An Overview of Medical and Recreational Marijuana Business Laws in Boulder

For the 3rd Quarter Marijuana Management & Inspection Meeting Presentation, please visit the Marijuana City Updates page.

Medical Marijuana Businesses

Boulder Revised Code states that persons or locations with over six plants or 2 ounces of product become a business under our local code and each business in our city limits must have a valid and compliant city Medical Marijuana Business (MMB) license, along with a state license from the State Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division, to legally operate.

The MMB ordinance can be found in the Boulder Revised Code Chapter 6-14.

Recreational Marijuana Businesses

Boulder Revised Code states that persons or locations with over six plants or one ounce¹ of product becomes a business under our local code and each business in our city limits must have a valid and compliant city Marijuana Business license, along with a state license from the State Marijuana Enforcement Division, to legally operate. The Recreational Marijuana Business (RMB) ordinance can be found in the Boulder Revised Code Chapter 6-16.

¹ If the person is a medical marijuana patient, they can have up to six plants and two ounces of marijuana without being classified as a business.

Comply with Energy Requirements for Marijuana Facilities

Provide electricity use records

Provide proof of records confirming electricity use must be provided using the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (ESPM) FREE online tool.

  • The city has step-by-step how-to guide for medical and recreational marijuana business owners to report your energy use in Portfolio Manager.

Prove energy offset

Provide proof of records showing how 100% of your licensed facility’s electricity use is offset by one or a combination of the following:

If a new license-holder, tell the city how you plan to comply with the city's off-set requirement using the Marijuana Facility 100% Electricity Offset Selection Form.

Reduce energy costs and offset fees

If you are interested in lowering your cultivation facility’s electricity use by implementing an energy efficiency project, consult with a PACE advisor, who specializes in energy efficiency upgrades and financial assistance. They can help to assess if your facility and project’s eligible. Fill out this electronic form and a PACE advisor will contact you.

Get help

  • If you are requesting a new license and need assistance setting up an ESPM account to report your facility's energy use data, contact a Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) business sustainability advisor at 303-441-1300 or info@pacepartners.com.
  • Another service is the city's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Help desk at 844-811-8785 or email them at BPOHelpdesk@bouldercolorado.gov.
  • For questions about these requirements, contact the City of Boulder Climate Initiatives,
    at EIOF@bouldercolorado.gov.

Energy Use Reporting and Renewable Energy Requirements

Licensed medical marijuana and recreational marijuana cultivation facilities are required to Report Energy Use (Chapter 6-14-9(g) and Chapter 6-16-9(g)) to the City of Boulder and comply with the Renewable Energy Requirements (Chapter 6-14-8(i) and Chapter 6-16-8(i)) to offset 100 percent of their electricity use.

Read the City Manager Rule, which interprets and further defines provisions of this ordinance.

Report your facility's electricity use

Register your licensed marijuana cultivation facility in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager
For your City of Boulder marijuana cultivation license or license renewal, you must report your facility's energy use through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (ESPM). The city has step-by-step how-to guide for medical and recreational marijuana business owners to report your energy use in Portfolio Manager.

If your cultivation facility has its own electric meter(s) and you pay your own electricity bill through Xcel Energy, you can access a service that Xcel offers to upload energy use data and automatically upload energy use into your ESPM account. For compliance with energy reporting, your facility's energy use must be shared with the city through ESPM. However, you only need to "share" your information through ESPM to the city once.

Request Xcel to “push” your energy use into your ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account through its Energy Benchmarking portal. If you have questions, please contact Xcel’s Business Solutions Center: 1-800-481-4700 (available - Monday - Friday 8 a.m - 5 p.m.)

Transfer an existing ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account to a new owner
If you are selling your City of Boulder marijuana license and you have an existing ESPM account for this facility, it's your responsibility to transfer this existing account to the new owner. Here are the instructions on how to transfer the ESPM account to someone new.

Need Help?

If you are requesting a new license and need assistance setting up an ESPM account to report your facility's energy use data, contact a Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) business sustainability advisor at 303-441-1300 or info@pacepartners.com. Another service is the city's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Help desk at 844-811-8785 or email them at BPOHelpdesk@bouldercolorado.gov

Offset your facility's electricity use

Each marijuana cultivation facility must have one Electricity Offset Selection Form confirming its offset selection to achieve compliance on an annual basis. Only if you are changing your offset selection will you need to resubmit a new form. If you submitted a form identifying a combination of two offset options, the city needs proof of on-site solar or a subscription of a solar garden kWh generation.

If anyone needs assistance with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (ESPM), the city has hired a consultant group to provide a live helpdesk to support Boulder businesses or property owners with the online tool.

Please reference the chart below for data submission deadlines and invoicing schedule.

Offset Cost Calculations: Your offset cost will be calculated by adding six months of electricity consumption from your ESPM account and multiplying that number by the kilo-watt hour (kWh) cost, per facility. The offset price is $0.0207 per kWh.

Offset Billing Dates: Each licensed cultivation facility that opts into the Energy Impact Offset Fund will receive an invoice for their offset cost twice a year.

Payment information:

  • Guide on How To Pay Energy Impact Offset Fund (EIOF) Invoices
  • PLEASE NOTE: Include the bottom portion of your invoice with payment.
  • Make checks out to: City of Boulder EIOF
  • Mail check/cashier’s check to: City of Boulder Attn: Accounts Receivable EIOF, P.O. Box 791, Boulder, CO 80306-0791
  • Drop off check in person (no cash payment will be accepted):
    City of Boulder Brenton Building-1st floor, 1136 Alpine Ave, Boulder, CO 80304
    • This building is part of the old Broadway Boulder Hospital site. Off Broadway, turn on North Street, then take the second driveway on the right side of street to find ample, free customer parking in front of our new location, the Brenton Building

Invoice and Submission Deadline Schedule:

Deadline to enter electricity data in ESPM

Invoice Period

Invoice Issued

November 2021 Jan 1 - June 30, 2021 January 2022
April 2022 July 1 - Dec 31, 2021 July 2022
November 2022 Jan 1 - June 30, 2022 January 2023
April 2023 July 1 - Dec 31, 2022 July 2023
November 2023 Jan 1 - June 30, 2023 January 2024

Frequently asked questions

When will I have to pay my facility’s offsets?

The city administers the Energy Impact Offset Fund accounts payable and receivable processes. The city will issue EIOF invoices at the end of May for the second half of the previous year and November for the first half of the current year. Issued offset invoices have a 30 day payment term, unless you make arrangements with the city to be put on a payment plan.

I'm an existing cultivation facility and I would like to sell or transfer or surrender my City of Boulder cultivation license. What do I need to do?

For these requirements, contact Elizabeth Vasatka at vasatkae@bouldercolorado.gov or 303-441-1964 to arrange final payments of offset obligation.

If you are selling or transferring your license, you will also need to transfer your ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account to the new owner so they have historical electricity data for your facility. Instructions on transferring your account is under the "Report your facility's electricity use" tab.

Cannabis Licensing/Advisory Board

The city manager, with the review of Boulder City Council, appointed an 11 member Marijuana Advisory Board on Jan. 5, 2016. The purpose of this panel is to fully review both the Recreational and Medical Marijuana Business Boulder Revised Codes and then make coordinated recommendations to changes in our local laws to the Boulder City Council. The name of the board was changed to include the term cannabis prior to seating of the board to more fully describe the scope and nature of the board and potential future inclusion of hemp licensing within the city.