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Tips for Growing Cannabis in Colorado

Sunday December 8, 2019

A s any Colorado gardener can attest to, the state’s unpredictable climate requires special accommodations to make it through the volatile growing season. This is especially true of Colorado cannabis home growers who must pay attention not only to the weather but all of their surroundings, as well. Today we’ll discuss best practices for growing cannabis in Colorado’s crazy climate. But first, let’s take a look at what makes the Centennial State’s environment so unique.

Understanding Colorado’s Unique Climate

Colorado is the highest state in the nation – literally. Colorado’s average elevation is 6800 feet above sea level, though even at its lowest point, no part of Colorado is below 2000 feet above sea level. As such, outdoor crops and home grows in Colorado are susceptible to very high UV light penetration. Though this may be a good thing in terms of THC levels, it also contributes to our unpredictable weather patterns. Additionally, its inland geography and thus inaccessibility to large bodies of water means that Colorado, in general, is a much dryer state than the rest.

According to an article published by Colorado State University, the average annual precipitation throughout the state ranges between seven and 60 inches depending on location. Hence, successful growing operations must accommodate their crops based on their geographical location. To be clear, cannabis crops need about 35 inches of water on average; dry climates require additional irrigation options, whereas wet environments may fair better indoors where growers can control their water intake and help prevent mildew growth.

Finally, different regions witness extremely different weather patterns. For example, The plains are prone to sudden, relatively dry (though potentially damaging) thunderstorms and hailstorms that can cause a drastic drop in temperature. This sudden stressor may cause cannabis plants to “herm” or produce seeds as an evolutionary mechanism to protect the plant’s genetic line. However, the mountains and western side of the state are much less affected by these storms.

Advice for Cultivating Marijuana in Colorado

Colorado may have unpredictable weather patterns, but that doesn’t mean the weed there isn’t high quality. There are a few best practices growers should consider if they are to cultivate a successful cannabis crop in Colorado.

Start Seedlings Indoors in March

Seedlings require delicate care. They need a warm home and precise moisture levels. By starting seedlings indoors, you help ensure that your plants will get off to the best start possible without risking a surprise frost or other harsh weather conditions. Furthermore, by starting them in March, they will be large enough to withstand harsh winds, soft frost, and pest infestation by the time the outdoor growing season officially begins after Mother’s day in May.

Use Pots When Possible

Pots and planters are great for those with limited space. Grow pots allow growers to move them as necessary to protect them from weather or increase their sun exposure. Growing cannabis in planters also helps control plant size and makes it easier to grow them covertly.

However, the roots of plants grown in pots are not nearly as insulated as those grown in the ground. If a quick temperature drop is expected, prepare by insulating pots with dirt, old blankets, etc. If high winds are also in the forecast, bring the plants indoors for the time being. Check out this article for more information on protecting your plants from the elements.

Consider a Greenhouse Grow

Greenhouses are both secure and reliable. Not only do they protect plants from pests and other elements, but they also protect them from intruders and help them remain compliant with local Colorado cannabis cultivation laws. Additionally, greenhouses help extend the growing season to increase yield. Though greenhouses extend the growing season, year-round greenhouse cannabis cultivation requires special lighting and black-out screens to simulate different photoperiods.

Be Aware of Cannabis Cultivation Laws

Home cannabis cultivation laws vary by state and region but in general, there are a few things every Coloradian must follow. First, adults can only grow up to six plants with half flowering at a time (seedlings don’t count). Those numbers double per household if more than one adult lives there (i.e. no more than 12 plants, six flowering, even if eight adults live in the same space).

Additionally, renters and those living in public housing are not automatically afforded the right to cultivate cannabis on the premises. It is up to the landlord or the state whether or not to allow personal cannabis cultivation in these places; consult your rental/housing agreement for more information.

Finally, cannabis plants cannot grow within a 100-foot radius of a school. Plants must also be locked and inaccessible to anyone under 18 years old. If there are children in the home, cannabis plants must remain in a locked room or greenhouse, though if only adults live in residence, a lock on the front door is sufficient.

Growing marijuana at home is truly rewarding, especially for Colorado home growers who managed to protect their plants through the state’s unpredictable growing season.

Do you have tips for growing cannabis in Colorado? Share them in the comments below!

Colorado's unpredictable climate can require special accommodations to make it through the growing season. This is especially true of cannabis home growers who must pay attention not only to the weather but their surroundings, as well. Let's discuss best practices for growing in this crazy climate.

