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colorado marijuana laws

The Colorado Marijuana Legalization Amendment, Amendment 64, was approved by voters on Nov. 6, 2012, and passed with 55.3% of the vote. Amendment 64 legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older, and established sales and cultivation taxes. Before approval of Amendment 64, the possession or use of marijuana was reserved for qualifying patients and their caregivers. Medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2000, when voters approved Initiative 20. Initiative 20 passed with 53.5% of the vote. Initiative 20 permitted medical marijuana and created an identification card system for patients and their caregivers.

Key Dates

Colorado has adopted Emergency Medical and Retail Marijuana Rules effective November 1, 2019 with the Permanent Combined Medical and Retail Rules to be effective January 1, 2020. Currently, there are separate Permanent Medical Marijuana and Permanent Retail Marijuana Rules that became effective January 1, 2019.

 

Application Fees/Start up costs

Colorado’s adult-use marijuana industry is run by the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) of the Colorado Department of Revenue (CDOR). 

The CDOR also provides oversight and licensing for medical marijuana production, distribution, testing, and sales. The CDOR provides the 2019-2020 MED Fee Schedule for retail and medical marijuana. Renewal and additional owner and employee fees can be viewed at the previous link initial fees are listed below.

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INITIAL APPLICATION AND LICENSE FEES – MEDICAL MARIJUANA BUSINESSES 

  • Medical Marijuana Store - Application plus License fee - $7,000.00

  • Medical Marijuana Products Manufacturer  - Application plus License fee - $2,500.00

  • Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility (Class 1) - Application plus License fee - $2,500.00

  • Medical Marijuana Testing Facility - Application plus License fee - $2,500.00

  • Medical Marijuana Transporter - Application plus License fee - $5,400.00

  • Medical Marijuana Business Operator - Application plus License fee - $3,200.00

  • Medical Marijuana Research and Development Facility - Application plus License fee - $2,500.00

INITIAL APPLICATION AND LICENSE FEES – RETAIL MARIJUANA BUSINESSES 

  • Retail Marijuana Store - Application plus License fee - $7,000.00

  • Retail Marijuana Products Manufacturer - Application plus License fee - $6,500.00  

  • Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility (Tier 1) - Application plus License fee - $6,500.00 

  • Retail Marijuana Testing Facility - Application plus License fee -  $2,500.00

  • Retail Marijuana Transporter - Application plus License fee - $5,400.00 

  • Retail Marijuana Business Operator - Application plus License fee - $3,200.00

  • Marijuana Hospitality Business - Application plus License fee - $2,000.00

  • Retail Marijuana Hospitality and Sales - Application plus License fee - $7,000.00

 

Available License Types

Available license types for Medical Marijuana Businesses are: 

  • Medical Marijuana Store  

  • Medical Marijuana Products Manufacturer  

  • Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility (Class 1)

  •  Medical Marijuana Testing Facility

  • Medical Marijuana Transporter, Medical Marijuana Business Operator 

  • Medical Marijuana Research and Development Facility.

Note: Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility Class 2 through Class 3 license types are available only for renewal applications.

Available license types for Retail Marijuana Businesses are: 

  • Retail Marijuana Store

  • Retail Marijuana Products Manufacturer

  • Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility (Tier 1)

  • Retail Marijuana Testing Facility

  • Retail Marijuana Transporter

  • Retail Marijuana Business Operator 

  • Marijuana Hospitality Business

  • Retail Marijuana Hospitality and Sales.

Note: Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility Tier 2 through Tier 5 license types are only available for renewal applications. 

  1. Qualifying Conditions

  • Any condition for which a physician could prescribe an opioid

  • Autism spectrum disorder

  • Cachexia, or wasting syndrome

  • Cancer

  • Glaucoma

  • HIV/AIDS

  • Persistent muscle spasms

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Seizures

  • Severe nausea

  • Severe pain

 

History

Colorado voters passed Amendment 20 to the Colorado Constitution in 2000, which established a caregiver-patient system and permitted qualifying patients or caregivers to possess six plants or two ounces of useable marijuana for medical purposes. 

