application – $850.00 b. Responsible Vendor Program Provider Renewal Application – $350.00 5. Duplicate License, Identification Badge, or Certificate. a. Duplicate Business License – $20.00 b. Duplicate Owner or Employee Identification Badge – $20.00 c. Responsible Vendor Program Provider Duplicate Certificate $50.00 G. When Fees are Due. All fees in this Rule are due at the time the application or request is submitted.

Explained:

  • The Colorado Department of Revenue's Marijuana Enforcement Division is tasked with licensing and regulating the Medical and Retail Marijuana Industries in Colorado

  • To apply, in addition to other regulatory requirements, applicants must undergo fingerprinting and background checks, provide detailed floor plans for the potential establishment, and be a Colorado resident for at least two years before applying.

  • Owners, investors, executive officers will be vetted for suitability and may need to provide proof of sufficient funds for investments, etc.

    Law #2: Packaging and labeling

    Law: Labeling of Regulated Marijuana Flower, Trim, Wet Whole Plant, and Regulated Marijuana Concentrate. Prior to Transfer to a Regulated Marijuana Business, every Container of Regulated Marijuana flower, trim, wet whole plant, or Regulated Marijuana Concentrate shall be affixed with a label that includes at least the following information: a. The license number of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility where the Medical Marijuana was grown, or the Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility where the Retail Marijuana was grown; b. The Harvest Batch Number(s) assigned to the Regulated Marijuana or the Production Batch Number(s) assigned to the Regulated Marijuana Concentrate; c. If applicable, the license number of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility(ies) that produced the Water-Based Medical Marijuana Concentrate, or the Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility(ies) that produced the Water-Based Retail Marijuana Concentrate; d. If applicable, the license number of the Medical Marijuana Products Manufacturer(s) where the Medical Marijuana Concentrate was produced, or the Retail Marijuana Products Manufacturer(s) where the Retail Marijuana Concentrate was produced; e. The net contents, using a standard of measure compatible with the Inventory Tracking System, of the Regulated Marijuana or Regulated Marijuana Concentrate prior to its placement in the Container; and f. Potency test results as required to permit the receiving Regulated Marijuana Business to label the Medical Marijuana, Retail Marijuana, Medical Marijuana Concentrate, or Retail Marijuana Concentrate as required by these rules. g. Vaporizer Delivery Devices and Pressurized Metered Dose Inhalers. A list of all Ingredients, including Additives, used to manufacture the Vaporizer Delivery Device or Pressurized Metered Dose Inhaler. C. Packaging and Labeling of Regulated Marijuana Product Prior to Transfer to a Regulated Marijuana Business. A Regulated Marijuana Business shall comply with the following minimum packaging and labeling requirements prior to Transferring Medical Marijuana Product to another Medical Marijuana Business, or Transferring Retail Marijuana Product to another Retail Marijuana Business: 1. Packaging of Regulated Marijuana Product. a. Transfer to a Regulated Marijuana Business Other Than a Medical Marijuana Store or Retail Marijuana Store. Prior to Transfer to a Regulated Marijuana Business other than a Medical Marijuana Store or Retail Marijuana Store, Regulated Marijuana Product shall be placed into a Container. The Container may but is not required to be Child-Resistant. Marijuana Enforcement Division 154 b. Transfer to a Medical Marijuana Store or Retail Marijuana Store. Prior to Transfer to a Medical Marijuana Store or Retail Marijuana Store, all Regulated Marijuana Product shall be packaged in a Child-Resistant Container that is ready for sale to the patient or consumer as required by the Rule 3-1010(D). 2. Labeling of Regulated Marijuana Product. a. Transfer to a Regulated Marijuana Business other than a Medical Marijuana Store or Retail Marijuana Store. Prior to Transfer to a Regulated Marijuana Business other than a Medical Marijuana Store or Retail Marijuana Store, every Container of Regulated Marijuana Product shall be affixed with a label that includes at least the following information: i. The license number of the Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility(ies) where the Medical Marijuana was grown, or Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility(ies) where the Retail Marijuana was grown; ii. The license number of the Medical Marijuana Products Manufacturer that produced the Medical Marijuana Product, or the Retail Marijuana Products Manufacturer that produced the Retail Marijuana Product; iii. The Production Batch Number(s) assigned to the Regulated Marijuana Product; iv. The net contents, using a standard of measure compatible with the Inventory Tracking System, of the Regulated Marijuana Product prior to its placement in the Container; and v. Potency test results as required to permit the receiving Regulated Marijuana Business to label the Medical Marijuana Product or Retail Marijuana Product as required by these rules.

    Explained: In addition to other requirements, these are some of the CO packaging regulations:

    • Packaging must not appeal to children or target individuals under the age of 21.

