Smart Colorado is the only non-profit organization focused on protecting the health, safety and well-being of Colorado youth as marijuana becomes increasingly available and commercialized.

Smart Colorado formed after the 2012 passage of Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution, which legalized the sale and possession of recreational marijuana. We believe Colorado’s top priority around marijuana policy and education should be protecting our youth. Marijuana is illegal for those under 21 and a threat to their health and futures. Research is clear that marijuana is harmful to the adolescent developing brain as well as tied to psychosis, schizophrenia, drug addiction and lower IQ. Colorado’s youth are serving as guinea pigs in the state’s commercialization experiment.

Smart Colorado is a project of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center.


The founding members of Smart CO came together to protect the youth of Colorado following the passage of Amendment 64. This unprecedented and historical Amendment legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado. Many of our founding members were on Governor Hickenlooper's Task Force for A64 recommendations and saw firsthand how the rights and protections of our children were being overlooked. This inspired our leadership team to come together to be the voice for Colorado’s youth. We are involved with the State legislature, Department of Revenue rule-making procedures, educational panels, and grassroots outreach.

 Amendment 64 became law on December 10, 2012 as Article XVIII, Section 16 of the Colorado Constitution. It gave Colorado citizens an immediate ability to possess one ounce or less of marijuana (including concentrates like hash oil), consume marijuana and grow 6 plants. As of January 1, 2014, the sale and production of marijuana was commercialized through the licensing of recreational marijuana stores, grow facilities, testing facilities and product manufacturing facilities.

While recreational marijuana is treated differently for tax and regulatory purposes, the regulatory framework for recreational marijuana mirrors the framework established for the licensing of medical marijuana commercialized products. The licensing and regulatory requirements for “commercialized” medical marijuana can be found in the Medical Marijuana Code, which was created via  HB 10-1284 and was signed by Governor Hickenlooper on June 7, 2010.

Colorado's medical marijuana market developed for years without regulatory oversight. By the time the State scrambled to license and regulate medical marijuana there were already hundreds of shops in operation. Unfortunately, the regulations put in place with HB 10-1284, and the state infrastructure needed to enforce them, were woefully underfunded ( March 2013 Audit and  June 2013 Audit ). Amendment 64 passed because voters were led to believe the State would FINALLY begin to strictly regulate the sale and production of marijuana. Anxious to ensure robust regulation, several of us that would go on to form Smart Colorado served on the Governor’s Task Force to implement Amendment 64.

Our founding members began to meet and share their concerns as they watched powerful and well-financed representatives of the marijuana industry dominate the policy making process on the Task Force. After the “heath, safety, and well-being of Colorado children” was ranked last in priorities by the Task Force and no other groups or organizations spoke up on behalf of protecting Colorado youth, the founding members of Smart knew something had to be done.

Smart Colorado was formed in 2013 and has been the voice for children at the State and local legislative and policy levels ever since.

Recent News

Smart Calls for Enforcement of HB14-1366

Hello, Following is a press release explaining the significance of today’s state marijuana law enforcement meeting in Golden, CO. This panel meeting discusses how to implement a law requiring all marijuana food products to be “clearly identifiable”


Hear Smart CO on 710 KNUS Radio!

Tune in to The Dan Caplis Show on 710 KNUS September 12 at 10:00 learn more about the issues surrounding youth safety in the landscape of legalized and commercialized recreational marijuana! Event Details What: Radio Interview by Dan Caplis with Di


Teens 60% Less Likely to Complete High School

Teenagers who smoke marijuana daily are 60% less likely to complete high school 60% less likely to graduate college 7x more likely to attempt suicide than those who never use. Earlier today (9/9/2014) The Washington Post released the results of a new s


Indian youth hurt by Colorado’s marijuana experiment

On the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, the seven-hour drive has not prevented a spike in youth marijuana use since Colorado legalized recreational weed. Native Americans across the country are worried as they watch “diversion,” legal ma


Police Chiefs Discuss Challenges in MJ Regulation

Law enforcement and state officials described the challenges and unfunded mandates surrounding marijuana regulation and youth safety at the Use of Recreational Marijuana Tax Revenue Interim Study Committee. Police Chief John Jackson expressed concern that


Talking to your children about pot isn’t easy.

After the legalization of marijuana, parents are struggling to talk to their children about about the facts of marijuana use, its dangers, and how to be safe as a family. At a recent Smart fundraiser many parents voiced concerns, frustration, and fear aro


493 pounds of pot seized en routes to other states

DENVER — The amount of Colorado marijuana being seized en route to other states through the U.S. mail has more than quadrupled since 2010. Postal inspectors seized more than 493 pounds of pot from packages in 2013 alone according to the figures released

Teens Trespassing for Marijuana

PUEBL0 — A 13-year-old boy jumped a fence to get into a private backyard where Jason Lucero, 34, grew marijuana without a government license. Lucero shot the boy with a pellet gun and ran. The victim was taken to St. Mart Corwin Hospital and then flown