 

In 2007, a Denver District judge ruled that a 5:1 patient to caregiver ratio violated state law. This court ruling, and the publication of the Ogden memo in 2009 (Ogden 2009), led to a proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries operating as caregivers. In response, the Colorado General Assembly passed HB-1284, which established a framework for medical marijuana centers (dispensaries), cultivation facilities, and manufacturers of edible marijuana products.

 

In 2012, Colorado and Washington were the first two states to approve measures that allow recreational cultivation and use of marijuana among adults 21 of years or older within each state.

 

Other State Information:

  1. Estimated market size i.e. population and financial 

    1. (research info:  search using keyword "marijuana market size"+"name of state")

The market information below was prepared for the CDOR by The Marijuana Policy Group.

 

The demand for marijuana by Colorado adult residents is estimated to be 121.4 metric tons in 2014. In addition, the demand by visitors to the state is estimated to be 8.9 metric tons for a total estimated demand of 130.3 metric tons. This reflects a point estimate for the adult (21+) population only. We believe the potential range for total adult marijuana demand, including visitor demand, is between 104.2 and 157.9 metric tons. 

 

State demand is driven by a combination of user prevalence, user frequency, and the amount of marijuana used (the dosage) each day for different user types.

 

There are an estimated 485 thousand adult regular marijuana users who consume marijuana at least once per month. This represents 9.0 percent of the 2014 forecast population in Colorado of 5.363 million residents (all ages). Another 201 thousand adult residents reported using marijuana within the past year, which is 3.8 percent of the state population. In addition, 184 thousand residents under 21 reported past year use, of which 59 thousand reported past-month use. The scope of this report only includes the demand from consumers who are 21 years of age and older.

 

The vast majority of marijuana demand emanates from the regular users—and in particular from the heavy users who consume marijuana on a near-daily basis. In Colorado, the top 21.8 percent of users account for 66.9 percent of the demand. In contrast, the entire population of rare users (less than once per month), a group that accounts for almost one-third of all users, represents less than 1 percent (0.3 percent) of total demand. Table 1 shows Colorado user segments and corresponding demand share

  1. Amount/types of licenses issued/available

    1. (goes hand in hand with #3 below)

Aggregate MED License Numbers as of November 1, 2019

 

Medical Marijuana 

  • 444 Centers

  • 470 Cultivations

  • 222 MIPs

  • 8 Operators

  • 1 Research & Development Cultivation

  • 12 Testing Facilities 

  • 8 Transporters

 

Retail Marijuana

  • 572 Stores

  • 681 Cultivations

  • 289 Product Manufacturers

  • 10 Operators

  • 13 Testing Facilities

  • 12 Transporters

 

  1. Adult use/medical/CBD only/ALL/none

Colorado’s adult-use marijuana industry are regulated by the Colorado Department of Revenue (CDOR). The CDOR also provides oversight and licensing for medical marijuana production, distribution, testing, and sales.

 

Colorado citizens voted to pass Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution which directed the General Assembly to enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp. Legislation adopted in 2013 delegated the responsibility for establishing registration and inspection regulations pertaining to cultivation to the Colorado Department of Agriculture. The Colorado Department of Agriculture’s regulatory role with Industrial Hemp is limited to the cultivation of industrial hemp.

Estimated market size

Colorado reported its highest-ever monthly marijuana sales figure—more than $173.2 million—in August 2019. Of these sales, recreational marijuana accounted for $141.87 million, while the remaining related to medical marijuana sales. In July 2019, the total marijuana sales figure crossed $166.3 million.

how to start a marijuana business colorado

If you are just starting your marijuana business, the next best step is to start a Business Plan to help educate your team and be ready to apply for a marijuana business license. If you are ready to apply for a Marijuana Business License in Colorado, please Contact us or call our offices to set an appointment to get started. You can also select another State Opportunity, or fill out our Contact Form to discuss potential strategies such as Investment or Partnership Opportunities. 

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