Colorado has taken a bold step forward in its legal cannabis market by passing a bill to legalize online sales.
While legalization has made strides in the United States over the past decade, the industry still operates primarily with cash.
The cash model isn’t sustainable long-term—something the federal government is starting to realize.
But while the federal government still clings to prohibitionist payment policies, states are moving forward.
Payment option loopholes for cannabis retailers exist as well.
The bill, HB23-1279, passed Colorado’s legislature in May before Governor Jared Polis added his signature on Thursday.
Representatives William Lindstedt (D), Said Sharbini (D), and Robert Rodriguez (D) sponsored the bill.
Previously, state law prohibited retailers from selling cannabis products online or through delivery.
Customers could pre-order items online but needed to pay in-person with cash.
HB23-1279 allows customers to browse and buy products online, but they must still travel to the store to retrieve their purchases.
When customers arrive, they must show ID to verify their identity and that they are over 21.
The law also requires the retailer to verify the customer’s age during the online sales.
All information must match for the retailer to complete the transaction.
The law also requires retailers to provide relevant warnings and educational materials during online purchases.
The customer will receive their items after they verify that they received the warnings and educational materials.
Senator Kevin Van Winkle says the bill is a win for customer and retailer safety by reducing cash use.
“What the bill mainly aims to do, from my perspective, is reduce cash in the marijuana space,” said Senator Van Winkle in May. “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.”
Senator Van Winkle says a cash-based system sets retailers up for many potentially undesirable outcomes, including theft.