Cannabis cultivation is legal in Boulder County in accordance with Amendment 64. The law legalized medical cannabis in 2000 and recreational cannabis in 2012 for persons 21 years old and older. Amendment 64 allows counties and local governments to have their own regulations regarding cannabis, though. Hence, Boulder County implements its own marijuana land use and cultivation regulations in addition to state law.
Amendment 64 permits Colorado residents who are 21 years old and older to cultivate up to six cannabis plants at home, of which three can be mature with flowers. The cannabis and its products must only be for the owner’s use only and must not be sold.
According to the Boulder County Land Use Code, individuals may grow cannabis for personal use in multifamily homes only if the building owner, landlord, and homeowners’ association allow it, and the cultivation must be subject to their rules. Even if permission is granted, cultivation and preparation of homegrown cannabis are not allowed in common areas.
For commercial cultivation of medical and recreational cannabis, companies are required to apply for a license from the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED). Applicants are required to have state residency of at least two years and both criminal and background checks. They must download and complete the business application form and send it by mail with the requirements and application fee to the following:
Marijuana Enforcement Division
1697 Cole Blvd., Suite 200, Lakewood, CO 80401
ATTN: Business Licensing
Additionally, the applicant must provide evidence that medical or recreational marijuana businesses are legal to operate in the area where the business will be based. The company entity must apply for a separate marijuana business license locally before beginning operations after the state license has been approved. For unincorporated Boulder County, this means applying for a Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility license or Medical Marijuana Optional Premises Cultivation license with the Boulder County Marijuana Licensing Authority.
Any licensed marijuana cultivation business must be at least 1,000 feet away from any school, university, licensed daycare, and addiction treatment facility.
There can only be a maximum of three marijuana cultivation businesses within 500 feet of each other.
Cannabis must be cultivated completely indoors and away from public visibility.
No odors from cannabis cultivation must emanate from the facility.
The following guidelines must be followed in order for licensed cultivators to be permitted shared facilities for recreational and medical marijuana, as per the Code of Colorado Regulations Section 3-215:
The Local Jurisdiction and Local Licensing Authority must allow it.
The shared facility for recreational and medical cannabis cultivation should have a single owner.
Within the shared facility, recreational cannabis must be kept separate from medical cannabis.
The singular owner of the shared facility should keep business transactions of selling recreational cannabis separate from those of selling medical cannabis to licensed processors through accurate inventory and records. This will streamline tracking for the Local Licensing Authority and Local Jurisdiction.
Cannabis manufacturing is legal in Boulder County pursuant to Amendment 64, with specific county regulations added.
Only the plants allowed to be grown at home can be processed at home for personal use. This must be done indoors and away from the public eye. Processing must not result in any odor, smoke, dust, vibration, noise, or light going beyond the resident’s shared wall or property line.
The marijuana extraction methods permitted at home are:
Marijuana concentrate production through the extraction of cannabinoids using ice, water, or dry ice;
Marijuana concentrate production through the extraction of cannabinoids by cooking with olive oil, butter, glycerin, glycol, propylene, and other similar food-based methods; and
Marijuana concentrate production through extraction using 375 ml or less of alcohol or ethanol, without any open flame or open heat.
The prohibited marijuana extraction methods at home are:
Extraction of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabinoids using compressed, flammable gas;
Using supplemental ozone; and
Using supplemental carbon dioxide.
For the commercial manufacturing of cannabis products, companies are required to get a state license from the Colorado MED. In addition, in unincorporated Boulder County, they must apply for a Retail Marijuana Products Manufacturing Facility license or Medical Marijuana-Infused Products Manufacturer license from the Boulder County Marijuana Licensing Authority.
All licensed marijuana manufacturing businesses in Boulder County must comply with the following regulations:
Any licensed marijuana manufacturing business must be 1,000 feet or more away from any licensed daycare, school, university, and addiction treatment facility.
There can only be three licensed marijuana manufacturing businesses at most within 500 feet of each other.
All cannabis manufacturing activities must be indoors and not visible to the public.
No cannabis processing odors must escape from the facility.
For licensed manufacturers to be allowed shared facilities for recreational and medical marijuana, the following guidelines must be followed according to the Code of Colorado Regulations Section 3-215:
It must have permission from the Local Jurisdiction and Local Licensing Authority.
There must be only one owner for the shared manufacturing facility for recreational and medical cannabis.
Inside the shared manufacturing facility, recreational cannabis, its concentrates, and its products must be stored separately from medical cannabis, its concentrates, and its products.
The owner of the shared manufacturing facility should keep business transactions for
recreational cannabis separate from those for medical cannabis by using distinct packages and labels and ensuring clear inventory and records. This will help the Local Licensing Authority and Local Jurisdiction keep track of both.
According to the Code of Colorado Regulations, manufacturing license holders are allowed to process, pack, and label marijuana goods like pre-rolled and infused pre-rolled cannabis as well as marijuana concentrates.
Companies that sell cannabis for medical or recreational purposes in Colorado must put all of their goods in child-safe, opaque packaging that is resealable. Packages must be secure against unintended marijuana consumption by children, teenagers, and adults. The official shop packaging must be used by customers and patients for safe storage.
Cannabis retail is legal in Boulder County in conformance with Amendment 64, with specific county regulations instituted. In addition to getting a state license from the Colorado MED, companies must apply for a Retail Marijuana Store license or Medical Marijuana Center license from the Boulder County Marijuana Licensing Authority.
