Beginning today, Colorado will allow anyone to apply for a recreational marijuana business license as long as they are a resident of the state. For the last six months, only previous medical marijuana shop owners were able to apply for retail storefronts and, similar to medical cannabis dispensaries, they were required to grow the product they intended to sell. With the change in policy, new businesses are no longer obligated to produce pot on-site and will have the option of buying from independent growers or farmers.
It’s been reported that as of mid-June 292 people had already filed for optional notices that indicated their plans to apply for a license once applications were being accepted. Applications submitted on or after July 1 are slated to be approved with 90 days of their receipt, according to Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division, although no new businesses will be able to open until October.
“It’s tough to know how many people are really going to apply,” Mike Elliott, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, told the Denver Post. “Running a marijuana business is much, much more difficult than it might initially appear.”
Applicants must be able to provide a deed, lease and contract for their retail location at the time they submit their applications. All proposed locations will have to adhere to the general local zoning laws which prohibit dispensaries from operating near residential areas or within 1,000 feet of schools, child care establishments, alcohol or drug care facilities and other marijuana dispensaries.
Of course, there are fees associated with submitting an application that include a $250 state application fee as well as a $250 local authority application fee, for starters. Other fees are dependent on the type of business being opened which can include basic retail stores, test facilities or places to manufacture products. Businesses will also have to follow health and safety regulations, comply with packaging and labeling requirements and utilize marijuana inventory tracking systems.