    • Packaging can’t make false or misleading statements regarding health benefits.

    • Font size must be at least 1/16 of an inch.

    • Labels must be clearly written/printed in English.

    • Labeling cannot be obstructed or conspicuous. While you can add multiple labels to a container, all required information must be clearly visible at first glance.

    Law #3: Security

    Law: Security Alarm Systems and Lock Standards A. Security Alarm Systems – Minimum Requirements. The following Security Alarm Systems and lock standards apply to all Regulated Marijuana Businesses, unless stated otherwise by these rules. 1. Each Licensed Premises shall have a Security Alarm System, installed by an Alarm Installation Company, on all perimeter entry points and perimeter windows. 2. Each Licensee must ensure that all of its Licensed Premises are continuously monitored. Licensees may engage the services of a Monitoring Company to fulfill this requirement. 3. A Licensee shall maintain up-to-date and current records and existing contracts on the Licensed Premises that describe the location and operation of each Security Alarm System, a schematic of security zones, the name of the Alarm Installation Company, and the name of any Monitoring Company. See Rule 3-905 Business Records Required. 4. Upon request, Licensees shall make available to agents of the Division or relevant Local Licensing Authority or Local Jurisdiction or state or local law enforcement agency, for a purpose authorized by the Marijuana Code or for any other state or local law enforcement purpose, all information related to Security Alarm Systems, Monitoring, and alarm activity. 5. Any outdoor or Greenhouse Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility or Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility is a Limited Access Area and must meet all of the requirements for Security Alarm Systems described in this Rule. An outdoor or Greenhouse Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility or Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility must provide sufficient security measures to demonstrate that outdoor areas are not readily accessible by unauthorized individuals. It shall be the responsibility of the Licensee to maintain physical security in a manner similar to a Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility or Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility located in an indoor Limited Access Area so it can be fully secured and alarmed. The fencing requirements shall include, at a minimum, perimeter fencing designed to prevent the general public from entering the Limited Access Areas and shall meet at least the following minimum requirements: a. The entire Limited Access Area shall be surrounded by a fence constructed of nine gauge or lower metal chain link fence or another similarly secure material. The fence shall measure at least eight feet from the ground to the top, or in the alternative, the fence may measure six feet from the ground to the top with a 1 foot barbed wire arm with at least three strands along the entire fence. All support posts shall be steel and securely anchored. b. All gates of ingress or egress shall measure at least eight feet from the ground to the top of the entry gate, or in the alternative, the gate may measure six feet from the ground to the top with a 1 foot barbed wire arm with at least three strands, and shall be constructed of nine gauge or lower metal chain link fence or a similarly secure material. c. The fence shall obscure the Limited Access Area so that it is not easily viewed from outside the fence. d. All areas of ingress and egress of the fence shall be illuminated including a 20 foot radius from the point of ingress or egress. The required lights may be, but are not required to be, motion sensing. See Rule 3-225(C). e. A Licensee or Applicant for initial licensure may, in writing, request that the Division waive one or more of the security requirements described in this subparagraphs (a) through (d) of this Rule, by submitting on a form prescribed by the Division a security waiver request for Division approval. The Division may, in its discretion and on a case-by-case basis, approve the security waiver if it finds that the alternative safeguard proposed by the Licensee or Applicant for initial licensure meets the goals of the above security requirements or that the security requirements are in conflict with a local ordinance of general applicability. Approved security waivers expire at the same time as the underlying License and may be renewed at the time the License renewal application is submitted. The Licensee’s or Applicant for initial licensure’s request for a waiver shall include: i. The specific rules and subsections of a rule that is requested to be waived; ii. The reason for the waiver; iii. A description of an alternative safeguard the Licensee will implement in lieu of the requirement that is the subject of the waiver; and iv. An explanation of how and why the alternative safeguard accomplishes the goals of the security rules, specifically public safety, prevention of diversion, accountability, and prohibiting access to minors. B. Lock Standards – Minimum Requirement 1. At all points of ingress and egress, the Licensee shall ensure the use of a commercialgrade, non-residential door locks. 2. Any outdoor or Greenhouse Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility or Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility must meet all of the requirements for the lock standards described in this Rule. Basis and Purpose – 3-225 The statutory authority for this rule includes but is not limited to sections 44-10-203(2)(h), 44-10-203(1)(j), 44-10-203(2)(e), and 44-10 1001, C.R.S. Authority also exists in the Colorado Constitution at Article XVIII, Subsection 16(5 (a)(VI). The purpose of this rule is to ensure adequate control of the Licensed Premises and Regulated Marijuana contained therein. This rule also establishes the minimum guidelines for security requirements for video surveillance systems for maintaining adequate security. This Rule 3- 225 was previously Rules M and R 306, 1 CCR 212-1 and 1 CCR 212-2. 3-225 – Video Surveillance A. Minimum Requirements. The following video surveillance requirements shall apply to all Regulated Marijuana Businesses, unless stated otherwise in these rules. 1. Prior to exercising the privileges of a Regulated Marijuana Business, an Applicant must install a fully operational video surveillance and camera recording system. The recording system must record in digital format and meet the requirements outlined in this Rule. 2. All video surveillance records and recordings must be stored in a secure area that is only accessible to a Licensee’s management staff. 3. Video surveillance records and recordings must be made available upon request to the Division, the relevant Local Licensing Authority or Local Jurisdiction, or any other state or local law enforcement agency for a purpose authorized by the Marijuana Code or for any other state or local law enforcement purpose. 4. Video surveillance records and recordings of point-of-sale areas shall be held in confidence by all employees and representatives of the Division, except that the Division may provide such records and recordings to the Local Licensing Authority or Local Jurisdiction, or any other state or local law enforcement agency for a purpose authorized by the Marijuana Code, or for any other state or local law enforcement purpose. B. Video Surveillance Equipment 1. Video surveillance equipment shall, at a minimum, consist of digital or network video recorders, cameras capable of meeting the recording requirements described in this Rule, video monitors, digital archiving devices, and a color printer capable of delivering still photos. 2. All video surveillance systems must be equipped with a failure notification system that provides prompt notification to the Licensee of any prolonged surveillance interruption and/or the complete failure of the surveillance system. 3. Licensees are responsible for ensuring that all surveillance equipment is properly functioning and maintained, so that the playback quality is suitable for viewing and the surveillance equipment is capturing the identity of all individuals and activities in the monitored areas. 4. All video surveillance equipment shall have sufficient battery backup to support a minimum of four hours of recording in the event of a power outage.

