Colorado Medical Marijuana Industry Braces for Changes as MMED Prepares to Rewrite Rules

Medical cannabis businesses in Colorado will have to adjust to significant changes yet again as the state prepares to rewrite rules governing dispensaries, cultivation sites and edibles companies.

The Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division (MMED) said it is in the process of overhauling, reorganizing and clarifying many aspects of the regulatory framework, from rules tied to business licensing and product labeling to ownership, storage and recordkeeping requirements.

This is a double-edged sword for medical marijuana businesses. On one hand, some of the current rules are confusing and difficult to comply with, while others are too burdensome or simply ineffective. Officials with the MMED said they made the decision based, in part, on industry feedback, signalling that many business are unhappy or unclear about the current rules and would like to see changes.

On the other hand, the last thing the industry needs now is even more uncertainty, particularly as the state ushers in the new era of legalized marijuana and retail cannabis operations. There also will likely be some type of financial obligation to comply with the latest round of changes, but at this point it’s difficult to determine the overall impact. Colorado – among the early pioneers in the medical marijuana industry- just implemented a new regulatory framework in July of last year. Medical cannabis businesses spent tens of thousands of dollars, and in some cases much more, to meet those requirements.

The MMED said it is committed to working with the industry as it rewrites the rules. The organization will release a draft of the proposed changes by Dec. 28 and finalize its proposal on April 2. It will hold public forums on Jan. 11, Feb.. 15 and March 22 to discuss the new rules. Here’s a link to the initial timeline and the rulemaking proposal.