1 Colo. Code Regs. § 212-3-2-245

Current through Register Vol. 47, No. 12, June 25, 2024
Section 1 CCR 212-3-2-245 - Change of Controlling Beneficial Owner Application or Notification

Basis and Purpose - 2-245

The statutory basis for this rule includes but is not limited to sections 44-10-202(1)(e), 44-10-203(1)(d), 44-10-203(1)(k), 44-10-203(2)(ee)(I)(A) and (E), 44-10-203(7), 44-10-308(3)(b), 44-10-309, 44-10-310, 44-10-311, 44-10-312, 44-10-505(1)(a), and 44-10-605(1)(a), C.R.S. The purpose of this rule is to define the application process and conditions an Applicant or Licensee must meet when changing Beneficial Ownership in a Regulated Marijuana Business. This rule further describes requirements in the event of a dispute between the Controlling Beneficial Owners of a Regulated Marijuana Business.

A.Application for Change of Controlling Beneficial Owner(s) - Not a Publicly Traded Corporation.
1.Division Approval Required Prior to Transfer of Owner's Interest. Unless excepted pursuant to subparagraph (C) of this Rule, a Regulated Marijuana Business that is not a Publicly Traded Corporation must obtain Division approval before it transfers the Owner's Interests of any Controlling Beneficial Owner(s) or before a trust that is a Controlling Beneficial Owner changes its trustee.
2.Documents Required. Any change of owner application(s) regarding a Controlling Beneficial Owner of a Regulated Marijuana Business that does not involve a Publicly Traded Corporation must include the following documents:
a. Asset purchase agreement, merger, sales contract, agreement, or any other document necessary to effectuate the change of owner;
b. Request for a finding of suitability for each proposed Controlling Beneficial Owner(s) who has not already submitted a request for a finding of suitability, who has not already been found suitable, or who does not already hold an Owner License;
c. Operating agreement, by-laws, partnership agreement, or other governing document(s) as will apply to the Regulated Marijuana Business if the change of owner application is approved;
d. Request for voluntary surrender form of the Owner License of any Controlling Beneficial Owner that will not remain a Controlling Beneficial Owner, or Passive Beneficial Owner electing to hold an Owner License in a Regulated Marijuana Business if the change of owner application is approved;
e. Copy of current Medical Marijuana or Retail Marijuana State Sales Tax or Wholesale license and any other documents necessary to verify tax compliance; and
f. An affirmation and consent signed by any Controlling Beneficial Owner whose Owners Interest is decreasing as a result of the Change of Controlling Beneficial Owner application, unless otherwise specified in the Licensee's bylaws, operating agreement, or purchase agreement signed by a Controlling Beneficial Owner whose Owners Interest is decreasing.
3.Licensee Initiates Change of Owner for Permitted Economic Interests Issued Prior to January 1, 2020. All natural persons holding a Permitted Economic Interest who seek to become a Controlling Beneficial Owner are subject to this Rule. The Regulated Marijuana Business must initiate the change of owner process for a natural person holding a Permitted Economic Interest who seeks to convert its interest and become a Controlling Beneficial Owner in a Regulated Marijuana Business. Prior to submitting a change of owner application, the Permitted Economic Interest holder must obtain a finding of suitability pursuant to Rule 2-235 including any required criminal history record check. Permitted Economic Interest holders who fail to obtain a finding of suitability to become a Controlling Beneficial Owner may remain as a Permitted Economic Interest holder.
B.Change of Owner Involving a Publicly Traded Corporation. This Rule applies to transactions involving any Publicly Traded Corporation.
1.Publicly Traded Corporation Transactions. A Regulated Marijuana Business may transact with a Publicly Traded Corporation in the following ways:
a.Merger with a Publicly Traded Corporation. A Regulated Marijuana Business or a Controlling Beneficial Owner that intends to receive, directly or indirectly, an investment from a Publicly Traded Corporation, or that intends to merge or consolidate with a Publicly Traded Corporation, whether by way of merger, combination, exchange, consolidation, reorganization, sale of assets or otherwise, including but not limited to any shell company merger.
b.Investment by a Publicly Traded Corporation. A Regulated Marijuana Business that intends or that has a Controlling Beneficial Owner that intends to transfer, directly or indirectly, ten percent or more of the Securities in the Regulated Marijuana Business to a Publicly Traded Corporation, whether by sale or other transfer of outstanding Securities, issuance of new Securities, or otherwise.
c.Public Offering. A Regulated Marijuana Business that intends or that has a Controlling Beneficial Owner that intends to become, directly or indirectly, a Publicly Traded Corporation, whether by effecting a primary or secondary offering of its Securities, uplisting of outstanding Securities, or otherwise.