    Explained:

    • Every licensed premises must have a security alarm system installed by an alarm installation company, on all perimeter entry points and windows, with continuous monitoring.

    • Prior to beginning operations, a Company must install a fully operational video surveillance and camera recording system. The surveillance system must adhere to specifications required by the MED.

    • Companies must maintain up to date, current records and existing contracts on the licensed premises that detail the location and operation of each security alarm system, a schematic of security zones, the name of the alarm installation company, and the name of any monitoring company being used.

    Law #4: Taxes

    Law: See full details on cannabis taxes in Colorado here.

    • Medical marijuana is subject to a 2.9% state sales tax.

    • Retail marijuana is subject to a 15% state sales tax, levied on retail sales, along with a 15% excise tax, levied on the first transfer of marijuana from a wholesaler to a processor or retailer.

    Law #5: Delivery

    Law: Regulated Marijuana Delivery Requirements. 1. A Medical Marijuana Store, Retail Marijuana Store, Medical Marijuana Transporter, or Retail Marijuana Transporter shall not deliver Regulated Marijuana to patients, parents, guardians, or consumers while also transporting Regulated Marijuana between Licensed Premises in the same Delivery Motor Vehicle. 2. Delivery of Medical Marijuana and Retail Marijuana. a. A Medical Marijuana Store and Retail Marijuana Store, both of which hold a valid delivery permit, and which have identical Controlling Beneficial Owners, may complete deliveries of Medical Marijuana and Retail Marijuana using the same Delivery Motor Vehicle and without returning to the Medical Marijuana Store or Retail Marijuana Store between deliveries. b. A Medical Marijuana Transporter and Retail Marijuana Transporter, both of which hold a valid delivery permit, and which have identical Controlling Beneficial Owners may complete deliveries of Medical Marijuana and Retail Marijuana using the same Delivery Motor Vehicle and without returning to the Medical Marijuana Store or Retail Marijuana Store between deliveries. c. A Medical Marijuana Transporter holding a valid delivery permit may make deliveries for multiple Medical Marijuana Stores that also hold valid delivery permits using the same Delivery Motor Vehicle and without returning to a Medical Marijuana Store between deliveries. d. A Retail Marijuana Transporter holding a valid delivery permit may make deliveries for multiple Retail Marijuana Stores that also hold valid delivery permits using the same Delivery Motor Vehicle and without returning to a Retail Marijuana Store between deliveries. 3. An Owner Licensee or Employee Licensee delivering Regulated Marijuana shall not open any Container of Regulated Marijuana in the Delivery Motor Vehicle and is prohibited from packaging or re-packaging Regulated Marijuana once the Delivery Motor Vehicle has departed from the Licensed Premises of a Medical Marijuana Store or Retail Marijuana Store. 4. A Medical Marijuana Store or Retail Marijuana Store shall not accept delivery orders for Regulated Marijuana Product that is perishable unless the Delivery Motor Vehicle that will make the delivery has the ability to secure the Regulated Marijuana Product in climate controlled storage. 5. A Medical Marijuana Store, Retail Marijuana Store, Medical Marijuana Transporter, or Retail Marijuana Transporter must maintain a transport manifest that documents the following: a. The time of delivery and the name, patient’s or consumer’s identification number, address of the Private Residence, patient registry number, if applicable, and acknowledgement of receipt of delivery by the person receiving the delivery; and b. For every Regulated Marijuana delivery that could not be completed, the reason the delivery could not be completed. 6. Proof of Patient Medical Registry and Identification. a. Prior to transferring possession of the order, the Owner Licensee or Employee Licensee delivering Medical Marijuana to a patient or a patient’s parent or guardian must: i. Inspect the patient’s or parent’s or guardian’s identification and registry identification card; ii. Verify the possession of a valid registry identification card; iii. Verify that the information provided at the time of order match the name and age on the patient’s or parent or guardian’s identification; and iv. Verify that the identification and registry identification card belong to the person receiving the delivery. b. The Owner Licensee or Employee Licensee must refuse delivery of Medical Marijuana if the person attempting to accept the delivery order cannot establish all of the requirements of subparagraph (F)(6)(a)(i) through (iv) above. 