Colorado first to adopt rules for recreational marijuana businesses

Cover licensing, tracking, packaging, advertising

Colorado has become the first state in the country to adopt final rules for recreational marijuana businesses.

The rules, released late Monday, cover everything from pot shop licensing to inventory tracking to marijuana packaging to advertising. They also represent the most comprehensive effort to date to take the once all-illegal marijuana market and harness it into what supporters say will be controlled, refined legitimacy.

Applications to open a recreational marijuana store can be filed starting in only three weeks. The first stores are expected to open around Jan.1, 2014.

"These rules are designed not to make the operation of Retail Marijuana Establishments unreasonably impracticable, but also promote public safety and ensure compliance with constitutional and statutory guidelines," the Colorado Department of Revenue, which will oversee the industry, wrote in a cover letter to the rules. "...[T]hese rules accomplish the state of Colorado's guiding principle through this process: to create a robust regulatory and enforcement environment that protects public safety and prevents diversion of Retail Marijuana to individuals under the age of 21 or to individuals outside the state of Colorado."

The rules changed little from their draft form, but the final version provides crucial certainty for would-be marijuana entrepreneurs.

Read a breakdown of the new rules at the Denver Post: