Cannabis cultivation is legal in Weld County pursuant to the State of Colorado’s Amendment 64 in 2012 which legalized the use of recreational cannabis by adults aged 21 and older. However, the law permits counties and municipalities to draw up their own cannabis regulations. In 2013, Weld County banned all cannabis businesses, including cultivation facilities, in its unincorporated areas with Ordinance 2013-11. Also, medical and recreational cannabis cultivation businesses are only allowed in certain cities such as Dacono, Northglenn, and Thornton, and towns such as Ault, Berthoud, Garden City, and Milliken. In the town of Hudson, only medical cannabis cultivation businesses are allowed.
Amendment 64 allows cannabis cultivation at home by adults aged 21 and older. Up to six cannabis plants, of which three are mature, can be grown at home strictly for personal use only.
For the commercial growing of cannabis for either medical or recreational use, a company needs to apply for a marijuana cultivation facility business license from the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED). To qualify, applicants must have been residents of Colorado for a minimum of two years and must pass background and criminal checks.
The applicant must also prove that the municipality where the business will be established allows cannabis-growing businesses. Even if the state license is approved, the company must first acquire a municipal marijuana-growing business license before it can start operating.
The Code of Colorado Regulations Section 3-215 allows licensed marijuana businesses to have shared cultivation facilities for recreational and medical marijuana provided they comply with the following requirements:
The Local Jurisdiction and Local Licensing Authority must permit the establishment of the marijuana business.
The shared recreational and medical marijuana facility must have the same owner.
In the shared facility, medical and recreational cannabis plants and concentrates must be kept separate from each other.
The marijuana cultivation business owner is responsible for ensuring that the Local Jurisdiction and Local Licensing Authority can easily distinguish the business transactions of medical and recreational cannabis from each other by differentiating packaging, using clear labeling, tracking inventory, and keeping accurate records.
The business application form must be downloaded, completed, and mailed with the required enclosures and application fee to:
Marijuana Enforcement Division
1697 Cole Blvd., Suite 200, Lakewood, CO 80401
ATTN: Business Licensing
Cannabis manufacturing is legal in Weld County as mandated by Colorado’s Amendment 64. However, cannabis manufacturing businesses must first be permitted by the municipality. They are banned in all unincorporated areas of Weld County by Ordinance 2013-11. Only the cities of Northglenn, Thornton, and Dacono and the towns of Ault, Berthoud, Garden City, and Milliken allow medical and recreational cannabis manufacturing businesses. Hudson allows only medical cannabis manufacturing businesses.
To be able to manufacture medical and recreational cannabis legally, a company needs to apply for a marijuana products manufacturer business license from the state’s MED, with the same qualifying requirements as applying for a cannabis cultivation business license. Pursuant to the Code of Colorado Regulations, the license authorizes the holder to manufacture, package, and label all types of cannabis products.
Companies that sell cannabis for medical or recreational purposes must put all of their goods in child-safe, opaque packaging that is resealable. Packages must guard against accidental marijuana consumption by children, teens, and adults. The official shop packaging must be used by customers and patients for safekeeping.
Cannabis retail is legal in Weld County by virtue of Colorado’s Amendment 64 but must first have the municipality’s permission. Ordinance 2013-11 has banned it in the county’s unincorporated areas. The retail sales of medical and recreational cannabis are permitted only in the towns of Ault, Berthoud, Garden City, and Milliken and the cities of Northglenn, Thornton, Dacono, Fort Lupton, and Longmont. In Hudson town, only medical cannabis dispensaries are permitted.
To legally sell medical and recreational cannabis by retail, a company is required to apply for a marijuana store business license from Colorado’s MED. The requirements for qualification are identical to those needed in applying for a cannabis cultivation or a manufacturing business license.
According to Amendment 64, licensed cannabis retail stores are only allowed to sell a single customer a total of one ounce of cannabis or any cannabis products, such as concentrates, salts, resins, tinctures, ointments, and edibles. This is due to the fact that in Colorado, it is illegal for anybody to possess more than an ounce of marijuana at a time. A licensed retailer may, however, sell a patient more than one ounce of cannabis if a medical marijuana ID card is presented along with a MED Uniform Certification Form from a physician.
Cannabis delivery is legal in Weld County in accordance with HB 19-1234. Medical marijuana delivery to medical marijuana cardholders was legalized on January 2, 2020, while recreational marijuana delivery to consumers aged 21 and older was legalized on January 2, 2021. Delivery to individuals can only be done once daily.
Weld County residents must apply to become part of Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Registry to get a medical marijuana card. To qualify, they must be diagnosed by a state-registered medical professional to have one of the following medical conditions:
● Severe pain
● Severe nausea
● HIV or AIDS
● Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
● Autism Spectrum Disorder
● Persistent muscle spasms
● A medical condition that requires opioid medication
A patient who is a minor needs to be certified by two state-registered medical professionals. The healthcare practitioners must submit the certification online.
The patient shall proceed with the online application by entering their social security number and a valid ID issued in Colorado, such as a driver's license. The application for a caregiver must also be included if the patient needs one.
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. If cleared, the patient can access the medical marijuana card online after the application has been processed, which typically takes one to three business days. This is only valid in the state and can be printed or displayed on a mobile device.
Mailed applications are only allowed strictly for patients who do not have Internet access. The adult application form or application form for minors should be printed out, completed, and sent with the requirements and a $29.50 check made out to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. The recipient should be:
4300 Cherry Creek Dr. S. Denver, CO
Applicants must allow six to eight weeks for mailed-in applications to be processed. They will receive their physical medical marijuana card in the mail and will not have any online account.
The following may be contacted for further inquiries:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
4300 Cherry Creek Dr. S. Denver, CO
The Colorado Department of Public Safety’s Impacts of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado report of July 2021 showed that as of 2020, there were 3,207 recreational and medical cannabis businesses in the state. Of these, 1,636 were recreational cannabis businesses and 1,571 were medical cannabis businesses. Weld County had a total of 14 recreational cannabis businesses and 10 medical cannabis businesses.
According to the report, total revenue from cannabis increased from $67.6 million in 2014 to $387.5 million in 2020, a jump of 473%. This revenue was the sum from licenses, fees, recreational marijuana excise taxes, and recreational marijuana sales taxes. From excise taxes alone, a total of $487 million was contributed to the construction of public schools and other needs for public education.
According to data from the Weld County Sheriff’s Office at the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer page, in 2011, a year before recreational adult-use cannabis was legalized, there were 50 arrests for drug abuse violations in Weld County, of which 29 were for marijuana possession. This increased to 152 arrests for drug abuse violations in 2021, but only three of those were for marijuana possession and one was for marijuana manufacturing or sales. There were 235 DUI arrests in 2011, which decreased to 102 in 2021.
The Impacts of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado report shows that there were 505 marijuana-related arrests in Weld County in 2012, which decreased to 215 in 2019.