A few new marijuana rules went into effect on New Year’s Day in Colorado including allowances for medical marijuana delivery services. Colorado cannabis dispensaries will be able to apply for a permit to deliver medical marijuana orders directly to patients. In 2021, cannabis retailers will be able to deliver recreational marijuana, which should make for an easy transition.
The new regulations are a result of a couple of bills being passed in 2019 under Governor Jared Polis. House Bills 1230 and 1234 are now being implemented but seemingly only at the discretion of local governments. Business owners in these cities can still apply for a state license but are encouraged to check with local officials to see if they are ready for implementation.
The Denver Department of Excise and Licenses hasn’t yet indicated if they will opt-in or out of the new marijuana rules. If they do opt-in, they’ll be responsible for reviewing new cannabis license applications. Department spokesman, Eric Escudero, recently explained that, “Denver has not decided officially yet whether we will opt in or opt out.”
Denver is making social equity a priority when considering new licenses for business owners. Escudero was quick to point out that, “So many people were negatively impacted, disproportionately over 50-plus years of the war on drugs, so we have to make sure, if we’re going to issue licenses, that people won’t miss out on opportunities to be involved in that business because maybe they were impacted in the past because of the color of their skin or their race.”
One of the new laws passed, House Bill 1230, will create two new types of marijuana-related businesses in Colorado. Businesses can apply to be licensed as a tasting room where cannabis can be sold and consumed on-site in designated areas. The law also allows for “marijuana hospitality establishments,” which permit the on-site consumption of marijuana, but won’t be able to sell it.
Hospitality establishments can be stationary, like a coffee shop, or mobile, as like a tour bus or limo. To be permitted as a mobile establishment it must be a “self-propelled vehicle that is designed primarily for travel on the public highways and that is generally and commonly used to transport persons and property over the public highways or a low-speed electric vehicle.”
Colorado cannabis dispensaries will also be able to collect containers, packages and cartridges for recycling starting in 2020. Additionally, industrial hemp, which had been limited for sale only in medical marijuana stores, can now be sold by recreational marijuana retailers as well.
The new rules for Colorado cannabis dispensaries will have a significant impact on the industry. Director of the Marijuana Enforcement Division, Jim Burack elaborated on the rule-making process saying, “We encouraged an even more collaborative approach to rule development where work group participants utilized their experience and expertise within stakeholder teams to engage more directly in the drafting of rule language,” said Jim Burack, director of the Marijuana Enforcement Division.