Colorado online marijuana sales are officially allowed as of Monday, giving consumers a new method of ordering cannabis more than a decade after the state enacted legalization.
This comes two months after Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed the online sales legislation from Reps. William Lindstedt (D), Said Sharbini (D) and Robert Rodriguez (D) into law.
The measure strikes language from state statute that explicitly prohibited cannabis from being sold on the internet, while adding regulations to provide for online commerce.
Adults 21 and older will still need to physically pick up the marijuana products from the retailer, but they can browse and electronically purchase cannabis online ahead of visiting the store.
The new law says that retailers will be required to verify the name and age of the customer at the time of the online purchase, and that information will have to match identification that they provide when they come to pick up the products.
Further, the retailer will have to provide shoppers with “digital versions of all warning or educational materials that the retail marijuana store is required to post and provide on its licensed premises.” The customer will have to “acknowledge receipt” of those materials before finishing their purchase.
“What the bill mainly aims to do, from my perspective, is reduce cash in the marijuana space, which is something that is exceedingly important to do because when there is a tremendous amount of cash in any industry, it can lead to some troubling outcomes—specifically things like robbery,” Sen. Kevin Van Winkle (R) said on the Senate floor in May. “It sets them up for tremendous amount of potential theft, and other things.”
State lawmakers are also hoping that Congress will further resolve the marijuana industry’s unique financial and public safety issues by passing the bipartisan Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. But efforts to get that done on the Senate side during the summer session fell short amid disagreements about a section of the bill concerning broader banking regulations.
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Polis, meanwhile, has signed a number of drug policy reform bills in recent weeks.
For example, he also recently approved legislation that will bolster marijuana-related protections for working professionals in the state—effectively codifying an executive order he issued last year.
And he signed a bill in May to create a regulatory framework for legal psychedelics under a voter-approved initiative.
He said in an interview published last week that his state’s moves to legalize marijuana and psychedelics have resulted in a “very good” experience—and he believes that adults broadly should have the right to make decisions for themselves about using drugs.