Does Colorado Require Marijuana Accelerator Cultivators to Obtain Accelerator Cultivator License?
According to Colorado Revised Statutes, Section 44-10-103 (1), Colorado issues accelerator cultivator licensees to social equity licensees to engage in retail marijuana cultivation facility activities on the premises of an accelerator-endorsed retail marijuana cultivation facility. Licensed accelerator cultivators are authorized to propagate, cultivate, harvest, process, cure, package, store, and label retail marijuana, regardless of its form (concentrated form or otherwise).
The Marijuana Enforcement Division of the Colorado Department of Revenue permits an accelerator cultivator to operate on the same licensed premises as an accelerator-endorsed licensee in accordance with the 3-1100 Series Rules. Likewise, an accelerator cultivator may operate on a separate premises owned by an accelerator-endorsed licensee’s retail marijuana cultivation facility in accordance with the 3-1100 Series Rules.
In addition, as authorized by Rule 3-215, a retail marijuana cultivation facility is permitted to share and use the same licensed premises with a jointly owned medical marijuana cultivation facility. In that case, a separate license will be required for each business or business entity, irrespective of the geographical location. A regulated marijuana business that operates at the same premises as a jointly owned medical marijuana business may be referred to as an accelerator-endorsed licensee. An accelerator cultivator may carry out marijuana business activities at the premises where the accelerator-endorsed licensee operates together with the jointly owned medical marijuana cultivation facility.
What Are the Different Types of Accelerator Cultivator Licenses in Colorado?
Colorado classifies the retail accelerator cultivator license based on its production management tiers listed below:
- Tier 1 - 1 to 1,800 plants
- Tier 2 - 1,801 to 3,600 plants
- Tier 3 - 3,601 to 6,000 plants
- Tier 4 - 6,001 to 10,200 plants
- Tier 5 - 10,201 to 13,800 plants
- Tier 5 shall not have more than the maximum approved plant count
- An accelerator cultivator is permitted to increase the maximum approved plant count by one or two increments of 3,600 plants separately. This shall only be allowed after application and approval by the Marijuana Enforcement Division according to the requirements of paragraph (E) of Rule 6-720
After accruing at least one harvest season of transfers, an accelerator cultivator with at most, two harvest seasons per year may apply to the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) for a production management tier increase. The application will be for them to be authorized to cultivate the number of plants in the next highest production management tier. The MED may then decide whether to approve the production management tier increase by considering the following:
- During the harvest season preceding the tier increase application, the accelerator cultivator consistently cultivated an average amount of plants that is not less than 85% of its maximum authorized plant count;
- The accelerator licensee transferred not less than 85% of the inventory they presented as a package in the Inventory Tracking System in the preceding 360 days to another Retail Marijuana Business;
- The MED may also review transfers exceeding 85% of the inventory the accelerator cultivator presented as a package in the Inventory Tracking System during the preceding 360 days if the license holder cultivated between 75% and 85% of its maximum permitted plant count; and
- Any other information the MED requested to aid in evaluating the production management tier increase application.
If the MED approves the licensee’s application for a production management tier increase, the licensee shall pay the applicable expanded production management tier fee before cultivating the additional authorized plants.
An accelerator licensee with an authorized plant count in tiers 2 - 5 that wants to continue producing at its expanded authorized plant count will be required to pay the following at license renewal:
- The requisite accelerator cultivator license fee; and
- The expanded production management tier fee, if applicable.
Who Can Grow Marijuana in Colorado?
In Colorado, the marijuana law permits adults aged 21 and older to home grow up to six marijuana plants in their private residences, with a maximum of three plants flowering at one time. However, there are certain limitations stated by the home grow laws, including:
- A grower must not plant marijuana in an outdoor garden, even if it is fenced.
- If a grower has a person under the age of 21 living with them, the grower must adequately secure the entire grow area in a separate locked space that minors cannot access. If a grower does not live with a person younger than 21, they must ensure that their cultivation site is secured and inaccessible when a minor visits their home.
- A residence cannot have more than 12 plants. Note that local laws may vary; therefore, be sure to check your county and municipalities’ local ordinances to ascertain the laws that apply to marijuana home cultivation.
- A grower cannot sell homegrown marijuana or marijuana products to anyone. The state only permits licensed marijuana businesses to sell marijuana products.
Colorado restricts the following persons from practicing retail marijuana cultivation:
- Persons employed by a local or state authority such as a state law enforcement agency
- Persons previously convicted of crimes involving controlled substances within less than ten years. However, persons with clean criminal records stand a better chance of getting a license than ex-convicts.
- Persons discharged of any other felony convictions within five years
The Marijuana Enforcement Division requires employees of marijuana establishments to hold a MED Employee License. Persons looking to apply for the employee license are required to review the Marijuana Employee License Application carefully to ascertain whether they are eligible to hold the license. After this, they will complete the form and submit it with all necessary supporting documentation and the full $105 application fee. Potential employees must submit their fingerprints prior to submitting the application. They may include a check, money order, or credit card authorization alongside their application submission.
How to Get a Marijuana Accelerator Cultivator License in Colorado
Applicants looking to get a marijuana accelerator cultivator license may apply to the Marijuana Enforcement Division of the Colorado Department of Revenue. The Marijuana Enforcement Division requires that an applicant qualifies as a social equity licensee, meaning that the applicant has met the following requirements:
- The applicant is a Colorado resident. An applicant may present any of the following to demonstrate their residency
- A current valid Colorado identification card with a current address or a Colorado driver’s license
- A government-issued photo ID and two of the documents listed below:
- Utility or telephone bill
- Bank statement
- Vehicle registration
- Voter registration card
- Recent contract/mortgage statement
- Recent County tax notice
- Statement from a major creditor
- The applicant has not been the beneficial owner of a regulated marijuana business license subject to legal or disciplinary action from Colorado, leading to a marijuana license revocation.
