Colorado’s Gold Standard for the New Legal States


By New Frontier Data Analysts

With eight new states passing cannabis initiatives this election cycle, 82 million additional people will now have access to a regulated cannabis market. Before dispensaries become operational, more detailed regulations are needed for program implementation. For California, the largest and most prominent state in the legalization initiative, the adult-use program is scheduled for implementation on January 1st, 2018.

For the past few years, Colorado has become the standard of an effective recreational and medicinal cannabis market, playing a key role in sculpting the environment of new consumption methods, medicinal purposes, research, cultivation tactics and product advancement. Colorado’s early development of their cannabis market has put itself in the national spotlight. With new states adding to the count of adult-use and medical-use marijuana, Colorado is now transitioning into the role model for these new states’ cannabis initiatives.

Colorado’s “Amendment 64 task force”, which combined representatives from every sector of the cannabis community environment, ensured the concerns of key stakeholders were represented during program implementation. The task force model will be one to emulate for newly legalized states as they develop new regulations such as the strictly enforced seed-to-sale tracking programs for marijuana sales.

To develop an efficient cannabis market, these new states can also look to the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division’s (MED) approach and develop appropriate responses to issues that will develop in the state. Colorado’s MED has demonstrated how tackling issues in a responsive manner, ranging from packing and labeling requirements, cultivation regulation, and dosage evaluation need to be addressed early on after legalization. With a developing market, unforeseen issues are inevitable. The MED has done well with being sensitive to the unpredicted challenges and has prepared responses accordingly to ensure the further development of the market.

These challenges were discussed prior to the election results with the head of MED and Senior Director of Enforcement at Colorado’s Department of Revenue, Ron Kammerzell, on “The Cannabist Show” on September 29th where he talked with host Ricardo Baco about the obstacles states may face after legalization. When asked about California, he stated, “It’s[California] one of our largest states, most populous states, geographically a huge area to deal with…. I think the biggest thing too for them is they have a patchwork of regulations, most of it’s at the local level, there is very little state-wide guidance, trying to get all of these local jurisdictions to an overlapping state-wide umbrella/state-wide model is going to be a challenge… we’ve had some conversations with the folks [like] the board of equalization and some of the other groups out there that are interested in “How do we get our hands around the regulatory piece of this?” and I think both far and away the scope of things will be the biggest challenge.”

Beyond the wide scope of the market itself, Kammerzell specifically addressed other obstacles such as underage compliance at dispensaries and packaging and labeling requirements to keep marijuana out of the hands of minors. The MED played a large role in designing a required warning emblem for edible products in the retail and medicinal market that will be a production requirement on packaging as well as the product itself, effective since October 1st. These successfully developed regulations by MED efficiently addressed product safety concerns. Organizations like the MED set a valuable example for the states about to enter the adult-use and medicinal markets.

New Frontier Data Analysts

Our data scientists drill deep with rigorous analytics to provide insight into key trends and market opportunities. We track the state of cannabis and its regulation in all major legal markets.

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