Dear Stoner: I’ve been making butter, oils and tinctures. What licenses and permits do I need to sell my edibles to dispensaries, and do I need a commercial kitchen?
Dear Todd: There are plenty of hoops to jump through on your way to producing commercial edibles, but here’s one insurmountable hurdle: If you have a recent criminal history, especially one involving drugs, then you probably don’t have a shot.
If your record’s clean, though, go to the Marijuana Enforcement Division website. At colorado.gov/pacific/enforcement/marijuanaenforcement, you’ll find information on applying for medical and retail marijuana business licenses (you’d want an infused-product license for edibles), the requirements and fees to do so, and all of the other boring but extremely important details that go with starting a marijuana business.
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If you plan on buying pot or trim for canna butter and won’t grow or extract in-house, you could potentially produce edibles in your own home, depending on the zoning and marijuana laws of the municipality you live in. You’ll have to do some renovations, though: Any retail marijuana business application requires that you attach a diagram of your business — including dimensions — that shows limited-access areas, walls, partitions, entrances, exits, security-equipment locations and more. And that’s just the beginning.
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Dear Stoner: Do I need any type of special insurance to open up a marijuana business? I see marijuana insurance companies and want to know if I need one to open a grow operation.
Dear Kim: Your first concern should be attaining the proper licensing and property to start a commercial grow, but if you’ve already figured that out, then protecting your cash crop is a logical worry. While you don’t need “special” insurance for a marijuana business, it might be tough to get in any case. Most Colorado pot businesses have to insure themselves under the excess-and-surplus segment of insurance, meaning that policyholders, agents, brokers and insurance companies can design specific and expensive insurance plans based on the risks — so they can basically charge pot businesses whatever they want. It’s hard to blame companies for the gouging, though: Insuring a federally illegal agricultural business with still-unknown risks that most likely operates on a cash-only basis doesn’t sound like the definition of stability. As with just about every other facet of the marijuana industry, insurance should get easier after federal legalization.
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