Changes Coming to Colorado Marijuana in 2020

Jacqueline Collins
The seventh year of recreational marijuana sales in Colorado promises to be an interesting one, with new laws allowing social consumption establishments and weed delivery, as well as new industry rules mandating more product testing while restricting vaping ingredients.

Here are the six biggest rule changes that will take effect on Colorado's marijuana landscape in 2020:

Social Use
Last May, the Colorado Legislature passed a law allowing restaurants, hotels, music venues and other businesses to apply for social pot-use permits and dispensaries to apply for tasting-room licenses similar to that of a brewery — if their respective town or county decides to allow them, as local governments must still opt in to the program. If your local jurisdiction does decide to allow social consumption licenses, non-dispensary businesses could also apply for limited pot sales, while mobile marijuana lounges such as tour buses and limousines will also be licensed but cannot sell marijuana; temporary licenses for special events will be available, too. None of these entities could have an active liquor license and allow social pot use, however.

Denver's much-aligned local social-use program remained unaffected by the new law, and it's unlikely to be revisited until months into 2020.

The legislature also legalized commercial cannabis delivery in 2019, but it will only affect a handful of towns and counties that choose to participate in a one-year pilot program for medical marijuana deliveries only. If there’s no dumpster fire during year one, then both medical and recreational delivery should become an option for municipalities across the state a year later, in 2021. But local governments can still ban cannabis delivery if they choose, and they must officially opt in before commercial delivery services can begin.

Heavy Metals Testing
This rule was created by the state Marijuana Enforcement Division in 2018 with plenty of notice. Expected to be implemented in July 2019, testing marijuana for heavy metals wasn't actually required until January 1, 2020, when the MED deemed that enough state-certified marijuana testing labs had the capabilities to test for heavy metals such as cadmium, arsenic and nickel, which are used in certain growing nutrients and can be harmful if combusted and inhaled.
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for
Contact: Thomas Mitchell