Marijuana is legal for adults and is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol; state also has a medical marijuana law
Last update: November 17, 2022
Colorado Celebrates Ten Years of Cannabis Legalization!
Ten years have passed since Colorado voters approved legalizing and regulating cannabis for adults in 2012, and eight years have passed since adult-use retail stores opened in 2014. Data shows the sky has not fallen, workplaces are safer, and the economy has flourished.
Even politicians who were opposed to legalization when it was on the ballot now recognize their concerns didn’t materialize. U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper, who was Colorado’s governor when legalization passed over his opposition, was quoted at an event celebrating the anniversary saying, “...we can prove that since we legalized marijuana there has been no increase in teenage experimentation, no increase in driving while high.” Meanwhile, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock — who had also opposed the legalization measure, said, “I was wrong 10 years ago. I’m a convert today. This can be done right and responsibly.”
Colorado’s cannabis job sector produced an estimated $2.2 billion dollars in sales and around 38,000 jobs, according to Leafly’s 2022 Job Report. One decade of legalization in Colorado has sparked a cannabis revolution across the U.S. and launched a new and booming American industry.
Colorado’s Cannabis Laws Continue to Evolve
On November 6, 2012, Colorado voters became the first in the nation (tied with Washington state) to legalize cannabis for adults. Under a voter-enacted constitutional amendment, adults 21 and older could possess up to one ounce of cannabis, grow up to six plants (three mature), and purchase cannabis from regulated businesses.
Over the years, the legislature has refined and improved the law. Some of the most notable changes include:
Allowing home delivery in cities and counties that allow it (HB 1234, 2019).
Cannabis hospitality — allowing retailers and businesses like hotels or restaurants to set aside a location for patrons to consume cannabis — also in cities and counties that opt-in (HB 1230, 2019).
Increasing the possession limit to two ounces (HB 21-1090, 2021).
Revising medical cannabis provisions, with an aim to ensure those under 21 are truly qualifying patients (HB 1317, 2022).
While Colorado’s cannabis laws have come a long way, in some ways other states have surpassed Colorado. Several states — including California, New Jersey, and New York — provide employment protections for cannabis consumers. About half of the nation’s 37 medical cannabis states provide similar legal protections. But in Colorado, both medical cannabis and adult-use consumers can still be fired for using cannabis off-hours and for testing positive many hours, days, or even weeks later.
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Colorado lawmakers are now considering a bill that is bad for patients and bad for consumers, and we would like your help opposing this prohibitionist measure. Now referred to as HB21-1317, this bill would require the state to gather skewed data on the supposed harms of cannabis use, which could be used to ban cannabis products. Yep, here we go again.