1 Colo. Code Regs. § 212-3-2-235

Current through Register Vol. 47, No. 12, June 25, 2024
Section 1 CCR 212-3-2-235 - Suitability

Basis and Purpose - 2-235

The statutory basis for this rule includes but is not limited to sections 44-10-202(1)(e), 44-10-203(2)(c), 44-10-203(2)(ee), 44-10-309, 44-10-310, and 44-10-312(4), C.R.S. Section 44-10-310, C.R.S., requires that persons disclosed or who should have been disclosed to the State Licensing Authority obtain a finding of suitability from the State Licensing Authority. The purpose of this rule is to explain the conditions under which a Person is subject to either a mandatory finding of suitability or a finding of suitability for reasonable cause, to identify exemptions from an otherwise required finding of suitability and to identify the information and documents that, at a minimum, must be submitted in connection with any Person's request for a finding of suitability.

A.Persons Subject to a Mandatory Finding of Suitability for Regulated Marijuana Businesses That Are Not Publicly Traded Corporations.
1. Except as provided in subparagraph (A)(1)(a), any Person intending to become a Controlling Beneficial Owner by submitting an initial application for any Regulated Marijuana Business that is not a Publicly Traded Corporation must first obtain a finding of suitability from the State Licensing Authority.
a.Members of the Board of Directors and Executive Officers of a Regulated Marijuana Business. An individual who is a Controlling Beneficial Owner because he or she is a member of the board of directors or an Executive Officer of a Regulated Marijuana Business or is Controlling a Regulated Marijuana Business but who does not possess ten percent or more of the Owner's Interest in a Regulated Marijuana Business must submit a request for a finding of suitability to the State Licensing Authority within 45 days of becoming such a Controlling Beneficial Owner.
2. Indirect Ownership of Ten-Percent or More Owner's Interests in a Regulated Marijuana Business.
a. For a Controlling Beneficial Owner that is an Entity, the Entity's request for finding of suitability must include all information necessary for the State Licensing Authority to determine whether that Entity's Executive Officers and any Person that directly or indirectly owns ten percent or more of the Owner's Interest in the Regulated Marijuana Business are suitable. For example, assuming the scenario depicted below, Licensee RMB LLC has one-thousand outstanding ownership interests and CBO 1, LLC owns 400 of those ownership interests. John Doe owns 30% of CBO 1, LLC. Therefore, John Doe indirectly owns 12% of the outstanding ownership interests of Licensee RMB LLC, and must apply to the State Licensing Authority for a finding of suitability.

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3. Any Person that has not received a finding of suitability and who intends to become a Controlling Beneficial Owner of a Regulated Marijuana Business that is not a Publicly Traded Corporation must submit their request for a finding of suitability prior to or contemporaneously with the change of owner application, unless exempt from the change of owner application requirement under Rule 2-245(C).
4. For a Controlling Beneficial Owner that is a trust, the trust's request for a finding of suitability must include all documents and information required or requested by the State Licensing Authority to permit a determination of whether or not the trustee and any beneficiary who may exercise control over the trust is suitable. A trust will not be found suitable if any person prohibited by section 44-10-307 is the trustee, otherwise controls the trust, or is positioned to receive distributions from the trust while a person prohibited.
5. Any Passive Beneficial Owner who elects to apply for an Owner's License in accordance with Rule 2-265(B)(3).
B.Persons Subject to a Mandatory Finding of Suitability for Regulated Marijuana Businesses That Are Publicly Traded Corporations.
1. The following Persons must apply to the State Licensing Authority for a finding of suitability:
a. Any Person that becomes a Controlling Beneficial Owner of any Regulated Marijuana Business that is a Publicly Traded Corporation; and
b. Any Person that indirectly Beneficially Owns ten percent or more of the Regulated Marijuana Business that is a Publicly Traded Corporation through direct or indirect ownership of its Controlling Beneficial Owner. For example, assuming the scenario depicted below, Licensee PTC Inc. has one-million shares of outstanding Securities and CBO 1 owns 400,000 of those securities. John Doe owns 30% of CBO 1. Therefore, John Doe indirectly owns 12% of the outstanding securities of Licensee PTC Inc., and must apply to the State Licensing Authority for a finding of suitability.

