New Colorado Rules: More Mandates, But Also Supply Chain Flexibility

On Thursday, a series of new Colorado cannabis industry regulations went into effect, including new mandatory use-by dates for product packaging but also the flexibility for growers to re-designate medical cannabis as recreational inventory.

While some of the changes may help the cannabis supply chain during an economically harsh period by making it easier for various growers to supply both medical and recreational retailers, others will also likely add more regulatory burdens – and therefore costs – for the industry.

According to the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division, the highlights of the new rule changes include:

  • Starting Jan. 1, cultivators will be permitted to switch inventory designation from medical to recreational. The MED said this change is a “follow-up” to a switch in 2021 that allowed recreational cannabis products to be re-designated as medical “in certain circumstances.”
  • Starting in 2024, all cannabis products will be required to display “use-by” dates and specific storage conditions as perishable goods. Companies will be allowed to conduct testing to determine shelf lives and appropriate use-by dates, and if they don’t, a nine-month use-by date will automatically be assigned. This rule already applied to edibles, but now applies to inhalables such as flower.
  • Security requirements were increased for cannabis companies, to mandate “a security plan to assist Licensees in preparing for and mitigating burglaries and other attempted crimes” at any licensed marijuana business. The rule was adopted specifically in response to an increase in break-ins at various stores and businesses in recent years.
  • The lifespan of social equity licensees’ “finding of suitability” has been extended from one year to two years.
  • “Marijuana Responsible Vendor Designations” will be available for both individuals and businesses through the state.
  • Marijuana transporter licenses can now be transferred between owners, essentially allowing transporter companies to be bought and sold.
  • The MED will no longer “consider arrests or convictions for activities in other states that are legal in Colorado” when evaluating potential new marijuana licenseholder’s “moral character.”
  • There are new requirements for employee protective gear to be worn during “certain manufacturing processes.”

John Schroyer

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