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In 2000, 54% of Colorado voters approved Amendment 20, also known as the Colorado Medical Use of Marijuana Initiative. Amendment 20 amended the State Constitution to allow medical marijuana use by approved patients who have obtained a doctor’s written consent. Colorado’s medical marijuana laws currently allow a patient to possess up to 2 ounces of medical marijuana and grow up to 6 marijuana plants (3 of which can be mature and flowering at any given time). A doctor may recommend a larger amount and an affirmative defense may be used by patients who exceed the state limits imposed by Amendment 20.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment established the Medical Marijuana Registry Program in 2001 to issue Medical Marijuana ID Cards and maintain a state registry of medical marijuana patients and caregivers. Participation in the Medical Marijuana Registry Program is mandatory for patients and caregivers to receive the protections afforded by the Colorado Medical Use of Marijuana Initiative. Colorado’s Medical Marijuana ID Cards are only issued to Colorado residents who have shown proof of residency.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

COLORADO MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATISTICS AND FACTS

  • As of June 2015, there were 113,585 current patients in Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Registry and 301,667 patients who had applied.
  • The three Colorado counties with the highest number of registered medical marijuana patients are El Paso (18,648 patients), Denver (17,847 patients), and Jefferson (12,325 patients).
  • Within Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Registry, 65% of active patients are male and 35% are female.
  • The average age of participants in Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Registry is 42.5 years old.
  • Nearly a third (32.3%) of Colorado medical marijuana patients have designated a primary caregiver to grow their medical marijuana for them.
  • Primary caregivers may possess the upper limits allowed for each patient, but two or more primary caregivers cannot join together to jointly cultivate medical marijuana.

THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA REGISTRY PROGRAM

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Medical Marijuana Registry Programcreated a State-authorized Medical Marijuana ID Card and verification database to be used by law enforcement and the public. It verifies a patient or primary caregiver’s authorization to possess, grow, transport, and/or use medical marijuana within Colorado. Participation by patients and primary caregivers in the identification card program is mandatory. The Medical Marijuana Registry Program website is located at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/medicalmarijuana.

HOW TO QUALIFY FOR A MEDICAL MARIJUANA CARD IN COLORADO

  • You must be a Colorado resident with a valid social security number
  • You must be receiving treatment for a qualifying medical condition.
  • You must obtain a medical marijuana recommendation from a state licensed physician with whom you have a bona fide doctor-patient relationship. A doctor may recommend medical marijuana for the following conditions:
    • – Cancer
    • – Glaucoma
    • – HIV or AIDS positive
    • – Any a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that produces one or more of the following and which, in the physician’s professional opinion, may be alleviated by the medical use of marijuana:
      • – Cachexia
      • – Persistent muscle spasms
      • – Seizures
      • – Severe nausea
      • – Severe pain

HOW TO APPLY FOR A MEDICAL MARIJUANA CARD IN COLORADO

BY MAIL: Applications must be mailed in by the patient (unless a patient has a Medical Power of Attorney). Applications mailed in by centers or physicians will be rejected.The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) recommends that applications be sent via certified mail to allow for delivery receipt.

To apply for or renew your medical marijuana card, you must submit:

Optional: If you wish to designate a caregiver, you must submit a Caregiver Acknowledgement and a copy of your caregiver’s ID.

Minors: Parents of minors (children under the age of 18) must also submit a Parental Consent Form.

*If you don’t have a Colorado ID, submit a Proof of Identity and Residency Waiver and the required supporting documents. Proof of Identity and Residency Waivers are valid only for one year. Upon renewing your medical marijuana card, you must provide a Colorado driver’s license or photo ID.

IN PERSON: Applications may also be submitted in person Monday through Friday, 7:00am to 6:00pm. Place all application materials in a sealed envelope into the drop-box located at 710 South Ash Street in Denver, Colorado. The drop box is located on the wall inside the first set of glass doors.

CONTACT THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA REGISTRY

CDPHE
HSV-8630
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80246

Telephone: (303) 692-2184

Email: [email protected]

MEDICAL MARIJAUANA DISPENSARY OWNER LICENSESIN COLORADO

The following information regards obtaining a State MED Business License. In order to operate a business within the Colorado Medical Marijuana Industry, you must also apply for and receive a license or approval from the Local Authority within whose jurisdiction you plan to operate.

