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Legalization Status

Marijuana (2)

Decriminalized since 1975

Medical Marijuana (1)

Medical since 2001

Coffee Shop (1)

Recreational since 2012

Colorado State Governing Body Information


2018 Marijuana Packaging Laws Update


Along with California, in 1975 the Centennial State was one of the first states to enact a soft decriminalization of cannabis, which means that possession of a small amount of marijuana is only a misdemeanor that incurs a small fine. Colorado remained in line with federal guidelines despite these light penalties for possession. There was another push to further decriminalize cannabis in the new millennium, and the Centennial State was again in the forefront of medical marijuana laws by passing Amendment 20.

Colorado Amendment 20 allowed patients with an approved medical condition to get marijuana as medication for certain symptoms. Colorado’s laws were one of the most liberal because they allowed patients to grow plants as well as expanded the list of diseases and symptoms, including less well defined symptoms like nausea but also using current research to include disorders with muscle spasticity. Since cannabis was still illegal federally, Colorado medical cannabis patients couldn’t go to a normal pharmacy. Instead of having state-run dispensaries, CO licensed dispensaries. Physicians were also given more leeway to allow patients to grow their own plants and possess more cannabis for medical reasons.

In November 2012, the Centennial State took cannabis legalization one step further and allowed persons aged 21 to purchase cannabis for recreational reasons from dispensaries within the state. These laws do require consumers to show ID and be responsible with their cannabis use, but they also have labeling requirements for cannabis products sold in retail dispensaries in Colorado.

2017 Marijuana Packaging Laws Update


The Centennial State was one of the leaders in legalizing medical cannabis and then recreational cannabis as well, and their laws are as developed and specific as other early legalization states. They require that medical cannabis products leave the dispensary in opaque exit bags that are child resistant, and the marijuana product packaging must also follow certain guidelines.

Colorado also has detailed regulations about the labeling that goes on cannabis packages, from specific logos down to the size of the text. These regulations are concerned with consumer safety because they want to make sure that consumers are fully aware that they’re buying a medical cannabis product and also the effects of the product. Like other states, Colorado is very concerned that children aren’t attracted by labeling or packaging.

Colorado has also created a new safety feature for their labeling that clearly shows that this is a medical marijuana product: the universal THC symbol. This THC warning label is a bold red symbol on a white background that will allow customers to identify a cannabis product at a glance. To learn more about the symbol and other current Colorado cannabis laws, see the official Colorado Marijuana site.

For detailed information about the laws surrounding the sale of medical marijuana in CO, see the Colorado Retail Marijuana Code. The Code includes additional regulations on shipping containers and their rules for testing the product for potency and contaminants.

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