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2. For a Controlling Beneficial Owner that is an Entity, the Entity's request for finding of suitability must include all information necessary for the State Licensing Authority to determine whether its Executive Officers and any Person that indirectly owns ten percent or more of the Owner's Interest in the Regulated Marijuana Business are suitable.
3.Timing of Request for Finding of Suitability Involving Publicly Traded Corporation.
a. Unless exempted under Rule 2-235(E), all Persons that will be a Controlling Beneficial Owner in a Regulated Marijuana Business that is entering into a Publicly Traded Corporation transaction described in Rule 2-245(B)(1) must first obtain a finding of suitability by the State Licensing Authority before the transaction can close or the public offering can occur.
b. A Person who becomes a Controlling Beneficial Owner in a Regulated Marijuana Business that is a Publicly Traded Corporation must submit a request for a finding of suitability to the State Licensing Authority within 45 days of becoming a Controlling Beneficial Owner.
c. An individual who is a Controlling Beneficial Owner because he or she is a member of the board of directors or an Executive Officer of a Regulated Marijuana Business or is Controlling a Regulated Marijuana Business but who does not possess ten percent or more of the Owner's Interest in a Regulated Marijuana Business must submit a request for a finding of suitability to the State Licensing Authority within 45 days of becoming such a Controlling Beneficial Owner.
B.5.Persons Subject to Mandatory Finding of Suitability: Social Equity Licensees.
1.Qualifications. To qualify as a Social Equity Licensee, the Applicant must be found suitable for licensure pursuant to Rule 2-235, unless otherwise exempted by these Rules, and must meet the following minimum eligibility requirements:
a. The Applicant is a Colorado Resident and has established Colorado residency by providing the items required by Rule 2-265(H).
b. The Applicant has not been the Beneficial Owner of a License subject to administrative action issued by the State Licensing Authority resulting in the revocation of a license issued pursuant to the Marijuana Code;
c. The Applicant has demonstrated at least one of the following:
i. The Applicant has resided for at least fifteen years between the years 1980 and 2010 in a census tract designated by the office of economic development and international trade as an opportunity zone or a census tract designated as a Disproportionate Impacted Area;
ii. The Applicant or the Applicant's parent, legal guardian, sibling, spouse, child, or minor in their guardianship was arrested for a marijuana offense, convicted of a marijuana offense, or was subject to civil asset forfeiture related to a marijuana investigation; or
iii. The Applicant's household income in the year prior to application did not exceed 50% of the state median income as measured by the number of people who reside in the Applicant's household.
d. The Social Equity Licensee, or collectively one or more Social Equity Licensees, holds at least fifty-one percent of the Beneficial Ownership of the Regulated Marijuana Business License.
2.Information Required to Establish Qualification as a Social Equity Licensee.
a. To demonstrate qualification as a Social Equity Licensee based on residence during the relevant time period, the Applicant must demonstrate the Applicant's residency which may include either:
i. Providing information or documents including but not limited to a copy of school records, rental agreements, lease agreements, utility bills, mortgage statements, loan documents, bank records, tax returns, or any other document which proves the Applicant's place of residence; or
ii. Affirming, under penalty of perjury, the Applicant's place of residence and provide the name(s) and contact information for at least one individual who can verify the Applicant's place of residence during the time period at issue.
b. To demonstrate that an Applicant qualifies as a Social Equity Licensee based on a prior marijuana conviction of a family member, the Applicant must provide affirmation of the familial relationship and court or other documents demonstrating the family member's arrest or conviction for a marijuana offense or that the family member was subject to a civil asset forfeiture related to a marijuana investigation.
c. To demonstrate that an Applicant qualifies as a Social Equity Licensee based on the Applicant's income, the Applicant must provide the Applicant's tax return for the prior year. If an Applicant applies between January 1 and April 15 but has not yet filed a tax return, the application may be delayed or denied until the tax return is filed and provided to the Division. The Division cannot accept tax returns for previous years.
3.Denial on the Sole Basis of a Marijuana Conviction. The State Licensing Authority will not deny an application for a Social Equity License or a related request for a finding of suitability on the sole basis of a marijuana conviction.
C.Finding of Suitability for Reasonable Cause. For Reasonable Cause, any other Person that was disclosed or should have been disclosed pursuant to subsections 44-10-309(1) or (2) or that was required to be disclosed based on previous notification of Reasonable Cause must submit a request to the State Licensing Authority for a finding of suitability. Any Person required to submit a request for a finding of suitability pursuant to this Rule must submit such request within 45 days from notice of the State Licensing Authority's determination of Reasonable Cause for the finding of suitability.
D.Information Required in Connection with a Request for a Finding of Suitability. When determining whether a Person is suitable or unsuitable for licensure, the State Licensing Authority may consider the Person's criminal character or record, licensing character or record, or financial character or record. To consider a Person's criminal character or record, licensing character or record, and financial character or record, all requests for a finding of suitability must, at a minimum, be accompanied by the following information:
1.Criminal Character or Record:
a. A set of the natural person's fingerprints for purposes of a fingerprint-based criminal history record check.
2.Licensing Character or Record:
a. Affirmation that the Person is not prohibited from holding a license under section 44-10-307, C.R.S.
b. A list of all Colorado Department of Revenue-issued business licenses held in the three years prior to submission of the request for a finding of suitability;
c. A list of all Department of Regulatory Agencies business, professional, or occupational licenses held in the three years prior to submission of the request for a finding of suitability;
d. A list of any marijuana business or personal license(s) held in any other state or territory of the United States or District of Columbia or another country, where such license is or was at any time subject to a denial, suspension, revocation, surrender, or equivalent action by the licensing agency, commission, board, or similar authority; and
e. Disclosure of any civil lawsuits in which the Person was named a party where pleadings included allegations involving any Regulated Marijuana Business.
3.Financial Character or Record:
a. Disclosure of any sanctions, penalties, assessments, or cease and desist orders imposed by any securities regulatory agency other than the United States Securities Exchange Commission;
b.Account Statements or Property Ownership Documents Required.
i. If a Person is submitting a request for a finding of suitability to acquire ten percent or more of the Owner's Interest in a Regulated Marijuana Business and has identified both the source of funds or property and the Regulated Marijuana Business License that will be acquired at the time of the request for the finding of suitability, then the Person shall also include, copies of the Person's financial account statements for the preceding one-hundred eighty days for any accounts serving as a source of funding used to acquire the Owner's Interest in the Regulated Marijuana Business; or, if the Person is contributing one or more asset(s) to the Regulated Marijuana Business in exchange for the Owner's Interests, documents establishing the Person has owned such asset(s) for the preceding one-hundred eighty days.
ii. If a Person has not identified both the source of funding or property and the Regulated Marijuana Business License that will be acquired, then the Person can submit a request for a finding of suitability without account statements or property ownership documents.
iii. When a Person submits a Change of Controlling Beneficial Owner or new Regulated Marijuana Business License application, the Person shall also provide account statements for the funds that will be used to acquire the Owner's Interest in the Regulated Marijuana Business License or the property ownership documents for the preceding one hundred eighty (180) days.
E.Exemptions from a Finding of Suitability.
1. The following Persons are exempt from an otherwise required finding of suitability:
a. Any Person that currently possesses an approved Owner License issued by the State Licensing Authority and such Owner License has not, in the preceding 365 days, been subject to suspension or revocation.
2. Exemptions from an otherwise required finding of suitability are limited to those listed in this Rule. The State Licensing Authority will consider other factors that may inform amendments to this Rule through the Department's formal rulemaking session.
F.Timing to Approve or Deny a Request for Finding of Suitability. Absent Reasonable Cause, the State Licensing Authority must approve or deny a request for a finding of suitability within 120 days from the date of submission of the request for such finding, where such request was accompanied by all information required under subsection (D) of this Rule.
G.Executive Officer Considerations. Whether an individual is an Executive Officer subject to a mandatory finding of suitability is based on the definition in these rules and the facts and circumstances. In determining whether an individual is an Executive Officer, the State Licensing Authority will consider the following, non-exhaustive factors:
1. Title is not dispositive, however, the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, president, the General Counsel, and any individual with similar policy making authority are Executive Officers;
2. The level of decision-making authority the individual possesses;
3. The Controlling Beneficial Owner and/or Regulated Marijuana Business's organizational chart; and
4. Any relevant guidance from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission or similar securities regulator, securities rules or securities case law.
H.Findings of Suitability Expiration.
1.Finding of Suitability. A finding of suitability other than for a Social Equity Licensee is valid for one year from the date it is issued by the State Licensing Authority. If more than one year has passed since the State Licensing Authority issued a finding of suitability to a Person other than for a Social Equity Licensee and such Person has not during that time applied to become a Controlling Beneficial Owner of a Regulated Marijuana Business pursuant to an initial business license application or change of owner application, then such Person shall submit a new request for finding of suitability to the State Licensing Authority and obtain a new finding of suitability before submitting any application to become a Controlling Beneficial Owner of a Regulated Marijuana Business. Upon approval and issuance of an Owner License, a finding of suitability is no longer valid.
2.Finding of Suitability for Social Equity Licensees. A finding of suitability for Social Equity License Applicants under Rule 2-220(C) is valid for two years from the date it is issued by the State Licensing Authority. If more than two years has passed since the State Licensing Authority issued the finding of suitability and such Social Equity Licensee has not during that time applied to become a Controlling Beneficial Owner of a Regulated Marijuana Business, then such Social Equity Licensee shall submit a new request for finding of suitability to the State Licensing Authority and obtain a new finding of suitability before submitting any application to become a Controlling Beneficial Owner of a Regulated Marijuana Business. Upon approval and issuance of an Owner License, a finding of suitability is no longer valid.

1 CCR 212-3-2-235

42 CR 23, December 10, 2019, effective 1/1/2020
43 CR 21, November 10, 2020, effective 1/1/2021
44 CR 07, April 10, 2021, effective 5/1/2021
44 CR 13, July 10, 2021, effective 8/1/2021
44 CR 23, December 10, 2021, effective 1/1/2022
45 CR 21, November 10, 2022, effective 12/1/2022
46 CR 23, December 10, 2023, effective 1/8/2024