Registered Patient Population
of Total Population Represented by Patients
Total Medical Retail Locations Currently in Operation
18,110 : 1
Patients : Retail

Cannabis is legal to all adults over 21 in Colorado. Dispensaries are widely available throughout the state. Patients may cultivate up to six plants, or 12 per household, at home. While in public, adults may possess up to 1 ounce, while patients may possess up to 2. Colorado does not recognize out of state medical cannabis cards.

Colorado’s first legal protections for patients were established in 2016 when the legislature passed two bills pertaining to the medical cannabis program. HB 1371 created protections for children and their parents by eliminating any government-directed punitive response for possessing and consuming medical cannabis on campus, and by prohibiting the use of a minor’s patient status as a reason for denying that child admission into a school. SB 40 extended ownership rights of cannabis businesses to non-Colorado residents. Since then, there have been further improvements in the laws and regulations in Colorado. Details on how these laws apply to patients and medical professionals can be found below.

In 2017, Colorado statute § 24-72-710 required courts to seal all records of misdemeanor cannabis offenses which would have been legal on or after state legalization of cannabis on December 10, 2012. In 2021, this statute was expanded to include class-3 felony cannabis-cultivation offenses. Refer to the Colorado cannabis website for more information.

On June 15, 2020, the bipartisan House Bill 20-1424 allowing the governor to grant pardons for possession of at most two ounces of cannabis. In 2020, an unconditional pardon was given to those convicted of possession of up to one ounce of cannabis or less, prior to the state legalization.

Home cultivation is allowed in Colorado, for adults 21 and older. Six cannabis plants can be grown for medical or adult use, but only three mature plants at any given time. Medical cannabis patients may petition to grow more. Caregivers with more than one patient can grow up to 36 plants, serving up to five patients.

NOTICE: It can be challenging for patients to determine which businesses offering cannabis products are licensed and approved by the state. Review this list of medical cannabis retailers and/or a list of adult use retailers to find out where to purchase regulated cannabis in Colorado. 

Traveling? Get more information about traveling in the US here. 

Navigating Colorado State Laws:

Patients and Caregivers: Enrolling and Accessing Medical Cannabis

Medical Professionals: Procedures for recommending Medical Cannabis

Policymakers and Advocates: Actions Needed to Improve Laws for Patients

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Take Action!

Here is a breakdown of how Colorado fared in ASA’s Annual State of the States Report, which evaluates the effectiveness of each state cannabis program from a patient perspective and assigns a grade using a rubric that reflects the key issues affecting patient access. Medical cannabis laws are constantly changing, ASA’s policy recommendations for Colorado can be found below. For policy updates sign up here.

