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Disclaimer: The information below is fully based on our independent research. While our team does everything in their power to provide accurate and current information from credible state-run websites and resources, we are not lawyers or legal experts. As such, none of the following information should be interpreted as legal advice. Content on these pages is provided for informational purposes only and those with legal concerns should consult experts within their state.
Colorado is one of 11 states where a wide array of cannabis products are freely and legally available. This includes products like CBD oil. Cannabidiol (CBD) os a cannabinoid that is produced by both marijuana and hemp. It is nonintoxicating and the second most abundant cannabinoid in marijuana plants after THC. A handful of clinical studies and many anecdotal reports have made many people curious about CBD’s potential therapeutic properties. Many people tout CBD as a remedy for maladies that include seizures, painful muscle spasms, anxiety, depression and insomnia.
However, wherever you are, it’s always a good idea to double-check the legality of the products you are considering buying. Laws throughout the US change and evolve in every election and legislative session. So, is CBD legal in Colorado? This is what we’ve been able to find out.
Is CBD oil legal in Colorado?
Yes, CBD is legal in Colorado. Adults age 21 and up can purchase marijuana-based CBD products from legal dispensaries. Marijuana-based CBD is also available to those who have medical marijuana cards. Hemp-based CBD is available for anyone to purchase without age restrictions or a prescription.
Colorado is also one of a handful of states where adding CBD to food products is explicitly legal.
What are the current CBD laws in Colorado?
Since Colorado was one of the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana products, it’s also fitting that they were among the first to explicitly ban them in the 20th century. On March 30, 1917, Colorado restricted the sale and possession of cannabis in the state. This was part of the state’s temperance movement, which also ratified the 18th Amendment, which established prohibition of alcohol, the same year.
Colorado first began to consider easing of restrictions in the 1980s, when a wave of drug convictions led to extremely high incarceration rates. Pitkin County Deputy District Attorney Jay Moore argued that the excessive enforcement of marijuana laws led to needless spending.
By 2000, a majority of Colorado voters had decided to allow therapeutic use of marijuana products, which would include both high-THC products and low-THC, high-CBD products. Fifty-four percent of voters voted in favor of Amendment 20, which allowed patients to use medical marijuana with written medical consent. Patients were permitted to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and to grow up to six plants at a time. Because marijuana was (and still is) a schedule 1 controlled substance, patients were not able to get marijuana at pharmacies. Instead, they could purchase from clubs or dispensaries that offered marijuana in flower form, edibles and also seeds and clones for cultivation.
With medical marijuana legal, there was some confusion regarding whether employers could prohibit employees from consuming it while not at work. The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that, since marijuana was against federal law, employers could ban its use. The possibility of being drug tested is among the reasons many consider the use of CBD products instead of THC. CBD products with low levels of THC will not cause positive results in drug tests.
Voters in Colorado further liberalized marijuana laws in the state in November 2012. After the enactment of Colorado Amendment 64, adults age 21 or over can legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana at a time. Additionally, they can grow up to six plants at any one time, as long as only three are mature flowering plants.
Ironically, while marijuana was fully legal for adults to possess and grow, industrial hemp remained in a gray area. While Amendment 64 made it legal for all residents and visitors to Colorado to purchase and possess marijuana, Colorado state law did not define CBD as a marijuana constituent. Instead, CBD was considered an industrial hemp product. Because of this, its status remained legally murky until the federal Farm Bill of 2018, which removed industrial hemp from the controlled substances list.
That same year, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 18-205 into law. This bill clarified regulations to show that hemp was an agricultural commodity in the state and was regulated by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
Colorado also revised laws so that all parts of industrial hemp could be used as a food product as long as manufacturers conformed to specific rules. Manufacturers in Colorado must register with the state’s Department of Health and Environment. Additionally, they must be able to show that all parts of the plant that are added to foodstuffs come from a state with an established industrial hemp program or from a country that inspects and regulations hemp under a food safety program. Additionally, industrial hemp used for food products and CBD products must contain less than .3% THC.
Growers and processors must register with the state. While there is not currently a requirement that every grower have their plants tested, it is understood that any registered grower can be tested at any time. If plants come back with more than .3% THC but less than 1%, the crop is destroyed. If the total percentage of THC is over 1%, the entire crop is categorized as illegally grown marijuana, and could lead to prosecution. In order to help growers stay compliant, the state’s Department of Health and Environment provides a regularly updated source list.
To be legally sold in Colorado, hemp-based CBD products must clearly identify hemp as one of the ingredients. They must also show the concentration of CBD in the product. Sellers and manufacturers cannot make nutritional or therapeutic claims, in alignment with current FDA rules. They must also include a statement that says that the FDA has not evaluated their products.
At the current time, homemade foods that fall under Colorado’s Cottage Food regulations cannot contain industrial hemp. Additionally, marijuana-derived CBD cannot be used in foods by those who do not possess the proper dispensary licensing. CBD can be sold in a wide range of forms, but cannot be put in products that are dosed like a drug, such as inhalers, infused eye drops and nasal sprays.
Can I purchase CBD in Colorado?
Yes, CBD products including oil, creams, drops, extracts and other forms can all be purchased in Colorado. Additionally, Colorado is one of a handful of states where edible products like gummies, brownies, smoothies and more can legally be sold as long as they are properly sourced and labeled. Hemp-based CBD can be found in retail stores, convenience stores, natural food shops and more.
There is no age limit for purchasing hemp-based CBD products in Colorado, nor are there limits to how much CBD you can possess.
Marijuana-based CBD products are also legal to purchase and consume for all adults aged 21 or over. Colorado does not distinguish between residents and visitors under current marijuana laws. Individuals in the state may possess up to one ounce of marijuana, including marijuana-based CBD products.
CBD products can also be purchased online and shipped to residents and visitors in the state. Many people choose to buy online in order to get a wider range of CBD products, to buy from vendors whose testing they trust, or to get better prices than they can find in local retail establishments.