The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) adopted a bevy of new rules for the state industry, most which became effective Dec. 1. (See below for a full list.) Two specific rules—granting the ability to redesignate medical cannabis for adult use and requiring use-by dates and storage conditions—won’t be implemented until 2023 and 2024.

While enacted legislation led to the rules, the formal adoption comes after a summer and fall of “extensive” stakeholder engagement led by the division, which operates under the state’s Department of Revenue.

“As in previous years, the MED tackled significant topics during this year’s rulemaking session. While much of the MED’s rulemaking is legislatively driven, we appreciate how the MED’s rulemaking design provides opportunities to hear from and collaborate with our diverse set of stakeholders,” MED Senior Director Dominique Mendiola said in a news release. “The significant contributions of our team and members of the public have been critical to informing both regulatory updates and improvements to existing rules and processes.”

Under the adopted redesignation rule, which will be implemented Jan. 1, 2023, a medical cannabis cultivation facility may transfer medical cannabis to an adult-use cannabis cultivation facility or accelerator cultivator in order to change the product’s designation from medical cannabis or adult-use cannabis. The rule was directed from Senate Bill 22-178, which clarifies that the adult-use cultivation facility is required to pay any retail cannabis excise tax on that transferred cannabis.

That rule comes on the heels of 2021 legislation allowing a licensee to change the designation of adult-use cannabis to medical cannabis under certain circumstances.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, meanwhile, all regulated cannabis products in Colorado must be labeled with a use-by date and storage conditions before selling to a patient or adult who is 21 or older.

“Licensees are encouraged to conduct shelf-stability testing to establish appropriate use-by dates for products, however, if a licensee chooses not to conduct testing, a 9-month use-by date will apply,” the MED release states. “Regulated marijuana stores are permitted to sell products after the use-by date only if the licensee informs the patient or consumer that they are purchasing a product after its use-by date.”

Edibles and other consumable products already required use-by date labeling, but the Jan. 1., 2024, adoption will also apply the rule to products intended for inhalation, such as flower and prerolls.

Following are additional rule changes that went into effect on Dec. 1, 2022:

As a result of House Bill 22-1222: Marijuana Responsible Vendor Designations: A responsible vendor designation lives with both the individual and the business that seek to maintain the designation. If an employee changes employment, the responsible vendor designation will follow the employee to the new business.As a result of H.B. 22-1135: Marijuana Transporter License Transfers: Regulated cannabis transporter licensees may now take advantage of the change of ownership process that allows a business’s owner(s) to transfer the license to new or additional owners.Social Equity Program Updates: Finding of Suitability for Social Equity Licensees has now been extended to be valid for two years (previously suitability was valid for one year).Executive Order D2022-034 Protecting Colorado’s Workforce and Expanding Licensing Opportunities: In response to Executive Order D2022-034, the rules were amended to provide that when MED officials evaluate an applicant’s good moral character during the license application process, they will not consider arrests or convictions for activities in other states that are legal in Colorado. Internal Security Controls: In response to recent trends demonstrating an increase in burglaries and attempted burglaries at licensed cannabis businesses, the amended rules require licensees to maintain internal security controls, including a security plan to assist licensees in preparing for and mitigating burglaries and other attempted crimes at licensed marijuana businesses. Protecting Worker Safety: Amended rules also include increased worker safety protections such as requirements for employees to wear gloves, goggles and respirators when conducting certain manufacturing processes.

These rules can be viewed in their entirety on the MED Rules page of the division’s website.

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