In order to protect the public, the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) heavily regulates the cannabis industry. Marijuana may have been fully legalized in Colorado since 2012, but the industry is still in infancy. Because of this, the cannabis sector continues to change at a rapid pace.
Every year the MED updates its rules and regulations in hopes of catching up with the expansive field. Understanding these regulations is crucial for a marijuana business but can be complicated to navigate on your own. It’s imperative you speak with an attorney to ensure you are in full compliance with state and local marijuana business regulations.
Marijuana Compliance Attorney in Colorado Springs, CO
Failing to comply with MED regulations can be devastating to your marijuana business. You could have your license suspended, revoked or be required to pay expensive fines. Don’t let this happen to the business you’ve worked so hard for.
Clifton Black at Law Offices of Clifton Black, P.C. has nearly a decade of experience dealing with licensing authorities. He will use this experience to your advantage and attempt to work out a settlement with the licensing authorities or have the violations dropped. Call (719) 328-1616 to schedule a time to speak with Mr. Black more about your situation.
Law Offices of Clifton Black, P.C. defends clients of marijuana business violations in areas such as El Paso County, Crowley County, Lincoln County, Elbert County and Douglas County.
- Regulations for the Retail Marijuana Industry
- What are the Regulations for the Medical Marijuana Sector?
- Penalties for Regulation Violations
- Additional Resources
Regulations for the Retail Marijuana Industry
As mentioned earlier, the retail marijuana industry is densely regulated. To further drive this point, the Retail Marijuana Rules, which is the governing text of the recreational cannabis industry, is nearly 250 pages long. As you can imagine, discussing every rule for a retail marijuana business would take ages.
Thankfully, Law Offices of Clifton Black, P.C. has put together a guide of some of the most important regulations in the retail marijuana industry. Listed below are some of those regulations:
Retail Marijuana Sales/Store:
Any brick and mortar store selling retail marijuana products is required to abide by strict guidelines. A complete list of limitations and prohibited acts can be found in Section 402 of the Retail Marijuana Rules. Some of the most notable regulations of this section include the following:
- Products are prohibited from being sold to anyone under 21
- A licensee must verify a purchaser has a valid government-issued photo ID showing they are 21
- No more than one ounce of flower or eight grams of concentrates can be sold to a customer
- Only sell retail products purchased from a retail manufacturer
- Products can only be displayed in a designated restricted access area and not visible from outside the licensed premises
- Employees of the store cannot be compensated using performance-based sales incentives
According to data from the University of Colorado Boulder, there was a demand for 302 metric tons of marijuana in 2017 to fuel the retail marijuana industry. To ensure products are up to standard, operators and employers of cultivation facility must abide by specific regulations. Some of these regulations include:
- Marijuana product packaging must not be designed to appeal to children
- A cultivation facility cannot sell retail marijuana to consumers
- Products cannot be given or sold to a transporter
- Marijuana products should not be consumed on the licensed premise
Product Manufacturing Facility:
Retail product manufacturing faculties are one of the most regulated sectors of the retail cannabis industry. These facilities are tasked with taking marijuana flowers and transforming them into other consumable products such as cookies, pills and lotions. Regulations for this sector range from how products should be tracked to how much THC can be in the products.
Listed below are examples of regulations for a retail marijuana manufacturing facility:
- All edible marijuana products can only include up to 100 milligrams of active THC
- Have a valid ServSafe Food Handler Certificate
- Use the inventory tracking system
- The facility must reconcile transaction to the tracking system by the end of each business day
- Edibles in the shape of humans, animals or fruit are prohibited
- Have a written standard operating procedure for each retail product produced
What are the Regulations for the Medical Marijuana Sector?
There are many differences between medical and retail marijuana. Not only is access for minors approved, but medical patients can possess more and purchased flowers with more potency at a lower cost. As with the retail industry, the medicinal sector is heavily regulated to ensure patients receive high-quality medicine.
There are a vast number of regulations to abide by if you get into the medical marijuana industry. In fact, the code which governs medicinal businesses is 293 pages long. These laws are continually changing, so staying up to date can be an arduous task. Your best option is to speak with a marijuana business attorney who is well informed on state and local medical marijuana regulations.
Listed below are some of the state regulations for different sectors in the medical marijuana industry.
Medical Marijuana Sales/Store:
Similar to a retail cannabis store, every medical marijuana store is required to comply with regulations set forth by the MED. Failing to do so can result in a revoked license and fines. Listed below are some of the required regulations of medical marijuana stores:
- (Effective 4/1/19) Only possess ounces equal to the greater of:
- The total number of ounces of medical products the center sold to patients over 30 days; or
- Twice the total number of medical products all registered patients are allowed to possess
- Transfer no more than two ounces to a patient unless given documentation from a physician
- Any area where medical products are sold shall be clearly labeled with a 12 inch by 12-inch sign reading “Restricted Access Area-Only Medical Marijuana Patients Allowed.”