Patient Rights and Civil Protections 50/100   
Arrest Protection 25/25
Affirmative Defense 20/20
Parental Rights Protections 0/20
Employment Protections 0/20
DUI Protections 0/10
Explicit Privacy Standards 5/5
Access to Medicine 80/100   
Authorizes Retail Access 10/10
Alternative Accessibility Methods 20/20
- Authorizes Delivery 10/10
- Authorizes Curbside Pickup 10/10
Personal Cultivation 15/15
Collective Gardening 0/5
Sufficient Number of Licensed Retailers 30/30
Reciprocity 5/20
Program Functionality 65/100   
Legal Protections Within Reasonable Time Frame 20/20
Reasonable Possession Limits 10/10
Reasonable Purchase Limits 10/10
Telemedicine for Physician Certifications 0/15
Patient and Physician Representation in Program Decision Making 0/20
Reasonable Caregiver Standards 5/5
- Background Checks 2/2
- Number of Caregivers 3/3
Reasonable Physician Standards 5/5
Access to Administration Methods 10/10
- Allows Dried Flower 5/5
- Allows Edibles, Concentrates, and Other Forms 5/5
Provides Access to Minors on School Grounds 5/5
Affordability 60/100   
Sales Tax Break for Patients and Caregivers 20/20
Covered by State Insurance or Health Aid 0/20
Reasonable Registration Fees 20/20
Financial Hardship Waivers or Discounts 20/20
Donation Program 0/10
Allows Multi-Year Registrations 0/10
Health and Social Equity 82/100   
State Program Protections 25/25
Housing Protections 20/25
Access for Minors 10/10
Access in Underserved Areas 10/10
List of Qualifying Conditions is Exhaustive or All Inclusive 10/10
Allows Patients to Medicate Where they Choose 5/10
Organ Transplants 0/5
Ownership or Employment Restrictions 2/5
Consumer Protection and Product Safety 150/200   
Cultivation Operations 32/50
Quality Management Systems 0/10
Staff Training 10/10
Standard Operating Procedures 6/8
- Facility and Equipment Sanitation 1/1
- Workplace Safety 0/1
- Storage 1/1
- Batch and Lot Tracking 1/1
- Security 1/1
- Waste Disposal 1/1
- Water Management 0/1
- Records Management 1/1
Pesticide Usage Limitations 2/2
Environmental Impact Regulations 1/2
Required Testing 6/8
- Cannabinoids 1/1
- Terpenes 0/1
- Microbials 1/1
- Aflatoxins 1/1
- Pesticides 1/1
- Heavy Metals 1/1
- Foreign Matter 0/1
- Moisture Content/ Water Activity 1/1
Packaging and Labeling 1/3
- Cannabinoids 1/1
- Terpenes 0/1
- Pesticides 0/1
Complaints, Adverse Event Reporting, and Recall Protocol 6/7
Manufacturing Operations 33/50
Quality Management Systems 0/10
Staff Training 10/10
Standard Operating Procedures 7/7
- Facility and Equipment Sanitation 1/1
- Workplace Safety 1/1
- Storage 1/1
- Batch and Lot Tracking 1/1
- Security 1/1
- Waste Disposal 1/1
- Records Management 1/1
Environmental Impact Regulations 2/3
Required Testing 7/10
- Cannabinoids 1/1
- Terpenes 0/1
- Microbials 1/1
- Aflatoxins 1/1
- Pesticides 1/1
- Heavy Metals 1/1
- Residual Solvents 1/1
- Homogeneity 1/1
- Foreign Matter 0/1
- Water Activity 0/1
Packaging and Labeling 3/5
- Cannabinoids 1/1
- Terpenes 0/1
- Ingredients 1/1
- Allergens 1/1
- Nutritional Content 0/1
Complaints, Adverse Event Reporting and Recall Protocol 4/5
Dispensary Operations 40/50
Staff Training 20/20
Standard Operating Procedures 3/7
- Facility Sanitation 0/1
- Workplace Safety 0/1
- Storage 0/1
- Batch and Lot Tracking 1/1
- Security 1/1
- Waste Disposal 1/1
- Records Management 0/1
Product Testing 5/10
- Product Meets Requirements Before Sale 5/5
- COA Disclosure 0/5
Complaints, Adverse Event Reporting and Recall Protocol 12/13
Laboratory Operations 45/50
Independent or Third-Party 5/5
Laboratory Sampling 0/5
Method Validation 4/4
Quality Management Systems 5/5
Staff Training 20/20
Standard Operating Procedures 7/7
- Facility and Equipment Sanitation 1/1
- Equipment and Instrument Calibration 1/1
- Workplace Safety 1/1
- Sample Tracking 1/1
- Security 1/1
- Waste Disposal 1/1
- Records Management 1/1
Result Reporting 4/4
Score Penalties 20/100   
Gives Regulatory Preference to Adult Use 20/20
Classifies Cannabis as a Medicine of Last Resort 0/15
Administrative or Supply Problems 0/15
Requires Vertical Integration 0/10
Creates New Criminal Penalties for Patients 0/10
Limits Patients to a Single Retailer 0/10
No System for Adding Qualifying Conditions 0/10
Imposes Bans or Limits on THC 0/5
Imposes Bans or Limits on CBD 0/5
Excerpted from ASA's 2022 State of the States Report.
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