Are you wondering how to open a dispensary in Colorado? We will provide the most recent news and details about launching a cannabis dispensary in the state on this page, along with valuable insights about what will happen next.
Cannabis has been legal for medical use in Colorado since 2000. In November 2012, Colorado approved Amendment 64, making recreational use legal for adults. To use, buy, or possess recreational marijuana in the state, you must be 21 or older. Adults can gift up to 2 ounces to another adult, but selling is not allowed. Only licensed cannabis dispensaries are allowed to sell recreational marijuana in Colorado.
Colorado’s 2023 legislative session concluded on May 8, 2023. The session saw several positive developments for cannabis-related proposals with these bills signed to law:
Starting from August 7th, 2023, Colorado has officially authorized online sales of marijuana, introducing a fresh means for customers to purchase cannabis. This development follows two months after Governor Jared Polis (D) signed the legislation (HB 23-1279) allowing online sales into law. The legislation amends state statutes by removing the prohibition on selling cannabis on the internet and concurrently introduces regulations to govern online commerce.
Marijuana laws for adults differ depending on where you are. It’s crucial to review local rules for the latest updates.
In Colorado, where marijuana is legalized, there are specific regulations:
On November 7, 2000, 54% of Colorado voters approved Amendment 20, which amended the State Constitution to allow the use of marijuana in the state for approved patients with written medical consent. Under this law, patients may possess up to 2 ounces (57 g) of medical marijuana and may cultivate no more than six marijuana plants (no more than three of these mature flowering plants at a time).
As of April 2023, there are 69,430 Patients who have an active medical marijuana registration according to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
On November 6, 2012, Colorado voters made history by legalizing cannabis for adults, making it the first state, alongside Washington, to do so. Amendment 64 allowed adults 21 and older to have up to one ounce of cannabis, grow six plants (with three being mature), and purchase cannabis from regulated stores. This led to recreational legalization in December 2012 and state-licensed retail cannabis sales starting in January 2014.
Before operating, a marijuana business needs approval from both the state and their local jurisdiction through licensing.
As of May 1, 2023, Colorado has issued licenses to 371 medical dispensaries and 679 retail dispensaries. For the complete list, check here.
To obtain a license, all applicants must have resided in Colorado for at least two years. In addition, they must pass both criminal and credit background checks.
To open a dispensary in Colorado, you will need the following licenses:
Employee License: This is a license given by the State Licensing Authority to an individual who is not a Controlling Beneficial Owner and is involved in various activities related to Regulated Marijuana. It includes those who handle Regulated Marijuana in any way, input data into a Regulated Marijuana Business’s tracking system, or have unescorted access to specific areas. The Employee License category encompasses both Key Licenses and Support Licenses.
Retail Marijuana Store Business License: This license is granted to entities authorized to buy Retail Marijuana and Retail Marijuana Concentrate from Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facilities, as well as Retail Marijuana Product and Retail Marijuana Concentrate from Retail Marijuana Products Manufacturers. They can also transfer Retail Marijuana to Retail Marijuana Hospitality and Sales Businesses, as well as to consumers.
Business Owner License: This license is issued to natural persons who are either Controlling Beneficial Owners of a Regulated Marijuana Business or Passive Beneficial Owners choosing to be subject to licensing.
Some of the costs associated with acquiring a dispensary license in Colorado are:
Level 1: $2,850.00
Level 2: $5,550.00
Level 1: $5,350.00
Level 2: $8,050.00
Level 3: $10,700.00
License fees and state checks vary based on the level of Controlling Beneficial Owners for Regulated Marijuana Businesses:
Level 1: 1-4 Controlling Beneficial Owners
Level 2: 5-9 Controlling Beneficial Owners
Level 3: 10 or more Controlling Beneficial Owners
Applying for a cannabis dispensary license involves a multi-step process to ensure compliance with regulations and to demonstrate your suitability to operate in the industry. Here are the key steps involved in applying for a cannabis dispensary license:
Aside from Retail Marijuana Store License or dispensary license, there are also other types of recreational marijuana license. These include:
To get an overview of the fees, please review the MED’s Fee Schedule.
We anticipate many new events through 2023 to unfold that will affect when and what recreational legalization will look like. By adding yourself to our Colorado Cannabis Mailing List (below), we will keep you updated on all relevant news, and not so easy to find news and comments related to Colorado Legalization below. This includes but is not limited to:
Just fill out the information below to get access.
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