2020 Colorado Cannabis Laws Update

On January 1st, two new marijuana laws went into effect in Colorado. The first was House Bill 1234, which allows for the commercial delivery of medical marijuana.

While I recognize the market need for delivery services, I’m grateful that at the onset of recreational legalization Colorado began with a brick and mortar model.

Dispensaries Critical in Normalizing CO Cannabis Industry

Dispensaries have been, and still are, critical in normalizing the Colorado cannabis industry, from policy makers to moms and dads to our youth. Ultimately, this normalization plays a significant role in the industry’s continued success.

As the industry has developed, dispensaries have matured from stereotypical “ganja-centric” to now, where it’s difficult to tell the difference between a cannabusiness and any other business.

California was the opposite. Marijuana delivery has been a pivotal issue in California where last year the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control allowed for delivery even in jurisdictions where commercial cannabis activity was banned. More and more, cities planning for marijuana legalization are considering not allowing brick and mortar dispensaries, in favor of a delivery only-model. However, that comes with a number of issues.

What are the advantages of the brick and mortar model? It’s safer. It creates a verifiable revenue stream and it keeps all the operational dollars within your jurisdiction because you have an actual store that collects sales taxes. As opposed to a delivery service where, despite rigorous tracking, there’s inherently more “grey-area” room for illicit activity.

All that being said, there’s a huge demand from California tourists to order products for delivery at their hotel while they’re still waiting to de-board at LAX.

Colorado House Bill 1230

The second of Colorado’s new laws is House Bill 1230. It allows for on-site marijuana consumption at licensed hospitality establishments. I’m somewhat perplexed by this; even though Colorado has had permissive licensing laws on the books in and around Denver for consumption clubs,  we don’t have substantial capital invested in these spaces.

There are limits to what’s allowed at a consumption club. You can’t serve alcohol and in most cases you can’t serve food. And unless you have an outdoor area, you’re restricted to vaping-only.

Denver Missed Investment Opportunity

Nonetheless, I’m amazed that nobody in Denver has seized this investment opportunity. It’s hard to imagine a consumption club that wouldn’t be successful, especially in a densely populated neighborhood like LoDo or RiNo, where food vendors and beer gardens are right next door. Everyone’s talking about it, no one’s doing it, and I don’t quite understand why.

You can bet if Los Angeles outright allowed regulated, authorized, and licensed on-site cannabis consumption, entrepreneurs would invest millions of dollars to completely blow up that scene. I understand different cultural sensitivities, but Denver’s lack of these businesses so far is puzzling.

The State of Colorado’s move to allow common consumption areas for alcohol may set a precedent for how consumption areas in general might become more acceptable, especially as cannabis becomes more and more normalized. Still, Colorado continues to be a progressive cannabis regulatory mover and shaker and a success story in the great American cannabis experiment. Inspiration, move me brightly as we watch new developments in 2020.




Bob Hoban is the President and Founder of Hoban Law Group.  Bob Hoban sits at the center of the world’s largest commercial cannabis industry network; a cannabis industry ecosystem that he has painstakingly cultivated since 2008.

Bob Hoban sits at the center of the world’s largest commercial cannabis industry network; a cannabis industry ecosystem that he has painstakingly cultivated since 2008. Since the cannabis industry became commercialized, he has been widely credited for creating the class of lawyers now known as “cannabis attorneys.” He is known for the tremendous value that he places in his relationships and is not satisfied unless he can help his business clients thrive in this burgeoning global industry; an industry he has played a significant role in establishing. Bob has earned a reputation as a cannabis industry dealmaker representing start-ups, entrepreneurs, and companies in all stages of development. Mr. Hoban has truly transcended the practice of law and is regularly involved in assembling and structuring large scale cannabis industry M&A transactions. Above all else, Bob is a cannabis industry expert.

Beginning in 2008, he deliberately constructed the Hoban Law Group (HLG) to become the world’s leading full-service commercial cannabis industry law firm; the first of its kind. Since that time, HLG has indeed become the world’s leading cannabis industry law firm, with offices in seventeen states and ten nations abroad, and over fifty attorneys who specialize in all aspects of the commercial practice surrounding the cannabis industry. For nearly ten years, HLG has represented the cannabis industry’s titans in every aspect of the commercial cannabis industry around the world. And he is largely responsible for the establishment and growth of the CBD industry due to his legal strategies, litigation matters, and policy efforts executed on behalf of HLG clients.

From 2010-2016, Bob served as one of the Nation’s first cannabis policy instructors at the University of Denver, where he regularly lectured regarding cannabis topics (government regulations, public policy, and research-based policy courses), and where he led a University-sanctioned research practicum concerning the efficacy of marijuana regulation; the first of its kind in the U.S. He then taught several international travel courses concerning the emergence of the global cannabis industry. Because of this academic background, Bob has been asked to work with dozens of governments across the U.S., Asia, the E.U., and Latin America (over thirty different countries) on crafting their commercial cannabis public policy solutions (legislation and regulations). And he has served on a variety of national, state, and local task forces related to cannabis policy issues.

He has consistently been recognized as one of the most influential people in the global cannabis industry by a variety of organizations and publications over the course of the past ten-plus years. Since 2013, Bob has achieved the Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating, awarded to only those lawyers with the highest ethical standards and professional ability. He was recently named a “Cannabis Law Trailblazer” by the National Law Journal, and he has been consistently recognized as one of “Denver’s Top Cannabis Lawyers” for nearly a decade.

Bob frequently appears in media coverage as a legal expert on cannabis and has been a keynote speaker at dozens of cannabis events around the world. He has conducted hundreds of interviews regarding marijuana policy for international, national, state, and local media outlets. Major media outlets like the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, CNN, Rolling Stone, Forbes, VICE, MSNBC, and Bloomberg all have called on Bob for his unique perspective on the cannabis industry.