Colorado Finalizes Cannabis Rules


The Colorado cannabis industry has just passed another significant milestone. On October 1, 2014, the rule that required marijuana cultivators to be tied to a specific dispensary has expired; and now wholesale producers are free to sell to any properly licensed entity.

In addition to the expiring rule, the Marijuana Enforcement Division has also updated and streamlined rules and regulations for the industry, as well as lowered some of the licensing fees. What are these changes and what do they mean for you? Let’s take a look at some of them.

The controversial rule that would have capped greenhouse cannabis production by half of what warehouse operations are allowed to grow failed to gain approval. Regulators initially wanted to cap greenhouse productions since greenhouse grow operations typically yield larger plants than indoor growing. By limiting greenhouse production you keep warehouse and greenhouse production on an even keel.

Unfortunately for regulators, many of growers in the industry were angered by the proposed changes. The reason for the anger was that many saw the changes as giving an unfair advantage to deep-pocketed industry members over newcomers, as many can neither afford to lease the expensive warehouse property or pay the energy bills even if they had the space. Due to the mounting pressure, the rule was rejected.

The MED did, however, approve new production limits for medical marijuana dispensaries that have transitioned to recreational marijuana. Under the new rules, production limits are imposed based upon their dispensary “type.” There are three dispensary types:

  • Type 1 – 300 or fewer patients
  • Type 2 – 301-500 patients
  • Type 3 – 501 or more patients

Transitioning type 1 dispensaries can grow up to 3,600 plants, type 2 dispensaries can grow up to 6,000, and type 3 dispensaries can grow up to 10,200 plants. Brand new dispensaries have to start out at 3,600 plants. If new or smaller dispensaries want to increase their production cap, they must be able to prove that they sell at least 85 percent of their inventory. Dispensaries that have reached their 10,200 limit will not be given a waiver to increase production.

For those selling marijuana concentrates or products with marijuana concentrates in it, you now must be completely aware of every step of the production process, even if you’re not directly involved in a particular step. If you are using chemicals to extract your cannabis oil, it must be in a laboratory. However, if your extraction is water based, you just have to follow proper hygiene standards.

There are far more changes to the marijuana regulations than just the few discussed today. If you have a spare moment, peruse the new rules. You can find them at the Colorado Department of Revenue.

Overall, the changes adopted by the MED are welcomed ones. Colorado continues to pave the way in sensible cannabis regulation and has truly become the model for marijuana legalization. The newly adopted rules will take effect October 30, 2014.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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