- All staff of the center must complete a responsible vendor program
- All staff working in direct contact with products must maintain personal cleanliness while on duty
- Use the inventory tracking system
Optional Premises Cultivation (OPC):
The most significant regulation of an OPC is the operation is affiliated with either a medical marijuana center or an infused product manufacturer. Other notable requirements include the following:
- (Effective 4/1/19) Have no more plants than permitted based on production management class
- Follow all state, federal and local laws when using agricultural chemicals aside from pesticide
- Establish written operating procedures for cultivation, harvest, drying, curing, packaging, storing and testing
- Document changes in cultivation procedures
- Do not use any of the forbidden chemicals such as aldrin, dieldrin, mirex and safrole
- Safely destroy all medical marijuana products that fail the required testing
Infused Product Manufacture:
With the surge in the marijuana industry, new ways to consume the plant have been developed. Now, in addition to smoking flowers, consumers can eat edible infused with THC, ingest pills and smoke oils. To produce such products, a medical marijuana-infused product manufacturer license is required.
Some of the regulations governing this license include:
- Provide refrigeration for perishable infused products
- Ensure manufacturing process is designed so cannabinoid content is the same for all products
- Each owner and occupational licensee have a valid ServSafe Food Handler Certification
- No commercially manufactured food products are used in the production of edibles
- Medical marijuana concentrates can only be produced with approved solvents such as butane, CO2, ethanol and acetone
- Provide adequate training to every employee who produces medical concentrates
Penalties for Regulation Violations
A lot of time, money and sweat goes into starting a marijuana business. Failing to comply with the regulations set forth by the state can result in your business license being suspended, having to pay expensive fines or having restrictions placed on a license.
Violations are divided into three categories: violations affecting public safety, license violations and license infractions. The extent of the penalties are based on the severity of the violation, which category the violation falls into and if any mitigating or aggravating factors were present.
Listed below are examples of violations per group and their associated penalties:
Violations Affecting Public Safety:
Violations that affect the safety of the public are the most serious violations. They are heavily penalized and can result in your business license being revoked. Examples of violations in this category include:
- Sales to unregistered patients
- Sales to persons under 21
- Falsifying information in the inventory tracking system
The range of penalties for this category includes a license suspension, revocation, a fine per violation, or a $100,000 fine in lieu of suspension/revocation.
License violations are not as severe as a violation that affects public safety, but they are more serious than infractions. Some of the violations in this category include:
- Marketing violations
- Failing to maintain minimum security requirements
- Failing to maintain business records
Penalties for a license violation can range from a license suspension, a fine per violation or a $50,000 fine in lieu of suspension.
A license infraction is the least severe of all violations, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously. Examples of a license infraction can include:
- Failing to display required badges
- Failing to notify licensing authorities of a minor change in ownership
- Minor unauthorized change to the licensed premises
The range of penalties entailing a license infraction can include restrictions on the license, suspension, a fine per violation or a $10,000 fine in lieu of infraction.
Keep in mind licensing authorities will consider aggravating factors when determining the extent of the penalties. These factors can include but are not limited to:
- Prior violations
- History of success or failure to compliance checks
- Likelihood of the violation reoccurring
- Willfulness of the violation
Contacting a marijuana business attorney should be your top priority if you’ve been accused of violating the terms of your business license. They can negotiate on your behalf and represent you in court if necessary.
Medical Marijuana Rules | Code of Colorado Regulations – Follow the link provided to read a complete list of regulations for the medical marijuana industry. You can find information on required health procedures, learn about the inventory tracking system and how to transfer ownership.
Retail Marijuana Rules | Code of Colorado Regulations – Read through the text governing the retail marijuana industry. You can view a full list of regulations for each retail business, learn about proficiency testing and standards for alarm and lock systems.
Marijuana Compliance Lawyer in Colorado Springs, CO
The future of your marijuana business could be in jeopardy if you’ve been accused of a violation. Clifton Black at Law Offices of Clifton Black, P.C. specializes in marijuana compliance. He will investigate every aspect of your violation to ensure the citation was warranted. Call (719) 328-1616 to schedule a time to speak with him more about your case.
Law Offices of Clifton Black, P.C. represents marijuana business owners in areas such as Colorado Springs, Ordway, Hugo, Kiowa and Castle Rock.