Colorado Cultivation License and Marijuana Laws

Home » Compliance » Colorado Cultivation License and Marijuana Laws

The marijuana market in Colorado is one of the most mature legal cannabis markets in the United States. Colorado’s market is generally separated between “Medical Marijuana Businesses” and “Recreational Marijuana Establishments.”

Getting involved in a mature market will help your business mature more rapidly and give more strict guidance into what a true cannabis business should look like.

Below, we’ve provided a general outline of what it takes to obtain your Colorado grower license and maintain a compliant business. We will continue to update this page as new information becomes available.

Table of Contents

Colorado Marijuana Laws for Growers

Colorado set the bar and best practices in other states, making it much easier with set regulations and minor changes ensure compliance:

  • A separate license is required for each specific business or business entity and geographical location. Two marijuana centers/facilities may share a single licensed premise under some circumstances.
  • There are a total of 9 license types for medical businesses and 12 license types for recreational businesses, making Colorado’s market just as advanced as California’s.
  • Clear tracking of the plants from planting to harvest and transfer must be adequately documented in a system of record as well as submitted to the state through Metrc.

Types of Colorado Grow Licenses

A Colorado Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility can be licensed in three different classes:

  • Class 1 (1-500 plants)
  • Class 2 (501-1500 plants)
  • Class 3 (1501-3000 plants)

This type of facility will require an application cost and license cost. A medical cultivation facility application cost is $300, and the Classes range from $1,500 to $3,500 with an additional $800 charge for any plant expansion beyond the 3000 plant limit.

A Colorado Recreational Marijuana Cultivation Facility has five Tiers of licensure:

  • Tier 1 (1-1,800 plants)
  • Tier 2 (1,801-3,600 plants)
  • Tier 3 (3,601-6,000 plants)
  • Tier 4 (6,001-10,200 plants)
  • Tier 5 (10,201-13,800 plants)

This type of facility will also require an application cost and license cost. A recreational cultivation facility application cost is $300, and the Classes range from $1,500 to $6,500 with an additional $800 charge for any plant expansion beyond the 3000 plant limit.

For a full list of licensing fees, check out the MED fee schedule.

Colorado Commercial Grow License Cost

The license application fee for growers, processors, and dispensaries is $2,500. This cost is per facility AND per license type. Renewal occurs every year and is $2,500 each.

Colorado Commercial Grow License Application Requirements

To obtain a license to open any business related to marijuana in Colorado, you must fill out a Marijuana License Application.

This application will include information about the owners and the legal business requirements and forms, such as tax and background checks. All processes and organizational structures should be documented for review by the state.

The application will also require you to mark off your desired business licensure, such as recreational or medical and related information, such as license type, business name and address, contacts, and stakeholders.

It’s best if you are fully prepared to start a marijuana business before even applying so that the application gets approved right away. Check out your local city regulations for a full application checklist.

Marijuana Compliance in Colorado

Colorado is contracted with Metrc, a statewide, mandatory tracking system that serves as the state system of record. All licenses in Colorado are required to keep adequate records to ensure that all inventory of plants and products are tracked to provide a clear line of origin.

Cultivators should keep records of harvest dates and follow all instructions set by Metrc to successfully tag and manage inventory. Transfers should also be managed with shipping manifests so that all transfers and taxes can be easily proven.

Metrc is a great tool and can be widely advantageous for any license in the state attempting to track their cultivation operation effectively. Still, it is not the only system of record that a licensee should use. A robust tool as 365 Cannabis can optimize your business operations, give you visibility into all processes occurring and inventory, and is a great system of record both financially and for cultivation.

How does 365 Cannabis fulfill this?

365 Cannabis is a true ERP that delivers a complete business management solution, facilitates compliance, and ensures timely and accurate reporting. With a centralized system, you’ll be able to reduce manual and double entry, nearly eliminating human error.

With a true cannabis ERP software that goes above and beyond seed to sale, you’ll be able to increase efficiency, improve productivity, and grow your cannabis cultivation business.

This article is meant to be a guideline for your reference and is not legal advice. Read more about Colorado marijuana regulations and prepare your application with a cannabis business consultant and/or law firm.

Colorado’s market is one of the most mature legal cannabis markets in the US. Join the market and learn how to acquire a Colorado cultivation license.