It’s no surprise that CBD is legal in Colorado, a trailblazer for cannabis legalization and cultivation.
Medical-grade marijuana has been legal for over two decades in Colorado, and recreational marijuana for just shy of one.
The Colorado cannabis market is booming, and CBD is sharing the spotlight.
So, if CBD is legal in CO, then what’s left to know?
Here’s a rundown on the progressive progress that the state has made and the laws behind Colorado’s cannabis culture.
Colorado Cannabis Laws
Colorado’s cannabis laws are rooted in the response to federal ones.
Federal Law – The Controlled Substances Act
Federal laws made cannabis a federally controlled substance after passing the Controlled Substances Act in 1970.
In response to elevating drug use concerns, the CSA legislature created tighter and more enforced restrictions on substances as a means to curb substance abuse.
At the time, marijuana was labeled a Schedule 1 substance under the term “cannabis.”
This scheduling deemed every part of the cannabis plant illegal, subsequently leading to marijuana and cannabis being used interchangeably.
This misconception dismissed the notion that marijuana and hemp are different. Both plants and their derivatives, including CBD, were subjected to Schedule 1 scrutiny.
Colorado Medical Marijuana
In 2000, Colorado legalized medical marijuana for qualifying patients with debilitating medical conditions.
Debilitating medical conditions include cancer, glaucoma, immunodeficiency viruses or syndromes, chronic or debilitating diseases or conditions, treatments characteristic of cachexia, severe pain or nausea, seizures, multiple sclerosis, or any other condition authorized by the state, and more.
It’s important to note that physician recommendation or evaluation is often required for patients seeking medical marijuana to alleviate pain and discomfort.
Colorado Recreational Marijuana
Twelve years after legalizing medical marijuana, Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana after Amendment 64 was passed.
Colorado marijuana law allows adults aged 21 or older to have up to two ounces of marijuana at any given time.
The legalization of marijuana was not without restrictions, however. Marijuana must be purchased from authorized dispensaries, cannot be used in public in any form, can be tested for by employers, and is still illegal on federal land.
Coloradans can also grow marijuana plants at home. Home-grow laws dictate that six plants are allowed per person over the age of 21, provided that only three plants are flowering simultaneously.
Personal plants must be kept out of public sight and in areas inaccessible to minors, and the selling of homegrown marijuana is not allowed.
Growing laws differ in various Colorado counties and municipalities, so be sure to find out what your local government allows.
The 2018 Farm Bill
In 2018, another federal act titled the Agricultural Improvement Act (Farm Bill) altered its decision to control the cannabis plant in its entirety.
More specifically, the federal government recognized that referring to marijuana and hemp as cannabis was not all-encompassing.
Instead, the two cannabis subspecies bore stark differences.
Marijuana contains potent levels of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound in weed that gets you high.
On the other hand, hemp has relatively minor amounts of THC while still abundant in other cannabinoids like CBD.
Today, federal law controls marijuana, or the parts of the cannabis plant derivative containing more than 0.3 percent THC, and considers cannabis derivatives under that margin hemp.
This change rescheduled CBD and removed it from the controlled substances list, and hemp, its properties, compounds, and derivatives, are no longer illegal.
The state of Colorado, however, remains less restrictive in regard to cannabis and significantly more liberal than current federal law.
Colorado CBD Laws
Today, Colorado considers hemp an industrial commodity, a position the state government’s operations reflect.
What Do I Need to Know About CBD Cultivation in Colorado?
The industrial cultivation of hemp is overseen by the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA).
Those wishing to grow industrial hemp need to submit materials for application with the CDA.
Submission requirements include:
- The applicant’s name and address
- Identification of business type and business name (i.e. corporation,LLC, propereotr, etc.).
- GPS coordinates, map, and description of the area where the hemp is to be grown.
- The registration application must be submitted at least 30 days before the intended cultivation date.
- $500 application fee, plus $5 per each acre to be planted outside, or $0.33 per every 1,000 square feet to be planted indoors. There are no acreage restrictions at this time.
Once registered, growers are subject to inspections and samplings to ensure that the hemp plants contain no more than 0.3 percent THC.
Coloradans interested in growing hemp can view the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Industrial hemp rules.
What are Colorado’s CBD Possession Limits?
Hemp-derived CBD oil is entirely legal in the state.
This means that there are no possession limitations or restrictions on how much CBD a Colorado consumer can have – provided the product contains less than 0.3 percent THC or less.
Non-hemp-derived CBD oils, such as CBD oils made from the marijuana plant or THC concentrations higher than the legal limit, are more controlled.
Marijuana CBD products are available in medical and recreational dispensaries and still require consumers to be 21 years of age or older or possess a medical marijuana card.
If you are concerned about the amount of THC that could be in your CBD, be sure to double-check the label and only buy from certified CBD vendors.
Hemp and Food – The Colorado Difference
Colorado set the stage for cannabis progression once again when the state’s hemp laws were modified to permit hemp as an ingredient in food, including all parts of the hemp plant and CBD as a food additive.
This stance contrasts with federal regulations outlined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), restricting hemp derivatives other than hemp seeds (for example, the stalk or flower) from being added to food, a stance many states mirror in their own CBD consumable restrictions.
In 2018, the Colorado Department of Public Health (CDPHE), which regulates hemp manufacturing, packaging, testing, and distribution, acknowledged that the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) define industrial hemp as all parts of the cannabis plant, so long as the plant’s THC levels are below 0.3 percent.
The food regulations aligned with federal law and did not allow for industrial hemp or CBD oil to be used in food, which conflicted with the state’s hemp laws.
To adhere to Colorado law, a policy was established allowing any part of industrial hemp to be used in food as an ingredient, additive, or supplement, provided manufacturers comply with CDPHE imposed rules.
The CDPHE regulations for hemp-food additives and ingredients include:
- Hemp sourced from approved industrial hemp programs.
- Growers must be compliant with hemp laws.
- The hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC, and producers are required to document THC concentrations.
- Hemp seed meal, flour, and oil must undergo lab testing,
- Hemp products must be labeled per federal and statutory labeling laws.
There are no age restrictions on hemp-infused edible commodities, as long as pre-existing age restrictions do not already exist.
The future of Colorado cannabis laws can be expected to change as more states begin to follow its example, making cannabis more common and less controlled.
Keep an eye out for CBD updates as the industry continues to blossom.