International

Recreational Cannabis in the U.S.A: Colorado

By Whitney Abrams | August 3, 2017

In 2014, Colorado became the first state to initiate legal recreational cannabis sales with Amendment 64, which amended the state’s Constitution and addressed a recreational regime.

Under the regime, adults over 21 years old may legally possess 1 ounce of cannabis. House Bill 1266, which becomes effective on August 9 of this year, allows those who were convicted of cannabis-related misdemeanours to petition for sealing their criminal records in the event that their behaviour wouldn’t have been a criminal offence had it occurred after December 10, 2012.  Personal cultivation is legal, up to a maximum of 6 plants per household.

As of June 2016, individuals (either residents or tourists, which were previously subject to purchasing restrictions) are entitled to purchase up to 28 grams of cannabis in a “single transaction.”  In October 2016, new rules came into effect with respect to measuring equivalents for concentrate and edibles.  1 ounce of flower was deemed to be equivalent to either 8 grams of concentrate, including shatter, or 800 mg of edibles.

House Bill 1203, which came into effect in May, authorizes counties and municipalities to levy, collect and enforce a special sales tax on recreational cannabis and cannabis products from retail sales.  These taxes are subject to voter approval under the House Bill.

The Marijuana Enforcement Division grants MED Marijuana Business Licenses to centers, cultivators, product manufacturers, testing facilities, etc.  Only licensees MED may sell recreational cannabis in a retail storefront setting.  Licensees are the only ones able to advertise as well. This was materialized in Senate Bill 15, passed in September, 2017, which makes it a level 2 drug misdemeanour for someone who is not licensed to sell recreational cannabis to advertise sales of cannabis or cannabis concentrates.

Driving under the influence and consuming cannabis “openly and publicly” are both strictly illegal under Amendment 64.  Although Amsterdam-type cafes are not strictly prohibited under that definition, very few bars and clubs with on-site consumption exist, mostly with membership-based passes to access “private” areas.

Keep checking back as we continue to review the recreational cannabis regimes across the U.S.A.  


Whitney Abrams

Whitney Abrams

Whitney’s work focuses on providing regulatory advice and advocating on behalf of cannabis businesses in the North American market. She is a frequent contributor to Canada Cannabis Legal.
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Comments (3)

  1. Jules:
    Dec 29, 2018 at 12:53 AM

    Fascinating article. Very in depth. My one question is: from where would Canada import cannabis? Are there countries currently exporting cannabis legally? Uraguay seems like the most economical source, although shipping costs could be an issue.

  2. miss lena:
    Feb 24, 2019 at 01:52 PM


    All labels will need to be plain, not appealing to children, and make no health claims. For edibles, there may be no dietary claims, and for topicals, there may be no cosmetic claims. For all of the new product classes, packaging and labelling must not contain any elements that associate the product with an alcoholic beverage, alcohol, or an alcohol brand.

  3. miss lena:
    Feb 24, 2019 at 01:52 PM

    All labels will need to be plain, not appealing to children, and make no health claims. For edibles, there may be no dietary claims, and for topicals, there may be no cosmetic claims. For all of the new product classes, packaging and labelling must not contain any elements that associate the product with an alcoholic beverage, alcohol, or an alcohol brand.






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