What is a Marijuana Business Operator in Colorado?
In Colorado, a marijuana business operator is an individual or entity authorized to operate a cannabis establishment on behalf of an owner for remuneration. According to Title 44, §44.12.407, and §44.11.407 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, medical and recreational cannabis business owners can employ the services of business operators in their facilities.
Does Colorado License Marijuana Business Operators?
Yes. The Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 44, §44.12.407, and §44.11.407 stipulate that cannabis business operators must obtain licenses from the state to operate legally. The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) under the Colorado Department of Revenue is the state agency that regulates and issues licenses to medical and recreational cannabis business operators.
Corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, and sole proprietors can register for business operator licenses in Colorado. Marijuana business operators must maintain their business premises separate from the establishments for which they provide professional operational services. However, such business premises cannot be regarded as licensed marijuana facilities. Therefore, the cultivation, storage, manufacture, sale, use, testing, or distribution of cannabis or cannabis-infused products is prohibited on operators’ business premises.
What Activities are Covered by Colorado Marijuana Business Operator License?
In Colorado, marijuana business operator licensees can provide professional operational services to more than one licensed cannabis business at a time. Recreational and medical marijuana business operators can also offer management services to licensed cannabis businesses.
Are there Local Regulations for Marijuana Business Operator Licensees in Colorado?
Yes. Marijuana business operator licensees must adhere to all local laws in the counties or cities where they provide professional operational services. These include:
- Marijuana business operator licensees must inform local authorities before they employ managers in their establishments
- They must pay locally imposed taxes
- If a licensee intends to transfer the ownership of their business to another individual or business entity, they must apply to the local authority
- Marijuana business operators must maintain visitor activity logs at the facilities they are providing professional operational services and show them to local licensing authorities upon request
How to Apply for a Marijuana Business Operator License in Colorado
According to the Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 44 §44.10.307(1)(a)(VII), prospective marijuana business operators in Colorado must be at least 21 years old. Applicants must provide:
- Their legal names (in full)
- The physical and mailing addresses of the proposed premises
- The name, phone number, email, and physical address of the business’s primary contact person
- Details of the business’s ownership structure, including the personal information - name, address, birth date, phone number, Social Security Number, and Federal Employer Identification Number (if any), of every Controlling Beneficial Owner with up to 10% ownership in the business. Applicants must also provide the personal details of all executive officers and managers of the proposed establishment.
- The business’s organizational documents such as its bylaws, shareholder agreement, operating agreement (for limited liability companies), and partnership agreement (for partnerships)
- Proof of ownership or lease of the proposed business’s premises
- A copy of any management agreements
- Consent for the Department of Revenue and the local taxing authority to release their tax information. All Controlling Beneficial Owners of the business must also consent to the disclosure of their tax information.
- Consent to a fingerprint-based criminal background check. The business’s Controlling Beneficial Owners must comply with criminal history checks.
- Their application and license fees
To apply for a marijuana business operator license in Colorado, applicants should:
- Complete the Regulated Marijuana Business License Application Form
- Complete a Findings of Suitability Application Form
- Pay the non-refundable license application fee - The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) offers various payment options. Applicants can write checks payable to the Department of Revenue or include a credit card authorization or money order with their application submissions. \
Alternatively, they can pay online through the Statewide Internet Portal Authority (SIPA). If an applicant opts for online payment, the Division will contact them via email and provide a payment link. The MED advises applicants to double-check their payments before applying because incomplete payments may delay license issuance. Cash payments are not acceptable.
- Pay local jurisdiction fees - Applicants must include the payments for the local jurisdictions where their businesses will be situated. The Division only accepts checks or money orders for local jurisdiction fees. This payment must be separate from the license application fee.
- Attach supporting documents
- Submit the application - To submit a business operator license application in Colorado, an applicant may choose any of these three options:
- Mail - Mail applications can be sent to the Marijuana Enforcement Division at: \
1697 Cole Boulevard, \
Suite 200, \
Lakewood, CO 80401
- In-person - Applicants can submit in person by visiting the Division’s physical address between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on weekdays.
- Online - The Division provides an online portal for marijuana license applications. Interested persons must first sign up with their email addresses and create passwords for subsequent access. Persons submitting online do not need to download the license application form.
In addition, all staff of a proposed marijuana operator establishment must complete an application to obtain an employee license. Interested persons can review the MED’s application checklist before sending in their applications. Colorado residents can make license-related inquiries by calling the Division at 1 (303) 866-3330 or visiting their office during business hours.
How Much Does a Marijuana Operator License Cost in Colorado?
The total cost of a cannabis operator license in Colorado is the same for medical and recreational marijuana business operators. However, there is a slight difference in how the licensing fees are apportioned. The application and licensing fees are:
- Retail marijuana business operators:
- $1,000 non-refundable license application fee
- $2,184 non-refundable license fee made out in a check to the state
- $500 non-refundable local jurisdiction fee made out in a check to the local authority
- Medical marijuana business operators:
- $1,000 non-refundable license application fee
- $2,684 non-refundable license fee
The same fees apply for marijuana business operator license renewal in Colorado. However, the state charges a non-refundable $300 license application fee for renewals.
Can Marijuana Business Operators Hold Other Cannabis Licenses in Colorado?
Yes. The provisions of Title 44, Colorado Revised Statutes do not prohibit retail marijuana business operators from holding other cannabis license types. However, they cannot obtain an additional permit to operate a recreational cannabis business. Also, license holders cannot convert their licenses to retail cannabis facility licenses. While medical marijuana business operators can operate more than one cannabis business owned by others, they cannot establish their own licensed medical marijuana facilities.