Tracking Colorado's Marijuana and Hemp Bills in 2021

Extracted marijuana products are the focal point of a new bill restricting medical marijuana access and concentrate sales.
Extracted marijuana products are the focal point of a new bill restricting medical marijuana access and concentrate sales. Jacqueline Collins

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Marijuana continues to be a hot topic of discussion at the Colorado Capitol in 2021.
Jacqueline Collins

SB 111: Program to Support Marijuana Entrepreneurs

Prime sponsors: Senator Dominick Moreno (D-District 21), Senator Julie Gonzales (D-District 34), Representative Leslie Herod (D-District 8), Representative David Ortiz (D-District 38)

Summary: The bill creates a program in the office of economic development and international trade (OEDIT) to support entrepreneurs in the marijuana industry, which will primarily assist social equity licensees, as that term is used in the "Colorado Marijuana Code." The program consists of:
Loans to social equity licensees for seed capital and ongoing business expenses;

Grants to social equity licensees to support innovation and job creation and organizations that support marijuana businesses to be used to support innovation and job creation of social equity licensees;

Technical assistance for marijuana business owners, prioritizing social equity licensees who have been awarded a loan or grant through the program.
OEDIT is authorized to directly administer the program itself or through one or more partner entities. In consultation with other relevant state agencies, industry experts and other stakeholders, OEDIT is required to establish policies setting forth the parameters and eligibility for the program. OEDIT is required to consult with the Colorado Economic Development Commission regarding the administration of the program. OEDIT is also required to submit a report by July 1 of 2022 and 2023 to the governor and legislative committees detailing program expenditures.

The program is initially funded with a $4 million transfer from the marijuana tax cash fund to the newly created marijuana entrepreneur fund, from which the money is continuously appropriated to OEDIT for the program. OEDIT may use some of this money for the program's administrative expenses. Beginning with the fiscal year 2022-’23, the General Assembly may appropriate additional money from the marijuana tax cash fund to the marijuana entrepreneur fund.

 Passed Legislature amended; signed by Governor March 21.

HB 1090: Criminal Marijuana Offenses

Prime sponsors: Representative Alex Valdez (D-District 5), Senator Julie Gonzales (D-District 34)

Summary: The bill eliminates the marijuana possession offense for possession of 2 ounces of marijuana or less.

The bill requires the court to seal a conviction record, without opportunity for the district attorney to object, for a marijuana possession offense that is otherwise not sealed, if the person files documents with the court that the person has not been convicted of a criminal offense since the final disposition of all criminal proceedings or release from supervision, whichever is later.

The bill allows a person who was convicted of a Class 3 felony marijuana cultivation offense to petition to have his or her conviction record sealed.

Status: Passed Legislature amended; signed by Governor May 20.

HB 1178: Correcting Errors in the Colorado Marijuana Code

Prime Sponsors:
 Representative Andres Pico (R-District 16), Representative Donald Valdez (D-District 62), Senator Rob Woodward (R-District 15), Senator Rachel Zenzinger (D-District 19)

Summary: The bill corrects citations in the marijuana code and grammatical and wording issues.

Status: Passed Legislature amended; signed by Governor May 10.

HB 1204: Unemployment Insurance Marijuana-licensed Business

Prime Sponsors: Representative Marc Snyder (D-District 18), Senator Chris Holbert (R-District 30), Senator Joann Ginal (D-District 14)

 Current law states that a common paymaster is not a single employing unit for purposes of considering the services performed by another employing unit subject to a single or common payroll. The bill creates an exception for an employee leasing company or other employing entity that is owned by one or more persons who have a medical or retail marijuana license and who own at least 50% of an entity that shares the employee leasing company's or other employing entity's services. The employee leasing company or other employing entity is not considered a common paymaster for the purposes of the "Colorado Employment Security Act".

Status: Passed Legislature unamended; signed by Governor April 29.


HB 1159
: Limitations on Regulated Marijuana Delivery

Prime Sponsors:

Summary: Under current law, a retail marijuana store licensee may have a marijuana delivery permit associated with its store license. The bill requires the store to be open at least 5 days a week and at least 5 hours a day to have a delivery permit. The bill limits delivery sales to only retail marijuana, retail marijuana products, or branded merchandise that is available for sale from the retail marijuana store and requires the prices to be the same as the in-store price. The bill prohibits an online platform from holding pre-paid accounts for a licensed retail marijuana store.

The bill waives the licensing fee for a transporter applicant who is a social equity licensee.

The bill prohibits a medical or retail marijuana business operator from engaging in the delivery of regulated marijuana.

Status: Postponed indefinitely May 6 at request of Snyder by House Finance Committee.

HB 1058: Promoting Social Distancing In Marijuana Industry

Prime sponsors: Representative Matt Gray (D-District 33), Senator Julie Gonzales (D-District 34)

Summary: Under current law, a physician is required to conduct an in-person physical examination of a person prior to certifying that the person would benefit from medical marijuana. The bill permits a physician to treat, counsel, and conduct appropriate personal physical examinations, in person or remotely via telephone or video conference, to establish a bona fide physician-patient relationship with a patient seeking a medical marijuana card.

Retail marijuana stores are now prohibited from selling retail marijuana and retail marijuana products online and to a person not physically present in the retail marijuana store's licensed premises. The bill would repeal this prohibition.

Status: Postponed Indefinitely by House Finance Committee Hearing May 20.
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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 westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell