While Colorado is best known for its robust recreational cannabis system, the state has long been a safe haven for medical marijuana patients. On Nov. 7, 2000, 54% of Colorado voters approved Amendment 20, which amended the state Constitution to allow qualifying patients to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Colorado's Amendment 64, which was passed by voters on Nov. 6, 2012, led to legalization adult use in January 2014. However, there are still a large number of registered medical marijuana patients in the Centennial State.
The latest data from the Medical Marijuana Registry program show that there were 89,492 with an active medical marijuana registration, according to Mariah La Rue, a media communications specialist with the Medical Marijuana Registry. In April 2019, a total of 6,751 patients received a physician certification for medical marijuana. A majority of patients registered in Colorado are male (61.60%), with the average age for males being 43 and the average age for females being 46. Out of the state's list of qualifying conditions, the top reported condition for patients was severe pain.
Colorado's Qualifying Conditions
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Persistent muscle spasms
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Severe nausea
- Severe pain
Applying for Medical Marijuana in Colorado
Before patients can apply for a medical marijuana card, they must first be certified by a physician or doctor of osteopathy (MD or DO) who is in good standing and licensed to practice in Colorado.
A valid Colorado ID or driver's license is required to register. Using the state's online registration, prospective applicants can upload a JPEG or PDF copy of a valid Colorado driver's license or ID. The application processing fee is $25.
Minors are eligible for a medical marijuana card if the minor and primary parent or guardian are Colorado residents and the minor has one of the listed qualifying medical conditions. All patients younger than 18 must see two physicians and submit two physician certifications with a Patient Minor Consent form.
Appointing a Caregiver
To become a caregiver in Colorado, applicants must be 18 or older and a state resident. Caregivers are also not allowed to be the patient's physician, have their own primary caregiver, and may not have a licensed medical marijuana business.
Colorado statute defines four types of caregivers and the services each provides:
- Cultivating: A caregiver who grows marijuana on behalf of patients.
- Transporting: Transports marijuana for homebound or minor patients.
- Parents of a minor patient: Parents of a patient who is younger than 18.
- Advising: Advises patients on the medicinal use of marijuana.
Before applying, caregivers must first create an online account. A caregiver in Colorado is legally permitted to have up to five patients at a time.
Acquiring Your Medicine
It's not difficult to find a medical marijuana dispensary in Colorado. The latest figures released in May 2019 show that there are 463 medical marijuana centers registered with the Colorado Department of Revenue's Enforcement Division. The department updates a list of medical marijuana facilities and retail marijuana establishments each month.
Unless a patient's physician has recommended an extended plant count, the per-patient cultivation limits are six medical marijuana plants and 2 ounces, 56.7 grams, of finished marijuana products.
Rules for Patients Visiting from Other States (Reciprocity)
There is no allowance for reciprocity for medical marijuana patients registered in other states, but adult-use cannabis can be purchased by out-of-state patients who are 21 or older.