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Opening a Marijuana Business in Colorado? Here are a Few Tips

— August 24, 2022

The biggest hurdle you’ll face is figuring out what type of license you need.

Denver, CO – Marijuana is big business in Colorado. Last year alone, the marijuana industry in Colorado raked in over $2 billion in sales. No wonder many people are trying to get into marijuana while there’s still time. After all, it’s been only 8 years since marijuana cultivation and selling became legal in Colorado.

However, getting started in this highly-regulated industry is a very complex process. If you thought you just needed to find a suitable location to open up a store you couldn’t be more wrong. There are tons of laws and regulations to study and keep in mind while setting up shop. Any mistake can result in your application being rejected. If you want to avoid major headaches, it’s best to seek advice from an experienced Denver marijuana lawyer who’s had years to study all the legal aspects involved.

What do I need to open a marijuana business in Colorado?

As with any other type of business you’ll need money for real estate and equipment, a business plan, and the appropriate business license. Presumably, you have some idea where the money is going to come from and have put together a business plan. Hopefully, a realistic one.

The biggest hurdle you’ll face is figuring out what type of license you need. The laws are very strict and you may need more than one license, depending on the exact business you have in mind. 

Types of marijuana business licenses available in Colorado:

Let’s say you’re planning to buy a piece of land, grow marijuana and sell it. According to the law, you’ll need different licenses for each part of the process.

Person holding marijuana leaf with daytime sky as background; image by Kym MacKinnon, via
Person holding marijuana leaf with daytime sky as background; image by Kym MacKinnon, via
  • Marijuana Store – For this type of basic operation, you’ll need a license allowing you to buy marijuana from cultivation and manufacturing facilities and sell it to consumers.
  • Marijuana Cultivation – If you want to grow marijuana, you’ll need a separate license to cultivate, prepare, package, and sell the product. However, this type of license does not allow you to sell directly to consumers. As a cultivator, you can sell your product to a licensed store or manufacturing facility. To be able to sell your own stuff, you’ll have to apply for a marijuana store license as well. Each type of license costs $2,500 per facility in Colorado.
  • Marijuana Products Manufacturer – Manufacturers need a license to purchase, prepare and package the product. As a manufacturer, you can sell your product to retail stores, but not to consumers.  
  • Marijuana Testing Facility – Safety standards are very strict when it comes to marijuana. If you want to certify the safety of your product and establish its potency, you’ll need a testing facility license. This type of license does not allow you to buy or sell marijuana. 
  • Marijuana Transporter – The product will need to be moved between facilities, which requires yet another type of license.
  • Marijuana Operator – This one allows a company to provide professional operational services to retail marijuana establishments.

As you can well imagine, you’ll need a lot of documents for each of the licenses required to start a marijuana business. A seasoned Colorado marijuana business lawyer can also help with that. Also, you may need general advice on setting up a business, especially if you’re partnering up with someone. A good business attorney can help you deal with complex issues that may arise in the future, such as one of the partners retiring or deciding to sell their share of the company. 

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