Colorado Marijuana and Hemp Bills of 2024 | Westword

Colorado Marijuana and Hemp Bills of 2024

Measures that could loosen pot industry regulations and add social equity opportunities are currently being considered by lawmakers.
Share this:
The Colorado 2024 legislative session is more than halfway over, and just three cannabis and hemp bills have been introduced so far, with zero measures related to psychedelics,

Both cannabis and psychedelics activists expect more action at the Capitol as lawmakers get closer to adjournment. Still, two bills currently in the legislature could promise big changes for Colorado marijuana.

One bill in the Senate aims to loosen a handful of marijuana industry regulations, including rules surrounding recordkeeping, hiring practices and license renewal, as well as more recent requirements implemented by the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division, such as aspergillus mold testing and an upcoming labeling mandate for THC products that are made with remediated marijuana.

The other notable marijuana measure, intended to spur more diverse industry ownership, proposes new preferential marijuana delivery opportunities and changes to Colorado's social equity licensing incentives and requirements. The bill was introduced on the first day of the 2024 legislative session, January 10, and still has not received a hearing.

Here's a rundown of the two marijuana measures and one hemp proposal now at the Capitol (the summaries come from the original language, without amendments). We'll add more as they're introduced.

Marijuana Bills

House Bill 24-1061: Marijuana Industry & Social Equity

Prime Sponsors:
Representative Naquetta Ricks (D-Arapahoe County), Representative Regina English (D-El Paso County)

Summary: The bill creates a medical marijuana independent delivery license and a retail marijuana independent delivery license (licenses) to deliver and sell respective marijuana and marijuana products to consumers at permissible delivery locations. A person must have a social equity license to be issued the licenses. The department of revenue (department) is required to promulgate rules concerning the licenses.

The bill creates an accelerator independent deliverer license, accelerator hospitality business license, and accelerator transporter license for social equity licensees qualified to participate in the accelerator program.

The bill defines "permissible delivery locations" to establish where licensees with delivery privileges may deliver to consumers.

The bill adds mandatory and permissive rule-making authority to the department concerning social-equity-related matters.

The bill allows a marijuana hospitality licensee with a mobile facility to temporarily suspend its license privileges related to mobility in order to conduct non-marijuana commercial activities. The bill adds mandatory rule-making authority to the department concerning these matters.

Beginning January 31, 2026, the bill requires the state licensing authority to provide an annual report to the finance committees of the house of representatives and the senate concerning active social equity or accelerator licenses and licensees, recommendations for new social equity or accelerator licenses, and recommendations for new or innovative funding sources for the social equity program. The department is required to convene a new, or utilize an existing, working group of persons to develop recommendations for the annual report.

Effective April 1, 2025, the bill amends the eligibility requirements for a person to qualify as a social equity licensee. The new eligibility requirements do not apply to licensee applications or licenses issued before April 1, 2025, except for a limited exception.

The bill eliminates the $1 surcharge applied on deliveries.

The bill requires the department of regulatory agencies, as part of its sunset review of the "Colorado Marijuana Code" in 2028, to review social equity licensing and the licenses.

Under current law, there is the marijuana entrepreneur fund within the office of economic development that provides grants and loans to support marijuana industry entrepreneurs. The bill creates a new permissible grant for local jurisdictions that establish a social equity licensing program.

The bill creates a tax credit for an accelerator-endorsed licensee who hosts and offers technical and capital support to a social equity licensee for at least 12 consecutive months. An eligible accelerator-endorsed licensee may claim up to $50,000 and may carry it forward as a credit against subsequent years' income tax liability for a period not exceeding 5 years. The tax credit may be claimed for tax years 2026 through 2035.

The bill amends the statutory provision concerning the retail marijuana sales tax to state that a retailer is not allowed to retain any portion of the retail marijuana sales tax collected to cover the expenses of collecting and remitting the tax.

First hearing with House Business Affairs & Labor Committee scheduled for Thursday, March 21.

