The first business owners who will be licensed to sell marijuana in Colorado will be eligible to pick them up today at 8:00 a.m. According to a Denver Post report, these businesses will be among the first stores in the United States to legally sell marijuana.

The new licenses come as a result of a 2012 measure where Colorado voters were asked if recreational use (and possession) in the state should be legalized. It was approved by a considerable margin, and much of 2013 has been dedicated to rulemaking surrounding taxation and regulation of the product. Also, cities were given time to decide whether they would opt out of regulations surrounding zoning of businesses that would sell marijuana.

Marijuana retailers must have both a state and a local license in order to operate, which has meant that retailers must adhere to two different sets of regulations in getting licensed. We find this compelling because it calls for aspiring retailers to consult experienced legal counsel so that they can be assured that they are following Colorado law as well as local ordinances.

The City of Denver has given licenses to eight retail stores and 30 growers and four producers of marijuana infused products. It is reported that a number of license applications are still in process of being approved. With that, it is unknown how many other retailers will be able to open on January 1. In the meantime, some retailers were surprised with how city officials were so helpful throughout the process. 

Source: DenverPost.com, “Denver issues finalized licenses to recreational retailers,” John Ingold, December 27, 2013