2.Required Finding(s) of Suitability.
a.Pre-Transaction Findings of Suitability Required. Any Person intending to become a Controlling Beneficial Owner in a Regulated Marijuana Business in connection with any transaction identified in subparagraph (B)(1)(a) through (c) above, must obtain a finding of suitability prior to the Publicly Traded Corporation transaction closing or becoming effective.
b.Ongoing Suitability Requirements. Any Person who becomes a Controlling Beneficial Owner of a Publicly Traded Corporation that is a Regulated Marijuana Business must apply to the State Licensing Authority for a finding of suitability or an exemption from a finding of a suitability pursuant to Rule 2-235 within forty-five days of becoming a Controlling Beneficial Owner. A Publicly Traded Corporation that is a Regulated Marijuana Business must notify any Person that becomes a Controlling Beneficial Owner of the suitability requirements as soon as the Regulated Marijuana Business becomes aware of the ownership subjecting the Person to this requirement; however, the Controlling Beneficial Owner's obligation to timely request the required finding of suitability is independent of, and unaffected by, the Regulated Marijuana Business's failure to make the notification.
3.Change of Owner Application(s) Required. A Licensee entering into a transaction permitted in subparagraph (B)(1)(a)-(c) above with Publicly Traded Corporation must submit any required change of owner application to the Division prior to the transaction closing. The change of owner application(s) may be submitted simultaneously with the requests for finding(s) of suitability required by subparagraph (B)(2) or after the request(s) for findings of suitability were submitted to the Division.
4.Mandatory Disclosure of Required, United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Canadian Securities Administrators and/or Securities Exchange Filings. A Regulated Marijuana Business and any Controlling Beneficial Owner that is required to file any document with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the Canadian Securities Administrators, any other similar securities regulator or any securities exchange regarding any change of owner in subparagraphs (B)(1)(a) through (c) above must also provide a notice to the Division at the same time as the filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the Canadian Securities Administrators or the securities exchange.
5.Ordinary Broker Transactions. Resales or transfers of Securities of a Publicly Traded Corporation that is a Regulated Marijuana Business or Controlling Beneficial Owner or Passive Beneficial Owner in ordinary broker transactions through an established trading market do not require a change of owner application or prior approval from the State Licensing Authority.
C.Exemptions to the Change of Owner Application Requirement.
1.Entity Conversions or Change of Legal Name. A Regulated Marijuana Business or a Controlling Beneficial Owner may combine with or convert, including but not limited to under sections 7-90-201 et seq., C.R.S., for the exclusive purpose of changing its Entity jurisdiction to one of the states or territories of the United States or the District of Columbia, its Entity type or change the legal name of an Entity without filing a change of owner application. These exemptions apply only if the Controlling Beneficial Owners and their Owner's Interests will remain the same after the combination, conversion, or change of legal name, and there will not be any new Controlling Beneficial Owners (individuals or Entities). Within fourteen days of the combination, conversion, or change of legal name the Regulated Marijuana Business must submit the following to the Division:
a. A copy of the transaction documents;
b. Documents submitted to the Colorado Secretary of States;
c. Any document submitted to the secretary of state or similar regulator if the Entity is organized under the laws of a state of the United States other than Colorado, a territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia;
d. Identification of the Regulated Marijuana Business's or Controlling Beneficial Owner's registered agent;
e. Identification of any Passive Beneficial Owner and Indirect Financial Interest Holder for which disclosure is required by Rule 2-230; and
f. The fee required by Rule 2-205(F)(2)(b).
2.Change of Owner's Interests For Controlling Beneficial Owners. A Regulated Marijuana Business may reallocate Owner's Interests among existing Controlling Beneficial Owners holding valid Owner Licenses if it provides notification of the change to the Division with its next application submission as long as there are no new Controlling Beneficial Owners. A Regulated Marijuana Business may also issue new or additional shares to one or more existing Controlling Beneficial Owners subject to the requirements of this Rule. Changes that are solely a result of adding, removing, or changing Passive Beneficial Owners are not subject to this Rule 2-245(C)(2), but are subject to the requirements in Rule 2-245(C)(5). Changes of Controlling Beneficial Owners' Owner's Interest under this Rule is subject to the following requirements:
a. All Owner's Interests of a Controlling Beneficial Owner may be changed to other existing Controlling Beneficial Owners;
b. Only consensual changes where all Controlling Beneficial Owners whose ownership percentages will change agree to the changes are permitted under this Rule. Proof that the transfer was consensual may include affirmation from all Controlling Beneficial Owners for which the Owner's Interests were changed in the required disclosure at the next application submission.
c. If any Controlling Beneficial Owner will not hold any Owner's Interest in a Regulated Marijuana Business following the change, that Controlling Beneficial Owner shall voluntarily surrender his or her Owner's License and identification badge within 30 days of the change;
d. All Controlling Beneficial Owners remain responsible for all actions of the Regulated Marijuana Business while they were a Controlling Beneficial Owner and are subject to administrative action based on the same regardless of the change; and
e. Disclosure and submission of the fee required by Rule 2-205(F)(2)(b) at the next application submission which shall not be longer than 365 days.