* The applicant or collectively one or more social equity licensees holds not less than 51% of the regulated marijuana business license's beneficial ownership.
* The applicant is able to prove at least one of the following:
* The applicant has resided for not less than 15 years (between 1980 and 2010) in a census tract assigned by the Office of Economic Development and International Trade as an opportunity zone or a disproportionately impacted area. A disproportionately impacted area refers to a census tract in the top 15% of any of the following:
* School dropout rates
* The number of persons receiving public assistance
An Applicant may submit any of the following to demonstrate their residence during the relevant period:
- Utility bills, loan documents, bank records, tax returns, school records, rental or lease agreements, mortgage statements, or other documents prove the applicant’s residency.
- An affirmation, under penalty of perjury, of the applicant’s residence. The applicant must also provide the name(s) and contact details of at least one person who can confirm the applicant’s place of residency during the applicable period.
- The applicant's household income in the year preceding application was not more than an amount determined by the rule of the state licensing authority. The applicant must provide their tax return for the previous year.
- The applicant or their spouse, parent, sibling, legal guardian, child, or minor in their guardianship was arrested or convicted of a marijuana offense or was subject to civil asset forfeiture associated with a marijuana investigation;
- The applicant must present affirmation of the familial relationship and court or other documents indicating;
- That the family member was subject to asset forfeiture associated with a marijuana investigation; or
- The family member’s arrest or conviction
Applicants that meet the above requirements may follow the steps below to apply:
- Carefully complete the Regulated Marijuana Business License Application – Social Equity Program based on the guidelines provided in the application.
- Provide the necessary documentation listed on the application.
- Submit a request for Finding of Suitability - Owner Entity Application (Business Entity) - This applies to any of the following: 1. Any Entity holding 10% interest or more of the Owner's interest of an RMB; 2. Executive or Qualified Institutional Investors who hold 30% or more of the RMB; or 3. Any other Entity or affiliate that is otherwise in a position to execute control of the RMB. \
An applicant must submit their fingerprints, fingerprint receipt, and the completed application together with their application packet. To get their fingerprints, applicants must visit a Colorado State Approved Third-Party Fingerprint Provider. Note that a Natural Person Suitability Application must be submitted with the Owner Entity Application preceding any new business application submission.
- Pay the application fee: If the application fee is not paid, the MED will be unable to complete its intake of your application.
- Pay local jurisdiction fees.
- Submit the application package with the completed application, required documentation, and fees. Applications may be submitted by mail, online, or in-person drop off.
Marijuana Enforcement Division
1697 Cole Boulevard, Suite 200
Lakewood, CO 80401
Online submission: \
Submit your application package online with your computer, phone, or any device that has internet access. You may watch the training video for directions.
MED's Lakewood Office
1697 Cole Boulevard
Suite 200, Lakewood, CO 80401
The office can be visited between 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. on business days.
It is important to note that getting local approval from the Local Authority where you plan to operate your marijuana cultivation facility is mandatory. The Local Authority Status List shows the local authorities that are currently accepting marijuana business applications. The Marijuana Enforcement Division will not accept new marijuana business license applications for businesses located within a local authority's jurisdiction that is not zoned for marijuana businesses. Therefore, it is advisable to apply for a license from the Local Licensing Authority within whose jurisdiction you intend to operate before your marijuana business begins operation. The Local Licensing Authority's license application process may be done concurrently with Colorado’s marijuana business license application.
How Much Do Marijuana Accelerator Cultivator Licenses Cost in Colorado?
A retail marijuana cultivation facility application fee costs $300. However, the annual license fees are determined by the license’s production management tiers:
- Tier 1 (1 to 1,800 plants) costs $1,830
- Tier 2 (1,801 to 3,600 plants) costs $2,806
- Tier 3 (3,601 to 6,000 plants) costs $3,660
- Tier 4 (6,001 to 10,200 plants) costs $5,490
- Tier 5 (10,201 to 13,800+ plants) costs $7,930
- Expanded Production Management (for each additional tier of 3,600 plants over Tier 5) costs $7,930. This will include an additional $976 for each additional tier of 3,600 plants over Tier 5.
Local fees will also apply, but the prices are determined by the Local Authority where you plan to operate your marijuana cultivation facility.
Payments must be made by check or money order payable to the Colorado Department of Revenue or CDOR. The CDOR will not accept cash payments. Applicants should not add on extra service fees; instead, the additional service fees should be submitted by mail. The Marijuana Enforcement Division also offers an online payment option available via the Colorado Interactive Payment System. If interested in the online payment option, a MED staff member will contact you by email with a link to submit your payment.
Note that inaccurate payment may delay the issuance of your license. Hence, ensure to make full and proper payment.
Can Licensed Marijuana Accelerator Cultivators Hold Other Cannabis Licenses in Colorado?
There are no laws stating whether an accelerator cultivator may hold other licenses. However, an accelerator cultivator may only own and operate a single accelerator cultivation per licensed premises. A retail marijuana cultivation facility licensee that is accelerator-endorsed may host more than one accelerator cultivation owned by different social equity licensees at a single licensed premises.