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Colorado's Medical Marijuana Laws & Regulations
Colorado has two medical cannabis laws. Colorado's first and oldest medical cannabis law is a citizens’ initiative called Amendment 20 that 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 (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.
Both of Colorado's medical cannabis laws permit 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. By familiarizing yourself with the following information, you will be better equipped to navigate Colorado's complex medical cannabis regulatory system and handle a law enforcement encounter, should one ever occur. However, Colorado's medical cannabis laws are constantly changing so please conduct your own research on new developments in the law.
There are two sets of regulations that govern Colorado’s medical marijuana program. The rules pertaining to patients, caregivers, and physicians are contained in 5 CCR 1006-2, issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The rules for dispensaries have created a vertically integrated closed-loop model and are carried out by the Marijuana Enforcement Division (or “MED”).
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 2017, the legislature passed HB 1034, concerning licensing changes to the medical marijuana code to conform with the retail marijuana code.
Amendment 20 to Colorado's State Constitution - Codified in Article 18, Section 14 5 CCR (Code of Colorado Regulations) 1006-2: Medical use of marijuana
Colorado Revised Statutes 18-18-406.3 - Medical use of marijuana by persons diagnosed with debilitating medical conditions — unlawful acts — penalty — medical marijuana program cash fund.
Colorado Revised Statute 25-1.5-106 - Medical marijuana program — powers and duties of department.
HB 1284 (2010) - Medical Marijuana regulations
HB 1043 (2011) - Medical Marijuana program
SB 109 (2010) - Medical Marijuana Doctor/Patient Relations
SB 14 (2015) - Caregiver registration with the Marijuana Enforcement Division
HB 1371 (2016) - 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 (2016) - Marijuana Owner Changes
HB 1034 (2017) - Concerning licensing changes to the medical marijuana code to conform with the retail marijuana code.