In order to obtain and maintain a MED Medical Marijuana Business License, all owners must meet each of the following statutory requirements:

  • Must be resident of Colorado at the time of application and for two years immediately prior to application
  • Must be 21 years of age or older
  • May not have any Controlled Substance felony convictions
  • May not have any other felony convictions that have not been fully discharged for five years prior to applying for your business license
  • May not have a criminal history that indicates that he or she is not of good moral character
  • May not employ, be assisted by, or financed by any person whose criminal history indicates he or she is not of good character and reputation
  • May not be a licensed physician making patient recommendations, a sheriff, deputy sheriff, police office, prosecuting officer or be an employee of a local or State Licensing Authority
  • May not employ any person at the Medical Marijuana business that has not passed a criminal history record check (obtained an MED Occupational License)
  • Must confirm that the Local Authority where you plan to operate your business allows medical marijuana facilities to operate within their jurisdiction. Click here to see a list of Local Authorities that allow medical marijuana businesses.

There are several forms that must be filled out and notarized in order to obtain a Medical Marijuana Business License. Prior to approval, you must make an appointment with the Marijuana Enforcement Division to meet with a background investigator and submit the completed application materials (forms and detailed instructions about the application process are located here). All owners must appear at the appointment. If the application is deemed complete, owners will be fingerprinted and are expected to pay the application and licensing fees. Click here for information about the MED fee schedule (effective as of July 1, 2016).

TYPES OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA BUSINESS LICENSES IN COLORADO

The Marijuana Enforcement Division issues three types of Medical Marijuana Business Licenses:

  • Medical Marijuana Center: Facility from which patients purchase medical marijuana and medical marijuana infused products. Owners of this type of facility must also own and operate at least one Medical Marijuana Optional Premises Cultivation license and produce a minimum of 70% of all on-hand inventory.
  • Medical Marijuana Infused Product Manufacturer: Facility which produces medical marijuana infused products such as edibles, concentrates (hash), tinctures, or beverages. These facilities are only authorized to wholesale their products to licensed Medical Marijuana Centers. Licensees may choose to obtain a Medical Marijuana Optional Premises Cultivation license or purchase their marijuana wholesale from licensed Medical Marijuana Centers.
  • Medical Marijuana Optional Premises Cultivation: These facilities are the only premises on which a licensee may grow, harvest, or process raw medical marijuana product to sale in retail centers or for use in infused products. There are no independent Medical Marijuana Optional Premises Cultivation licenses. In order to operate, these facilities must be associated with either a Medical Marijuana Center or an Infused Product Manufacturer facility and may only provide their product to that single entity.

Each facility is authorized to engage only in the type of activity for which it is licensed.

MEDICAL MARIJAUANA DISPENSARY EMPLOYEE LICENSESIN COLORADO

The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) issues MED Occupational Licenses to workers within medical and retail marijuana facilities and tothe vendors who provide them services. There are two types of MED Occupational Licenses, both of which are valid for 2 years:

  • Key Employee: An employee who makes operational or management decisions that directly impact the business but who does not have an ownership interest in the business (ex: supervisor, manager, or lead worker). (Cost $250)
  • Support Employee: An employee who works within the business but does not makes operational decisions (ex: bud tender). The majority of occupational license holders are in this category. (Cost $75)

All applicants initially applying for an occupational license must submit their application in person at an MED office, have their fingerprints taken, and pose for a photo that will be placed on their occupational license badge. If they pass the background check and are approved for an occupational license, the badge will be mailed to their home address of record.

CULTIVATION AND POSSESSION OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN COLORADO

Under the Colorado Medical Use of Marijuana Initiative, an approved patient may possess up to 2 ounces of medical marijuana and grow up to 6 marijuana plants (up to 3 of which can be mature andfloweringat any given time). A caregiver may also possess this amount on their patient’s behalf. There are 4 types of medical marijuana caregivers in Colorado: a parent caregiver, an advising caregiver who assists patients with dosing and product selection, a transporting caregiver who purchases and transports medical marijuana to homebound patients, and a cultivating caregiver who grows marijuana for a patient. Caregivers are limited to 5 patients each and can cultivate up to36 plants, although state law allows for exceptions for medical necessity or for patients living in areas with limited access to medical marijuana centers.

COLORADO RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA LAWS

The following information is for the non-medical/recreational use of marijuana. Refer to COLORADO MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAWS for information about medical marijuana laws in Colorado.

Since Colorado voters passed Amendment 64 in 2012, adults aged 21 and over are legally allowed to grow up to 6 marijuana plants (three of which can be flowering) and possess all of the marijuana that they grow. Additionally, those who are 21 and over are allowed to purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana at a time.

