Cannabis cultivation in Mesa County is legal for both medical and adult use. The legalization of medical cannabis for registered patients with debilitating illnesses won voters' approval in the State of Colorado in 2000, adding Article XVIII to the state’s Constitution. Title 12 Article 43.3 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, called the Colorado Medical Marijuana Code, was effective on July 1, 2010. It has since been amended by Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) 18-18-406.3 and CRS 25-1.5-106. In 2012, Amendment 64 legalizing the adult use of cannabis by people not younger than 21 won the state voters’ approval. The regulation and licensing of medical and adult-use cannabis fall under the purview of the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) of the Colorado Department of Revenue.
A Regulated Marijuana Business License Application must be sent to the MED and be approved to be able to operate a medical marijuana cultivation facility or adult-use marijuana cultivation facility in Mesa County. The nonrefundable fees are $1,000 for the application and $1,830 for the license for medical cannabis cultivation, with a maximum of 500 plants. For adult-use cannabis cultivation, it is $5,000 for the application and also $1,830 for the license, but for up to 1,800 plants. The Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division allows indoor and outdoor cannabis cultivation.
The MED advises that the state cannabis business application be made simultaneously with the local cannabis business application in the county, city, or municipality. The application form requires the applicant to state if the locality allows the type of cannabis being applied for. This is because Amendment 64 allows counties, cities, and other municipalities to prohibit all or certain types of cannabis establishments within their areas.
On June 29, 2022, Mesa County adopted the Ordinance for the Licensing and Regulation of Marijuana Businesses. The Mesa County Land Development Code allows licensed cannabis cultivation only in the agricultural zoning district. Cannabis growing may be allowed in the rural zoning district but only under an approved Conditional Use Permit. The following local fees must be paid to the county:
|Application Fee||Annual License Fee|
|Medical Cannabis Cultivation Facility||$3,500||$2,500|
|Adult-Use Cannabis Cultivation Facility||$3,500||$2,500|
Amendment 64 allows each person not younger than 21 to grow up to six cannabis plants, with a maximum of three of them mature, in a locked enclosed space that is not viewable by the public. These cannabis plants and their parts and byproducts may not be sold.
CRS 25-1.5-106 states that a patient with a disabling or debilitating illness, or the patient’s caregiver, is allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants, with a maximum of three of them mature. A patient may register with the State of Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Registry to get permission to grow more plants but not to exceed 99.
CRS 25-1.5-106 and CRS 18-18-406 state that if medical or adult-use cannabis is grown by qualified individuals in a residence, the maximum number of plants allowed is 12 regardless of the number of qualified residents. Cannabis growing areas in residences must be enclosed and locked to prevent persons younger than 21 to enter. Also, the residence must be in a county or municipality that allows home cultivation of cannabis. Patients and caregivers qualified to grow more cannabis plants must plant those in excess of 12 in a non-residential property located in a zone approved by the locality.
Medical and adult-use cannabis product manufacturing in Mesa County is legal according to Article XVIII of the Constitution of the State of Colorado, CRS 18-18-406.3, CRS 25-1.5-106, and Amendment 64. A MED Regulated Marijuana Business License for a medical marijuana product manufacturing facility or adult-use marijuana product manufacturing facility, as well as local Mesa County approval are needed. The MED medical marijuana product manufacturing facility applicant must pay a nonrefundable $1,000 application fee and a $1,830 license fee. The MED or adult-use marijuana product manufacturing facility applicant must pay a $5,000 application fee and a $1,830 license fee.
Mesa County’s Ordinance for the Licensing and Regulation of Marijuana Businesses allows licensed cannabis product manufacturing but only in the rural zoning district and only after a Conditional Use Permit is approved. The following local fees apply:
|Application Fee||Annual License Fee|
|Medical Cannabis Product Manufacturing Facility||$3,500||$2,500|
|Adult-Use Cannabis Product Manufacturing Facility||$3,500||$2,500|
Although the retail selling of medical cannabis to registered patients by licensed medical cannabis centers and the retail selling of adult-use cannabis to people not younger than 21 by licensed retail stores are legal in the State of Colorado, Mesa County’s Land Development Code prohibits the operation of any type of cannabis retail facility in all the zoning districts of its unincorporated areas. Cities and municipalities may have their own rules regarding cannabis retail facilities though.
House Bill (HB) 19-1234 was enacted in the State of Colorado in May 2019, legalizing the delivery of medical cannabis to registered patients by licensed medical cannabis centers with a delivery permit, and the delivery of adult-use cannabis to people not younger than 21 by licensed retail stores with a delivery permit. There are no licensed medical cannabis centers and licensed adult-use cannabis retail stores permitted in Mesa County. However, the county has no ordinances prohibiting deliveries from licensed medical cannabis centers or licensed adult-use cannabis retail stores located in other counties to qualified patients or qualified purchasers not younger than 21 residing in Mesa County.
Mesa County residents can get a medical cannabis card by applying either online or by mail to the State of Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Registry. As of April 2023, there were 999 registered patients in Mesa County.
The first step is to get a healthcare provider certification for a debilitating or disabling medical condition.
The following debilitating conditions may only be certified by a doctor of medicine or osteopathy:
HIV or AIDS
Persistent muscle spasms
The following disabling conditions may be certified by a doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy, dentist, or advanced practice practitioners licensed to prescribe medication:
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Conditions that merit opioid prescription
In addition to the patient’s name, address, and diagnosis, the certification indicates the maximum level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for the patient, the recommended product, usage instructions, and, if necessary, the authority to purchase more than the maximum allowed quantity based on the age of the patient.
The healthcare provider must post the certification on the online registry. If the patient intends to apply by mail, the healthcare provider must also give the patient a printed certification.
Patients who apply online must create an account on the registry to complete their application. A copy of a valid state ID or driver’s license must be uploaded. The application fee is $29.50. Once approved, the medical cannabis card will appear on the patient’s account for printing. An electronic version may also be downloaded.
Postal applications must contain the printed and completed application form, signed certification, a copy of a valid state ID, and a check or money order for the fee. Postal applications take around six to eight weeks. The application must be sent to:
Medical Marijuana Registry
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80246
Medical cannabis cards for debilitating conditions have a 12-month validity. The validity of medical cannabis cards for disabling conditions will depend on what the healthcare provider indicated in the certification.
For more information, the following contact details may be used:
Phone: 303-692-2184 Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In the State of Colorado, the sales tax on cannabis is comprised of the 2.9% state sales tax imposed only on sales of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products and the 15% adult-use cannabis sales tax imposed only on sales of adult-use cannabis and adult-use cannabis products. Total sales of medical and adult-use cannabis statewide from January 2014 to March 2023 was over $14.37 billion.
Licensed adult-use cannabis cultivation facilities must pay a 15% state excise tax on their first sale of adult-use cannabis to a licensed manufacturer or retailer.
Furthermore, licensed medical cannabis centers and licensed adult-use cannabis retail stores are required by HB 19-1234 to pay one dollar for every delivery they make to the municipality they are located in.
Since there are no medical or adult-use cannabis retail facilities in Mesa County it does not benefit from those revenues. It only benefits from local application and licensing fees for cannabis cultivation and product manufacturing businesses.
Medical cannabis for registered patients was legalized in Mesa County in 2000 but the Medical Marijuana Code only became effective in 2010. Adult-use cannabis was legalized in 2012 but the retail selling of adult-use cannabis has been prohibited in Mesa County.
Data submitted by the Mesa County Sheriff's Office to the FBI’s Crime Explorer page shows that in 1999, the year prior to medical cannabis legalization, there were 15 marijuana offense arrests, comprised of 14 arrests for possession and one arrest for sales or manufacturing.
In 2010, the year of the effectivity of the Medical Marijuana Code, there were 125 marijuana offense arrests, comprised of 121 arrests for possession and four arrests for sales or manufacturing.
In the following year, 2011, there were 58 marijuana offense arrests, comprised of 54 arrests for possession and four arrests for sales or manufacturing.
In 2013, the year after adult-use cannabis legalization, there were 53 marijuana offense arrests, all for possession.
In 2021, the latest available data, there were 29 marijuana offense arrests, comprised of 28 arrests for possession and one arrest for sales or manufacturing.
The number of DUI arrests was as follows in those years:
1999: 101 arrests
2010: 95 arrests
2011: 93 arrests
2013: 213 arrests
2021: 45 arrests