Senate Bill 24-076: Streamline Marijuana Regulation

Prime Sponsors:
  Senator Kevin Van Winkle (R-Douglas County), Senator Julie Gonzalez (D-Denver County), Representative William Lindstedt ( D-Arapahoe, Broomfield and Weld counties)

Summary: Current law allows the transfer of immature plants, seeds, and genetic material between a medical or retail cultivation facility and certain people, including people approved by rule. Sections 1, 7, and 10 of the bill allow this transfer from or to a medical or retail marijuana cultivation facility from or to a person permitted by another jurisdiction to possess or cultivate marijuana. The medical or retail cultivation facility must confirm that the purchaser is 21 years of age or older. The cultivation facility may accept online payments for the transfer. The state licensing authority may promulgate rules to implement the provision, but limits are placed on the rules that the state licensing authority may adopt. Section 2 limits the frequency at which regulated marijuana and a regulated marijuana product need to be tested to no more than once for each required test and otherwise requires the elimination of redundant testing. Section 2 also exempts the fungi in the genus aspergillus from product testing.

Current law requires beneficial owners and people who have access to the limited access areas of a medical marijuana business or retail marijuana business to have identification cards. Section 2 repeals the requirement that beneficial owners have identification cards, but retains the requirement that people with access to the limited access areas need to have identification cards. Section 2 also specifies that a licensee need not use radio frequency identification tags to tag or track marijuana and marijuana products.

Current law requires the marijuana enforcement division in the department of revenue (division) to promulgate rules requiring testing of marijuana and marijuana products for contaminants or substances that are harmful to health. Section 2 clarifies that these tests should be made to determine whether the contaminants or substances are present in amounts that are harmful to health. Current law allows a licensee to remediate marijuana or marijuana products that have failed a test. Section 2 removes a requirement that the licensee identify on the labeling that the product has failed a test when the product subsequently passed the same test. Section 2 also authorizes retesting when the marijuana or marijuana product has failed a test.

Current law authorizes the division to establish procedures to issue a conditional employee identification card, which allows an individual to work for a license holder, after the individual has submitted an initial application and the division has conducted an investigation regarding the application but before the fingerprint record check is finished. Section 2 requires the division to promulgate rules and issue the employee identification card upon initial review of the application.

The division is required to adopt rules authorizing a licensee to conduct fewer tests than normal upon demonstrating that the licensee's standard operating procedures and production practices result in consistent passing test results (program). Section 2 specifically authorizes this program and sets an expiration date for reduced testing under the program at 3 years. Sections 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 11 extend the initial license and license renewal periods from one year to 2 years. Section 3 requires the division to establish a system that allows a medical or retail marijuana business that transports marijuana or marijuana products to use an electronic manifest system. Section 5 requires the division to retain fingerprints submitted for initial licensure for use in a criminal history record check for license renewal. Section 5 also authorizes a person who holds multiple licenses or affiliated persons who hold multiple licenses to submit a unified application for license renewal. The license holders must elect to have one or more licenses expire in less than 2 years in order to coordinate the expiration date. Section 12 requires the division to promulgate rules categorizing each violation as a safety violation or a technical violation. The division will expunge technical violations from a licensee's record on the later date of one year after the violation is reported or when the license is renewed. Section 13 reduces the amount of time for which a marijuana licensee must retain books and records that show the business's transactions from 3 years to one year.

Current law requires that excise tax be levied on the first transfer of unprocessed retail marijuana. Section 14 specifies that the transfer of unprocessed retail marijuana exclusively for microbial control is not the first transfer of unprocessed retail marijuana for taxation purposes.

Passed first hearing with Senate Finance Committee amended; awaiting Senate Appropriations hearing.

Hemp Bill

Senate Bill 24-172:
Hemp Product Definition Marijuana Regulation

Prime Sponsors:
Senator Byron Pelton (R-Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, Weld and Yuma counties), Representative Barbara McLachlan (D- Archuleta, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan counties)

Summary: Statutory Revision Committee.
Senate Bill 23-271 changed a defined phrase from "industrial hemp product" to "hemp product". Some instances of the phrase "industrial hemp product" were not changed to the new defined term. The bill changes those terms in the marijuana statutes to conform to the current defined phrase.

Status: First hearing with Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee scheduled for Wednesday, March 20.
Can you help us continue to share our stories? Since the beginning, Westword has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver — and we'd like to keep it that way. Our members allow us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls.