Colorado Legal Information
Colorado's original medical cannabis law is a citizens’ initiative passed in 2000 called Amendment 20 that amends the state constitution to authorize patients to use and possess up to two ounces of medical cannabis, cultivate up to six plants (3 mature, 3 immature), and be assisted by a caregiver. Colorado's second medical cannabis law, the Colorado Medical Marijuana Code (C.R.S. 12-43.3-101 et seq.), was enacted by the legislature in the summer of 2010 to establish a dual licensing mechanism that regulates medical cannabis business at both the state and local level. Colorado allows local governments to adopt regulations regarding medical marijuana businesses and patient and caregiver conduct, which has led to unequal application of the law, selective enforcement, and different interpretations of the law. In addition, the Colorado Medical Marijuana Code permits various state agencies to continuously enact new regulations for the medical cannabis community. The Department of Public Health and Environment oversees the patient and caregiver registry, while the Marijuana Enforcement Division of the Department of Revenue regulates dispensaries, cultivation, and manufacturing.
In 2016, the legislature passed 2 bills pertaining to the medical cannabis program. HB 1371 that created protections for children and their parents from being punished for possessing and consuming their medical cannabis on campus or not being admitted into a school based on their medical cannabis patient status. SB 40 extends ownership rights of cannabis businesses to non-Colorado residents
In This Section
View and print the Colorado MMJ State Report Card from our latest report: Medical Marijuana Access in the U.S. A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws.
Amendment 20 amends the state constitution to authorize patients to possess and use medical cannabis and to be assisted by a caregiver. Colorado's second medical cannabis law, the Colorado Medical Marijuana Code, was enacted to establish a dual licensing mechanism that regulates medical cannabis business at both the state and local level.
Unfortunately, patients, caregivers, and providers are still vulnerable to federal and state arrests, prosecutions, and incarceration. They also suffer pervasive discrimination in employment, child custody, housing, public accommodation, education and medical care.
Any patient with a valid registry card may legally use marijuana for medicinal purposes and their caregiver may assist them in doing so.
Medical professionals recommending medical cannabis must be an MD or DO with an active Colorado medical license. Physicians with conditions or restrictions on their licenses, or out-of-state licenses, are not accepted. Physicians must have an active DEA certification.
Every state has varying laws and regulations for caregivers, cultivators and medical cannabis providers. This section includes an overview of state requirements and links to necessary forms and applications.