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I often get asked how one can get into the lucrative business of selling retail or recreational marijuana.  There are numerous steps to setting up a retail or recreational marijuana business in Colorado.


First, the applicant must complete a background check through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.  This can be done online for a small fee.


Second, the applicant must fill out the application, which is available online. The applicant indicates on his or her application whether he intends to operate as a retail marijuana store, cultivation facility, products manufacturer, or testing facility.  Also, if the applicant’s business already is licensed as a medical marijuana store, the applicant must indicate whether they intend to solely operate as a recreational store, or to also continue with their medical marijuana business.  All individuals owning at least 10% or more of the business must list themselves on the application.


Third, the applicant must submit numerous documents alongside their application.  The necessary forms are as follows: copy of the business’ lease or deed (including written consent from property owner for retail a retail marijuana operation), a zone use permit, a copy of City burglar alarm permit, a Certificate of Good Standing from Colorado Secretary of State, a floor plan showing the layout of the establishment, a security plan indicating how the applicant intends to monitor and secure the licensed premises, a copy of City sales tax license, a description of products and services to be provided, a tax/surety bond in the amount of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00), and an area map indicating land uses of other properties within a 1,000-foot radius of the property.


If the location of your proposed retail marijuana business is near a school or rehab facility, that information will need to be disclosed in your application.  Also, exactly what you intend to sell will similarly need to be disclosed.

As a consumer, keep in mind that taxes on retail marijuana are high; should you already have a medical license, purchasing the product as medical as opposed to retail will involve significantly less cost.


About the Author: 
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state.  She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.

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