28 states — plus the District of Columbia — have legalized marijuana.

Full legalization is spreading, and it’s not impossible for more states to get on the bandwagon and marijuana to become legalized federally.

We’ve seen a lot of impacts marijuana legalization has had in Colorado, and another one is a new market full of business opportunities.

Marijuana is currently one of the top five industries to pursue for entrepreneurs, but there the nature of this industry brings up a number of new questions for business owners.

For those in Colorado, here are some considerations if you want to start a business in the cannabis industry.

Qualifications to Start a Marijuana Business in Colorado

Both medical or recreational marijuana are legal in places like Denver, and some laws have even the legalized the use in public spaces — outdoors.

Regardless of the route you go, you must be a resident of the state of Colorado and have evidence of residing within Colorado for at least two years.

However, there are some exceptions. If you don’t meet the qualifications and want to find out about the possibilities, discuss your options with a lawyer.

The Colorado state government has more detailed requirements, application instructions, contact information and answers to many common questions.

How to Open a Marijuana Business in Colorado

To open a marijuana business in Colorado, you must apply through your local government. Application fees can run upwards of $500.

Some areas don’t allow marijuana businesses at all, while others have limitations. Lafayette, for example, only allows a certain number of marijuana businesses. The government doesn’t accept applications for new businesses when this maximum has been reached.

If you have the green light, you must decide what kind of marijuana business you want to open. Denver has four types of marijuana business licenses:

  • Retail marijuana store
  • Retail marijuana cultivation facility
  • Retail marijuana-infused products manufacturer
  • Retail marijuana testing facility

Marijuana Store

A marijuana store, or dispensary, in Colorado is a brick-and-mortar location for cannabis products. This includes flower, edible products, extracts and others. The dispensary uses suppliers to build the inventory in their store, where customers may shop.

If you want to open a dispensary, you need to seek out and build relationships with product suppliers. No product means no sales, and no business can operate without revenue.

Marijuana Cultivation Facility

Cultivation is the growing and harvesting or marijuana. Because of the legalization of marijuana, there are commercial growers who distribute their marijuana.

Those who cultivate medical marijuana must have an affiliation with a dispensary or infused-product manufacturer, while recreational marijuana growers operate independently.

There are different requirements for cultivation, and the Colorado state government has the latest detailed information.

Marijuana-Infused Products Manufacturer

A marijuana-infused products manufacturer creates the various cannabis products. This is anything from beverages to tinctures to skin care to pills.

Manufacturers only sell their products wholesale and do not sell directly to consumers.

Marijuana Testing Facility

One of the lesser-known kinds of marijuana businesses, testing facilities are exactly that: Businesses that foster the testing of cannabis products, much like products in many other industries. Testing facilities may also perform research studies and develop new products.