PENALTIES AND FINES

Offense Penalty Incarceration Max. Fine
Possession
Personal Use
One oz or less* no penalty none $ 0
Transfer of one oz or less for no remuneration* no penalty none $ 0
Open and public displays or uses of less than 2 oz petty offense none $ 100
2 – 6 oz misdemeanor 1 year $ 1,000
6 – 12 oz misdemeanor 18 mos $ 5,000
More than 12 oz felony 1 – 2 years $ 100,000
* By persons 21 years of age or older.
With Intent to Distribute
Possession of 8 oz or more is considered possession with the intent to distribute will enhance the sentence.
Sale or Distribution
4 oz or less misdemeanor 6 – 18 mos $ 5,000
4 – 12 oz felony 6 mos – 2 years $ 100,000
12 oz – 5 lbs felony 2 – 6 years $ 500,000
5 lbs – 50 lbs felony 4 – 16 years $ 750,000
more than 50 lbs felony 8 – 32 years $ 1,000,000
Sale to a minor carries additional penalties.
Cultivation
6 plants or fewer* no penalty none $ 0
6 – 29 plants felony 6 mos – 2 years $ 100,000
30 or more plants felony 2 – 6 years $ 500,000
* By persons 21 years of age or older.
Hash & Concentrates
Possession of 1oz or less no penalty none $ 0
Possession of 1-3 oz misdemeanor 6 – 18 mos $ 5,000
Possession of more than 3 oz felony 6mos– 2 years $ 100,000
Distribute, transfer, or possess with intent 1 – 100 lbs misdemeanor 6 – 18 mos $ 5,000
Distribute, transfer, or possession with intent to sell of 2 oz – 6 oz felony 6 mos – 2 years $ 100,000
Distribute, transfer, or possession with intent to sell of 6 oz – 2.5 lb felony 2 – 6 years $ 500,000
Distribute, transfer, or possession with intent to sell of 2.5lb– 25 lb felony 4 – 16 years $ 750,000
Distribute, transfer, or possession with intent to sell of more than 25 lb felony 8 – 32 years $ 1,000,000
There are enhanced penalties for the sale, transfer or dispensing to a minor.
Paraphernalia
Possession of paraphernalia petty offense N/A $ 100

RETAIL MARIJAUANA BUSINESS OWNER LICENSES IN COLORADO

In order to be eligible to apply for a Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) Retail Marijuana Business License all owners must meet each of the following statutory requirements:

  • Must be resident of Colorado at time of application and for two years immediately prior to application
  • Must be 21 years of age
  • May not have any Controlled Substance felony conviction in the ten years immediately preceding his or her application date or five years from May 28, 2013, whichever is longer*
  • May not have any other felony convictions that have not been fully discharged for five years immediately preceding his or her application date
  • May not be financed in whole or in part by any other person whose criminal history indicates he or she is not a good moral character and reputation satisfactory to the respective licensing authority
  • May not have a criminal history that indicates that he or she is not of good moral character
  • May not employ, be assisted by or financed in whole in in part by any other person whose criminal history indicates he or she is not of good character and reputation
  • May not be a sheriff, deputy sheriff, police office, prosecuting officer or be an employee of a local or State Licensing Authority
  • May not employ any person at the Retail Marijuana business that has not passed a criminal history record check (obtained an MED Occupational or Associated Person license).

*The Licensing Authority may grant a license to a person if the person has a state felony conviction based on possession or use of marijuana or marijuana concentrate that would not be a felony if the person were convicted of the offense on the date he or she applied.

Click here to see a list of Local Authorities that allow retail marijuana businesses to operate within their jurisdiction.

TYPES OF RETAIL MARIJUANA BUSINESS LICENSES IN COLORADO

The Marijuana Enforcement Division is authorized to issue four types of Retail Marijuana Business Licenses:

  • Retail Marijuana Store: facility from which any individual twenty-one years of age or older may purchase up to 1 ounce of marijuana. Retail Marijuana may not be cultivated or processed under this license.
  • Retail Marijuana Product Manufacturing: used exclusively for the manufacture and preparation of retail marijuana products and concentrates. Retail Marijuana may not be cultivated or sold to retail customers under this license – all sales must be made wholesale to Retail Marijuana Stores. If this license class chooses to own and operate a cultivation facility it may not sale any of the retail marijuana that it cultivates except for the retail marijuana that is contained in its products.
  • Retail Marijuana Cultivation: used exclusively for the cultivation of Retail Marijuana plants and the harvesting of Retail Marijuana. If not associated with a Product Manufacturer, this licensee may sale Retail Marijuana to other cultivations, stores, or product manufacturers within the Colorado Regulated system.
  • Retail Marijuana Testing Facility: facility that preforms testing and research on Retail Marijuana for other MED licensees.

To apply for one of the above licenses, visit the Retail Marijuana Business License Application Process.

RETAIL MARIJAUANA EMPLOYEE LICENSES IN COLORADO

The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) issues MED Occupational Licenses to workers within medical and retail marijuana facilities and tothe vendors who provide them services. There are two types of MED Occupational Licenses, both of which are valid for 2 years:

  • Key Employee: An employee who makes operational or management decisions that directly impact the business but who does not have an ownership interest in the business (ex: supervisor, manager, or lead worker). (Cost $250)
  • Support Employee: An employee who works within the business but does not makes operational decisions (ex: bud tender). The majority of occupational license holders are in this category. (Cost $75)

All applicants initially applying for an occupational license must submit their application in person at an MED office, have their fingerprints taken, and pose for a photo that will be placed on their occupational license badge. If they pass the background check and are approved for an occupational license, the badge will be mailed to their home address of record.

THE COLORADO MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION INITIATIVE, AMENDMENT 64 (2012)

The Colorado Marijuana Legalization Amendment, also known as Amendment 64, was on the November 6, 2012 ballot in Colorado and was approved by 55.3% of voters. The measure legalized marijuana to allow individuals who are 21 years or older to possess, use, display, purchase, transport, and transfer up to one ounce of marijuana to other adults. The measure allows adults to grow their own marijuana or to purchase marijuana from a licensed retail marijuana store. Adults may possess up to six marijuana plants (up to three of which can be mature and flowering at any given time) as well as the marijuana harvested from the plants. Marijuana plants must be kept in an enclosed and locked space, not grown openly or publicly, and the marijuana harvested must remain on the premises where the plants were grown. Amendment 64 also required the state legislature to enact legislation concerning the growth, processing, and sale of industrial hemp.

Amendments 64’s Ballot Language:

“Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning marijuana, and, in connection therewith, providing for the regulation of marijuana; permitting a person twenty-one years of age or older to consume or possess limited amounts of marijuana; providing for the licensing of cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and retail stores; permitting local governments to regulate or prohibit such facilities; requiring the general assembly to enact an excise tax to be levied upon wholesale sales of marijuana; requiring that the first $40 million in revenue raised annually by such tax be credited to the public school capital construction assistance fund; and requiring the general assembly to enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp?”

Read the Full Text of Colorado Amendment 64

PROPOSITION AA, TAXES ON THE RETAIL SALES OF MARIJUANA (2013)

On November 5, 2013 Proposition AA (also known as House Bill 13-1318) was approved by 65.3% of Colorado voters. Proposition AA imposed a 15% excise tax on all recreational marijuana sales, the first $40 million of which is earmarked to fund the construction of schools. Proposition AA also imposed a 10% sales tax on the retail sales of marijuana, which is in addition to Colorado’s 2.9% sales tax and any local sales taxes. The sales tax revenue generated from Proposition AA is designated to fund the regulation and monitoring of Colorado’s retail marijuana businesses, with 85% allocated to the state and 15% transferred to local governments (allocated proportionally based upon the retail marijuana sales in each jurisdiction). Proposition AA also specified that the General Assembly could raise or lower the tax rates on retail marijuana without additional voter approval, but the rates could not exceed 15%.

Proposition AA’s Ballot Language:

“Shall state taxes be increased by $70,000,000 annually in the first full fiscal year and by such amounts as are raised annually thereafter by imposing an excise tax of 15% when unprocessed retail marijuana is first sold or transferred by a retail marijuana cultivation facility with the first $40,000,000 of tax revenues being used for public school capital construction as required by the state constitution, and by imposing an additional sales tax of 10% on the sale of retail marijuana and retail marijuana products with the tax revenues being used to fund the enforcement of regulations on the retail marijuana industry and other costs related to the implementation of the use and regulation of retail marijuana as approved by the voters, with the rate of either or both taxes being allowed to be decreased or increased without further voter approval so long as the rate of either tax does not exceed 15%, and with the resulting tax revenue being allowed to be collected and spent notwithstanding any limitations provided by law?”

Read the Full Text of Proposition AA

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