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

06/06/2014 Golden Opts Out

GOLDEN OPTS OUT Golden City Council Votes “No” on Retail Marijuana   June 6, 2014 Yesterday the Golden City Council approved Ordinance No. 1977 to prohibit the location and operation of all retail marijuana establishments.  Many council memb


New Rules for Marijuana Edibles Up for Debate

Smart Colorado participates in state rule making proceedings to address the health and safety issues involving in consuming extremely high THC concentration levels, serving sizes, and packaging requirements of potent marijuana edibles. Unfortunately, man


Marijuana Edible Experience from a NY Columnist

New York Times Columnist, Maureen Dowd shares concerns about highly potent marijuana edibles being sold in Colorado. Unfortunately, her experience mirrors the experience of countless others, including too many Colorado teenagers. Read her full story below


Can marijuana cause depression?

While no causal relationship was found, depression and marijuana use have a strong correlation Can marijuana cause depression? Answers from Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.

05/22/2014 Smart Applauds New Marijuana Legislation

Governor signs two marijuana bills into law – placing further restrictions on marijuana edibles and concentrates May 22, 2014 Yesterday Smart Colorado was proud to stand with the Governor as he signed two important pieces of legislation into law, HB 136


New Marijuana Legislation

Today, Smart Colorado was proud to stand with the Governor as he signed two important pieces of legislation into law, HB 1361and HB 1366, which place additional restrictions on marijuana concentrates and edibles. Smart Colorado has been working with legis

05/14/2014 Your Voices Were Heard

Your Voices Were Heard! May 14, 2014 House Bills 14-1361 and 14-1366, sponsored by Smart Colorado, require basic protections with respect to marijuana concentrates and edibles. These bills passed in the House and the Senate the final week of the


Can Kids Tell The Difference?!

Kids pick highly potent pot edibles over their favorite sweets finding it impossible to know the difference. Channel 7 investigators performed an experiment that is discouraging.


Casual marijuana use linked to brain changes

“Casual marijuana use damages the brain” conclude researchers at Northwestern University in new study. Doctors find the degree the brain changed is directly related to the amount of marijuana being used. Casual marijuana use linked to brain changes US


Most Powerful Pot in the World

Colorado pot is viewed as the most “powerful” (potent pot) in the world by sheriffs from 11 surrounding areas. The article below highlights how Amsterdam is treating pot with THC levels over 15% as a hard drug while there are no THC content limits on