Colorado Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS COLORADO'S CURRENT CANNABIS MARKET STATUS?
Colorado has had great success in the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana. Most recently, Governor Polis expanded the laws by signing several bills to allow delivery, on-site consumption (HB 1234 & HB 1230), prescription for medical cannabis to be used for any issues opiates could be prescribed for (SB 13), and the opportunity for publicly traded companies to invest in the industry (HB 1090). In March 2020, the first medical cannabis delivery license was awarded to Native Roots, a company with multiple locations throughout Colorado.
Colorado has seen extensive growth over the last five years, raising over a billion dollars in tax revenue with an annual tax revenue of $226 million. The industry has witnessed over 41,000 people apply for badges to work within one of the over 3,000 facilities in the state, and in 2019, Colorado retailers sold $1.75 billion in products.
WHAT ARE COLORADO'S CANNABIS LAWS?
Colorado was recognized as a worldwide leader in recreational cannabis law with the legalization of sales in November 2012, and Colorado cannabis businesses opening doors in January 2014. Amendment 64 allows the possession and sale of cannabis to adults 21 and older. Recreational consumers may purchase up to one ounce of cannabis, and medical patients may purchase two ounces or more with a doctor's recommendation. Colorado residents are allowed to grow six at home plants under Amendment 64. The plants must remain in a privately locked space, and residents may not have more than three plants in the flowering stage.
When Amendment 64 passed in 2012, Governor Hickenlooper created a task force, called ‘The Marijuana Enforcement Division,’ through the Department of Revenue to regulate the implementation of Amendment 64. In May 2013, Governor Hickenlooper reviewed the task force’s recommendations and signed several bills into law. By September 2013, the Colorado Department of Revenue approved the final regulations and implemented the Colorado Retail Marijuana Code. Since 2013, the regulations have undergone many amendments to implement necessary changes to the laws with the most recent version found here.
WHAT IS COLORADO'S CANNABIS LICENSING TIMELINE & CANNABIS APPLICATION PROCESS?
There are currently three application types for state cannabis business licenses in Colorado. The Retail Marijuana Business License Application is to be completed for the following license types: retail marijuana store; retail marijuana cultivation facility; retail marijuana testing facility; retail marijuana business operator; retail marijuana transporter; retail marijuana products manufacturer; or a combination of two or more of the above listed license types. The Marijuana Centralized Distribution Permit Application is for optional premises cultivation or retail marijuana cultivation facilities to obtain a license to temporarily store cannabis products for the purpose of transferring the product to the permit holder’s commonly owned medical or retail marijuana stores. The Marijuana Hospitality Business License Application is available for those interested in the Colorado Hospitality License commonly known as a consumption lounge license. Although hospitality licenses are available throughout the state, municipalities have yet to create ordinances, therefore, no state hospitality licenses have been granted to date. Colorado cannabis business entrepreneurs must obtain a state and city license separately, with both required prior to engaging in any cannabis production activities. Check with your local city cannabis regulators for information on local cannabis business licensing timeline.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN COLORADO?
In November 2000, voters approved Amendment 20 with a 54% majority. This vote amended the state’s constitution to allow doctors to recommend the use of marijuana for patients with a variety of qualifying conditions. Amendment 20 allows patients to purchase and possess up to two ounces or 57 grams of medical cannabis from licensed facilities. It also allows patients or caregivers the opportunity to grow six plants at home for medicinal use. For years doctors were able to prescribe plant counts to patients ranging from six to 99 plants. Depending upon the plant count allocated to his/her medical dispensary, a patient could purchase two ounces (six plant count) up to one pound (99 plant count) of medical cannabis per day. In recent years, Colorado has cracked down on the allowance of 99 plant counts with the intention to decrease diversion to other states.
In a historic vote in November 2012, Colorado residents passed Amendment 64 which approved the sale of cannabis to adults 21 years and older. The possession of up to one ounce became legal for any adult within the state. The state recognized the range of potency and broke possession limits down by types. Possession limits of eight grams of retail concentrates and 800 milligrams of retail edibles are considered equivalent to one ounce of cannabis. Although visitors are able to purchase and consume cannabis in Colorado, they can face prosecution if found attempting to cross state lines with products.
DOES COLORADO HAVE A HEMP PROGRAM?
ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THE COLORADO CANNABIS MARKET?
With recreational delivery less than a year away and hospitality licenses on the brink of availability, now is the perfect time to assess possible cannabis business opportunities in the once saturated Colorado cannabis market. Point7 has the experience, products and packages available to assist you from the licensing stage to the post licensure operations. We will gladly discuss options and plans of action with you today!