7. Proof of Consumer Identification. a. The Owner Licensee or Employee Licensee delivering Retail Marijuana to a consumer must first verify that the natural person accepting the delivery has an acceptable form of identification demonstrating the person is at least 21 years of age and that the person is the same as the person that placed the order for delivery with the Retail Marijuana Store. b. The Owner Licensee or Employee Licensee must refuse delivery of Retail Marijuana if the natural person attempting to accept the delivery order cannot establish all the requirements of subparagraph (F)(5)(a) above. 8. Daily Delivery Limits. a. A Medical Marijuana Store or Medical Marijuana Transporter must not deliver individually or in any combination, more than two ounces of Medical Marijuana, 40 grams of Medical Marijuana Concentrate, or Medical Marijuana Products containing more than 20,000 milligrams of THC to a patient in a single business day. b. A Medical Marijuana Store or Medical Marijuana Transporter must not deliver to a patient, parent, or guardian or Private Residence where the Licensee knows or reasonably should know that the patient, parent or guardian, or Private Residence has already received a delivery during that same business day. This does not prohibit delivery to more than one patient at the same time and private residence. c. A Retail Marijuana Store or Retail Marijuana Transporter must not deliver individually or in any combination, more than one ounce of Retail Marijuana, 8 grams of Retail Marijuana Concentrate, or Retail Marijuana Products containing more than ten 80 milligram servings of THC to a customer in a single business day. d. A Retail Marijuana Store or Retail Marijuana Transporter must not deliver to a consumer or Private Residence where the Licensee knows or reasonably should know that the consumer or Private Residence has already received a delivery during that same business day.

    Explained:

    • Responsible vendor certification is required prior to conducting the first delivery.

    • An inventory tracking system is also required for delivery.

    • Orders can be accepted from patients at least 21 years of age, parents of patients under 18, or consumers at least 21 years of age at a private residence. Deliveries cannot be made to patients ages 18-20.

    Law #6: Purchase limits

    Full details of cannabis purchase limits in Colorado can be found here.

    • Recreational customers can purchase 1 ounce or 28 grams of flower or equivalent amount of another product.
      • 1 ounce of flower is equivalent to 8 grams of concentrate, 800 milligrams of edible product, or 6 seeds and clones.

    • Medical patients are allowed to purchase 2 ounces of flower, 40 grams of concentrate, 6 immature plants, or 20,000 milligrams of medical marijuana products.

    Colorado cannabis laws FAQs

    Is recreational cannabis legal in Colorado?

    Recreational cannabis has been legal in Colorado since 2012.

    How is marijuana taxed in Colorado?

    Medical marijuana is subject to a 2.9% state sales tax.

    Retail marijuana is subject to a 15% state sales tax, levied on retail sales, along with a 15% excise tax, levied on the first transfer of marijuana from a wholesaler to a processor or retailer.

    How much weed can I buy in Colorado?

    Recreational customers can purchase 1 ounce or 28 grams of flower or equivalent amount of another product.

    Medical patients can purchase 2 ounces of flower or the equivalent of another cannabis product.

    Is Flowhub compliant with Colorado’s medical marijuana regulations?

    Yes! Flowhub was the first integrator with Metrc, so we have a deep understanding of how to keep your dispensary compliant. We also are compliant with Colorado's cannabis regulations.

    Disclaimer: The material contained on this website and any attached or referenced pages has been compiled by Flowhub for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be and is not considered to be legal advice. This post is current as of 9/10/2021. Cannabis regulations are rapidly changing, and legal advice of any nature should be sought from legal counsel.

    Taylor

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