Colorado

Do I need a Cannabis Retail License to Open?

Yes, a license is required for both medical and adult-use dispensaries. Colorado voters legalized recreational adult-use cannabis in 2012 with Amendment 64. Medical marijuana was approved by voters with Initiative 20 in 2000.

What are the Cannabis Regulatory Agencies?

Cannabis regulation and licensing is handled by the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED), a division of the Colorado Department of Revenue. The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) oversees the Medical Marijuana Registry

How can I apply for a license in Colorado?

Applications can be mailed or dropped off at the MED office in Lakewood. Applicants must undergo a fingerprint background check and must prove at least two years of residency in the state of Colorado.

How much does a dispensary license cost?

Colorado cannabis retailers will pay a one time fee of $4,500 plus $2,500 fee to the municipality at the time of application. Annual renewal is $1,800.

Will I need to get local authorization to get a license?

Yes. The cannabis business owner requires authorization from the MED and the local government to operate. Cross reference all county and local laws regarding cannabis businesses. Some municipalities have strict rules or bans on cannabis businesses.

What are the customer age requirements for Colorado?

For recreational cannabis, sales are open to any resident or non-resident 21 years and over. For medical marijuana, patients 18 and up can apply while minors under 18 can apply with parental guardian approval.

What time can I open and close my dispensary?

State law dictates that dispensaries may operate any time between 8:00am and 12:00am though local ordinances may restrict hours. For instance, Denver dispensaries must close at 10:00pm due to local ordinance.

Who do I report to for state compliance?

Daily reports through the Metrc system are required to be submitted to the MED.

Are there daily purchase limits on cannabis?

Yes. Colorado has an “equivalency” guideline that allows up to one ounce cannabis (or equivalent product i.e. one ounce of flower = 800mg of edibles = 8g of concentrate). Customers may only purchase up to the one ounce equivalency per day. Cannabis retailers are responsible for making sure customers do not “loop” and purchase more than the daily purchase limit. Colorado compliance enforcement takes looping very seriously, and large dispensaries have lost their license due to looping.

Can I start a delivery service in Colorado?

Yes. Colorado legalized medical marijuana deliveries in 2020 and recreational deliveries in 2021. Permits for medical, recreational, and third party delivery services are available through the MED application process.