Colorado Will Allow Online Marijuana Sales

Stephen Andrews
14 Jul 2023

The governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, has signed a bill that will allow operators to sell marijuana products online. The online sales legislation was previously passed by the Senate and House. The bill will remove language from the existing statute that explicitly bans cannabis from ecommerce and it will add directives on how to proceed with online sales.

Coloradans will soon be able to browse and purchase marijuana on the web, however, they will still need to go to the dispensary to pick up their orders. Principally, the new bill will aim to reduce the amount of cash in the marijuana space. 

The upgraded legislation will allow adults 21 and older to browse and electronically purchase cannabis online, after which they will need to pick up their goods from the retailer in person.

Retailers would be required to verify the name and age of the customer in the instance of online purchase, and that information should be matched upon identification when the customer comes to retrieve the goods. 

In addition, retailers would be asked to provide online shoppers with digital education materials and warning that the retail marijuana store is required to post and provide on its licensed premises. The customer would need to "acknowledge receipt" of those materials before completing the 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," said Kevin Van Winkle, member of the Colorado Senate, during debate on the bill. "It sets them up for tremendous amount of potential theft, and other things." 

Winkle also added that he hopes congressional lawmakers will further resolve the cannabis industry's unique financial and public safety issues by passing the bipartisan SAFE Banking Act. The bill aims to grant marijuana operators access to regular banking services. 

Online shopping for marijuana continues to be an area of rigid regulations. Ecommerce is against the law in many states around the US, even when some of those states transition to legal markets. Bans on online retail generally target THC-rich products. 

Still, there are states where (at least) medical marijuana and its delivery are both legal, and you only need to search for legitimate online dispensaries. Purchasing MMJ online in these states is entirely legal and fairly easy to do.  

Colorado's new legislation on online purchasing is a step in the right direction. While it only solves some of the problems, it aims to offer an alternative mode of completing transactions. Hopefully, more states open up for cannabis ecommerce as a way to protect and help cannabis operators. But also to pressure lawmakers into crafting and introducing more meaningful regulations to support the industry. 

Stephen Andrews