Policy Recommendations Colorado

2019-2020 Improvements and Recommendations for Colorado

Many Colorado patients were eager to see what the return of the former U.S. House member and cannabis reform champion Jared Polis would mean for policy improvements in the Centennial State. In Governor Polis' first year in office, he did not disappoint, signing into law measures permitting cannabis delivery to medical and adult-use consumers from licensed retail storefronts, as well as approving legislation that authorizes cannabis hospitality spaces. Under the new law, medical and adult-use retail facilities may permit onsite consumption of cannabis products subject to local government approval. The law also allows retail food establishments to apply for cannabis hospitality licences also subject to local approval. Governor Polis also signed into law a bill that adds autism spectrum disorders to the list of medical conditions eligible for medical cannabis treatment. While this addition is critically important for autism spectrum disorder patients, ASA urges Colorado lawmakers to consider disbanding the list of eligible medical conditions entirely in favor of permitting physicians to determine whether or not cannabis treatment is appropriate for a patient's treatment.

In 2020, Colorado organized COVID emergency response measures that maintained and even improved previous access laws. These important program expansion features include authorization of telehealth visits for patient registration renewals, and permission for pre-ordering, curbside pickup, and delivery services. ASA encourages state lawmakers and regulators to make these provisions permanent to improve patient access going forward.

Not all of the state's 2019 reforms were positive, including a new law setting limits on the amount of medical cannabis products that a legal retailer may sell to an individual in one day. For flower, the limit is two ounces, for concentrate, the limit is 20 grams, though the law allows a physician to provide an exemption to the limits. The imposition of these limits and need for a physician exemption impose unnecessary burdens on patient access, and ASA recommends that these new rules be revisited to optimize convenience of access for the state's patients.