A medical marijuana caregiver is a person who oversees a medical marijuana patient and assists them in administering cannabis products. Typically, medical marijuana caregivers help patients who are unable to access or use cannabis products because they are underaged, elderly, or suffering from terminal illnesses. A person may serve as the caregiver of a family member diagnosed with a medical condition that qualifies them for medical marijuana treatment. In Colorado, there are four types of medical marijuana caregivers (primary caregivers), classified based on the kind of service they provide to registered medical marijuana patients. According to Senate Bill 15-014, the different types of medical marijuana caregivers in Colorado are:
Per Senate Bill 15-014, cultivating and transporting medical marijuana caregivers in Colorado cannot oversee more than five medical marijuana patients at once.
Medical marijuana caregivers are required to register with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and obtain medical marijuana caregiver registry identification cards before legally operating in the state. The health practitioner that diagnosed a patient with a qualifying health condition for medical marijuana treatment cannot serve as that patient's caregiver. To qualify as a medical marijuana caregiver in Colorado, a person must:
Medical marijuana caregivers in Colorado may collect payments from their patients for their services. The amount of money a caregiver receives depends on their negotiation with their patient. To apply for a medical marijuana caregiver registry identification card in Colorado, a person should create an online account in the Colorado medical marijuana registry portal. An applicant will need to provide all the required documents, including valid government-issued photo identification, and submit their application online. Alternatively, a person may apply for a Colorado medical marijuana caregiver registry identification card via mail. Persons applying by mail should complete the Colorado medical marijuana caregiver registry application form, attach the required documents, and send them via mail to the CDPHE at:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80246
Persons applying for medical marijuana caregiver registry identification cards by mail will receive their caregiver registration ID numbers and further instructions for completing the registration process by mail. The CDPHE does not require application fees before enrolling medical marijuana caregivers with the Colorado medical marijuana program. Transporting and cultivating caregivers in Colorado are required to also register with the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR).
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) requires prospective medical marijuana patients who need the services of caregivers to provide their caregivers' registration IDs when applying for their patient registry cards. Colorado does not provide a central database of registered caregivers for medical marijuana patients to use in finding primary caregivers. Nevertheless, medical marijuana patients in Colorado may search for prospective caregivers through online groups dedicated to medical marijuana use questions and answers. The provisions of Article XVIII, Section 14 of the Colorado Constitution, the law that legalized medical marijuana in the state, do not permit medical cannabis caregivers to operate remotely.
Registered medical marijuana caregivers in Colorado may buy, hold, and transport marijuana products on behalf of their patients. As stipulated in Senate Bill 15-014, medical marijuana caregivers in the state may transport or possess up to 36 cannabis plants at once.
According to the provisions of Senate Bill 15-014, medical marijuana caregivers may grow cannabis plants on behalf of their patients at enclosed, secure locations that are inaccessible to minors and other unauthorized individuals. The cultivation limit for medical marijuana caregivers in Colorado is 36 cannabis plants. However, if a caregiver has a patient with an extended plant count due to medical necessity, they may grow more than 36 cannabis plants. In such a case, the medical marijuana caregiver must inform the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) before cultivating a higher number of cannabis plants. Cultivating primary caregivers are required to register their cultivation locations with the CDPHE.