Colorado lawmakers approve bill allowing cannabis retailers to sell food

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Colorado cannabis stores will be allowed to sell food and beverages under a bill approved by state lawmakers.

The measure, which also relaxes other restrictions, permits cannabis retailers to sell “non-marijuana consumable products,” including food, as long as sales of such products do not account for more than 20% of overall revenue.

Approved Wednesday by the Colorado General Assembly, the bipartisan Senate Bill 24-76 also:

  • Allows businesses to renew licenses every two years instead of annually.
  • Permits operators with multiple licenses to use a single “unified application process.”
  • Empowers the state Marijuana Enforcement Division to ditch a requirement for radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on regulated marijuana by 2027.
  • Allows retesting if a product has failed a test. The measure also removes a requirement that products that failed testing be labeled as such as long as they pass a subsequent test.
  • Permits interstate trade in genetic material.

Colorado on Jan. 1, 2014, became the first state in the U.S. to launch a regulated adult-use market.

But as in other legacy states, Colorado’s regulated operators feel constrained by what critics say are outmoded and overly onerous regulations.

“As the first state to legalize and regulate cannabis, Colorado established a number of rules that were perceived as necessary then, but which we now know are unnecessary and overly burdensome,” Chuck Smith, board president at Colorado Leads, an advocacy organization that supported the bill, said in a statement.

“We appreciate Colorado lawmakers and regulators making it a priority to start chipping away at some of our state’s more arbitrary and problematic policies.”

The bill now heads to Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, who is expected to sign it into law.

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