Licensed retailers can only sell cannabis to persons aged 21 and older or younger persons who hold medical marijuana ID cards and their caregivers. The county requires them to indicate this in their receipts. Patients who are minors are not allowed to enter a Medical Marijuana Center or Retail Marijuana Store and need a caregiver to make the purchase on their behalf.
The licensed retailer must use an electronic ID scanner to verify the age of anyone who enters the facility. If the person’s valid ID card cannot be scanned, the licensed retailer must inspect it physically to determine if it is listed as an acceptable ID in the state’s Medical Marijuana Registry.
Retail Marijuana Stores and Medical Marijuana Centers are only allowed to operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. All sales of recreational marijuana must be done face-to-face. Remote purchasing, such as online or by telephone, is not permitted.
In accordance with Amendment 64, only a total of one ounce of cannabis and any cannabis goods, like concentrates, salts, resins, tinctures, ointments, and edibles, may be sold at a time to one person by licensed shops. This is because no one under the age of 21 may legally purchase or possess more than one ounce of marijuana in Colorado. However, if a patient has a medical marijuana ID card and a health care professional has given them a MED Uniform Certification Form, a licensed merchant may sell them more than one ounce of cannabis at a time.
All licensed marijuana retail businesses in Boulder County must comply with the following rules:
Any licensed retail marijuana business must be 1,000 feet or farther from any licensed daycare, school, university, and addiction treatment facility.
There can be no more than three licensed marijuana retail businesses within 500 feet of each other.
Cannabis retail facilities must be completely enclosed and hidden from public view.
Licensed marijuana retail businesses are forbidden from distributing cannabis and cannabis products for free.
Advertising and marketing activities of licensed marijuana retail businesses must comply with the Boulder County Land Use Code, the Colorado Medical Marijuana Code (CMMC), and the Colorado Retail Marijuana Code (CRMC).
Licensed marijuana retail businesses can be allowed to have shared facilities for selling recreational and medical marijuana only if they follow these guidelines based on the Code of Colorado Regulations Section 3-215:
The shared retail facility must have the Local Jurisdiction’s and Local Licensing Authority’s permission.
The shared retail facility for recreational and medical cannabis must have the same owner.
Recreational cannabis and its concentrates and products must be kept completely separate from medical cannabis and its concentrates and products within the shared retail facility.
Retail transactions of recreational cannabis must be kept separate from those of medical cannabis for easy tracking by the Local Licensing Authority and Local Jurisdiction. This can be done through differentiated packaging and labeling, rigorous inventory, and clear records.
Cannabis delivery is legal in Boulder County due to HB 19-1234. Medical marijuana delivery was possible since January 2, 2020, and recreational marijuana delivery was possible since January 2, 2021.
Marijuana can be delivered by licensed retailers to only to consumers with legal addresses and patients with state medical marijuana ID cards. Delivery can only be made once daily for every person.
To apply for a state medical marijuana ID card, Colorado residents must first be included in the statewide online Medical Marijuana Registry. To do so, they must be examined by a registered healthcare provider who will determine if they have at least one of the following qualifying medical conditions:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
HIV or AIDS
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Persistent muscle spasms
An illness for which a healthcare practitioner prescribes medication with opioids
The healthcare provider will submit the certification online. For patients who are minors, two certifications are required from two healthcare providers.
Following that, the patient must finish the online application and submit their social security number and a valid ID issued in Colorado, such as a driver's license. If the patient needs a caretaker, the caregiver must be included in the application. The patient is then required to pay a $29.50 application fee. For people who can provide documentation showing that their income is at or below 185% of the federal poverty level, this is waived. Once approved, the medical marijuana ID card can be accessed by the patient online after processing of about one to three business days. This is only valid in the state and can be printed or displayed on a mobile device.
Application by mail is only accepted for those who do not have access to the internet. The application form for minors or for adults must be printed and fully filled out by the applicant. Together with the requirements and a check for the required amount payable to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, this must be mailed to:
4300 Cherry Creek Dr. S. Denver, CO
Applications sent by mail will be processed in six to eight weeks. The patient and caregiver will receive the physical ID card by mail. An online account will not be accessible.
Patients and caregivers can contact the following for questions:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
4300 Cherry Creek Dr. S. Denver, CO
Boulder County and the whole of Colorado have benefited from the legalization of cannabis. The Colorado Department of Public Safety reported in July 2021 on the effects of marijuana legalization in Colorado. As of 2020, there were 3,207 licensed medical and recreational cannabis businesses in Colorado, with 227 of them located in Boulder County. Statewide, there were 1,636 licensed recreational cannabis companies alone, 139 of which were in Boulder County.
The report noted that from $67.6 million in 2014, there was a 473% surge in total revenue to $387.5 million in 2020. This was from the combined recreational marijuana excise taxes, sales taxes, fees, and licenses. During this time, public school construction and other general education needs received a total contribution of $487 million from excise taxes imposed on cannabis.
In Boulder City, licensing compliance requires a five percent city excise tax for cannabis cultivation facilities and a 3.5 percent city sales and use tax for cannabis manufacturing, dispensary, and testing facilities.
The Colorado Department of Public Safety report on the Impacts of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado showed that in 2012, the year that recreational cannabis was legalized for those who are 21 years old and above, marijuana-related arrests numbered 13,225. Seven years later, in 2019, this went down to 4,290 arrests. In Boulder County, marijuana-related arrests numbered 724 in 2012. This was lowered to 392 in 2019.