Marijuana legalization in Colorado has provided an additional layer of complexity to the issue of child safety and substance use. As more state governments consider marijuana legalization, figuring out how to address this intersection is becoming a priority nationwide.

Illuminate Colorado strives to support family wellbeing as it intersects with substances, both illegal and legal. It’s important to stay informed on the marijuana landscape, and how it affects the work of agencies who serve children and families. With ever-changing laws and regulations regarding marijuana legalization, we wanted to provide you with some recent updates to marijuana resources in Colorado.

Remember that laws, regulation, resources, and research in this area are continually being updated, so please conduct your own research on a regular basis with a focus on state-sponsored, objective, and research-based information.

New Educational Resources

Several great resources regarding marijuana and child safety have been created or updated in the past year. Here are just a few for you to be aware of:

Legalized Marijuana: Considerations for Child SafetyIn this interactive learning experience, learners will explore to what extent marijuana use or cultivation may affect child safety. This web-based training provide an overview of Colorado’s marijuana laws, an introduction to marijuana and its effects on the body and behavior, and a summary of existing research on the impacts on infants, children, teens, and adults. This WBT is a prerequisite for the Marijuana, Children, and Families classroom course, which explores in more depth the child welfare considerations and best practices related to marijuana. Developed by Illuminate Colorado, open to everyone, and available online at:  

Colorado Retail Marijuana Education and Prevention Resource Guide – This guide will help you easily navigate state resources to find the best tool for your retail marijuana education and prevention efforts. It is an overview of education and prevention programs and research, links to fact sheets, talking points, campaign materials, webinars and trainings, activities, and case studies from Colorado organizations. The guide is recommended for community-based organizations, government agencies, youth-serving professionals, coalitions, schools and educators, healthcare professionals, marijuana industry professionals, and communications professionals within those organizations. Developed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and available online at:

2018 Proposed Legislation

As is the case every year, there are many legislative proposals related to the regulation of medical and retail marijuana in Colorado. Below are three of the many marijuana related bills being considered by the Colorado Legislature:

House Bill 18-1092: Marijuana Delivery Pilot Project – Concerning a pilot program for marijuana delivery. The bill creates a pilot program to allow marijuana delivery. The marijuana state licensing authority can enter into a memorandum of understanding with up to 3 municipalities to allow medical and retail marijuana delivery. The state licensing authority can adopt rules regarding marijuana delivery and can issue up to 15 marijuana delivery licenses.

House Bill 18-1286: School Nurse Give Medical Marijuana At School – Concerning allowing a school nurse to give medical marijuana to a student with a medical marijuana registry card while at school. Under current law, a primary caregiver may possess and administer medical marijuana in a non-smokable form to a student while the student is at school. The bill allows a school nurse or the school nurse’s designee, who may or may not be an employee of the school, to also possess and administer medical marijuana to a student at school. The bill provides a school nurse or the school nurse’s designee protection from criminal prosecution if he or she possesses and administers medical marijuana to a student at school.

House Bill 18-1263: Medical Marijuana Use For Autism And Acute Pain – Concerning adding certain conditions to the list of disabling medical conditions for medical marijuana use, and, in connection therewith, adding autism spectrum disorders and acute pain. The bill adds autism spectrum disorders and acute pain to the list of disabling medical conditions that authorize a person to use medical marijuana for his or her condition.

ICYMI – 2017 Changes in Colorado Law

In 2017, the Colorado Legislature passed several pieces of legislation related to marijuana. In case you missed it, here are two measures that may impact your work with families.

House Bill 17-1220: Prevent Marijuana to Illegal Market – Concerning measures to stop diversion of legal marijuana to the illegal market. Standardizes the allowable number of marijuana plants allowed per residence statewide. Beginning January 2018, the maximum number of plants allowed to be grown in a residence is 12 for recreational use and 24 for medical use for those participating in the State Registry (but only 12 if not). In short, one person in a residence is allowed up to 6 plants, and 2 or more are allowed up to 12 total plants.

Senate Bill 17-017: Allow Medical Marijuana Use for Stress Disorders – Concerning Adding Stress Disorders to the List of Debilitating Medical Conditions for the Purposes of the Use of Medical Marijuana. Creates a statutory right for a patient with post-traumatic stress disorder to use medical marijuana. It creates the same rights, limitations, affirmative defense, and exceptions from criminal laws for this condition as the constitutional right to use medical marijuana for other debilitating conditions. This legislation also specifies the conditions for the use of medical marijuana by a patient under 18 years of age who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Thank you for your concern, consideration, and hard work on behalf of Colorado’s children and families! To learn more about substance use and safety at various stages of life, go to

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