3.Passive Beneficial Owner Licensed Prior to August 1, 2019. A Passive Beneficial Owner who was issued an Owner License prior to August 1, 2019, and who has continuously maintained that license, is not required to submit a change of owner application if he or she becomes a Controlling Beneficial Owner in the business license(s) with which the Owner License is associated but must disclose and submit the fee required by Rule 2-205(F)(2)(b) at the next application submission, which shall not be longer than 365 days.
4.Change of Executive Officer or Member of the Board of Directors. A change of owner application is not required for a change of an Executive Officer or member of the board of directors of a Regulated Marijuana Business or an Owner Entity License of a Regulated Marijuana Business so long as the new Executive Officer or member of the board of directors does not possess ten percent or more of the Owner's Interest in the Regulated Marijuana Business or is otherwise Controlling the Regulated Marijuana Business. A Licensee must notify the Division within 45 days of any removal of Executive Officers or Members of the Board of Directors. However, a change of Executive Officer or member of the board of directors is subject to the following requirements:
a. Any such Executive Officer or member of the board of directors of the Regulated Marijuana Business must notify the Division of the new Controlling Beneficial Owner, Executive Officer, or member of the board of directors and submit a request for a finding of suitability as required by Rule 2-235(A)(1)(a) unless exempt under subparagraph (b) of this Rule 2-245(C)(4); or,
b. If exempt from a finding of suitability pursuant to Rule 2-235(E), the Regulated Marijuana Business subject to any such change of the Executive Officer or members of their board of directors, whether adding or removing, must provide notice to the Division of the new Controlling Beneficial Owner within forty-five days.
c. The fee required by Rule 2-205(F)(2)(b).
5.Change of Passive Beneficial Owner. Persons are not required to submit an application or obtain prior approval of their ownership, or provide notification, if:
(1) the person was not a Direct Beneficial Interest Owner prior to November 1, 2019,
(2) the Person will remain a Passive Beneficial Owner after the acquisition of Owner's Interests is complete,
(3) the transfer will not create any previously undisclosed Controlling Beneficial Owner, and
(4) disclosure is not otherwise required by section 44-10-309, C.R.S., or Rule 2-230.
D.Change of Owner Requirements, Restrictions and Procedures Applicable to All Regulated Marijuana Businesses.
1.Application Signature Requirements. All applications for change of Controlling Beneficial Owner(s) must be executed by every Controlling Beneficial Owner of the involved Licensees where that Controlling Beneficial Owner is being removed or added by the change of ownership application, unless otherwise specified in the Licensee's bylaws or operating agreement, or purchase agreement signed by a Controlling Beneficial Owner whose Owners Interest is decreasing. Controlling Beneficial Owners whose Owner's Interest will not change are not required to execute the change of owner application; however, at least one Controlling Beneficial Owner and all Persons proposed to become a Controlling Beneficial Owner must execute every change of owner application.
2.Process for Approval. Upon completion of the investigation of a change of owner application, the State Licensing Authority will issue a contingent approval letter. However, the State Licensing Authority will not issue the state license until:
a.Local Approval Required. If local approval is required, the proposed Controlling Beneficial Owner(s) demonstrates to the State Licensing Authority that local approval has been obtained and notifies the State Licensing Authority of the date by which the change of owner will be completed, which must be within three to thirty days of the notification. The proposed Controlling Beneficial Owner's notification to the Division must be within 365 days of the issuance of the Division's contingent approval letter.
i. If a Local Licensing Authority or Local Jurisdiction requires a change of owner application and that application is denied, the State Licensing Authority will deny the State change of owner application;
b.No Local Approval Required. If local approval is not required, the proposed Controlling Beneficial Owner(s) demonstrates that such approval is not required and notifies the State Licensing Authority of the date by which the change of owner will be completed, which must be within three to thirty days of the notification. However, the proposed Controlling Beneficial Owner's notification to the Division must be made within 365 days of issuance of the Division's contingent approval letter.
c.Contingent Approval. Contingent approval pursuant to this subparagraph (D)(2) 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 contingent approval to a Person and such Person during that time has not met the requirements of Rule 2-245(D)(2)(a) or 2-245(D)(2)(b) to complete the Change of Beneficial Owner Application, then such Person shall submit a new Change of Controlling Beneficial Owner Application. The State Licensing Authority in their discretion may extend the contingent approval upon written request.
3.Operational Restrictions Pending All Required Approvals. Unless otherwise provided under these Rules, any proposed new Controlling Beneficial Owner cannot operate the Regulated Marijuana Business for which it intends to become a Controlling Beneficial Owner until it receives any required finding of suitability and is issued all approvals and/or license(s) pursuant to any change of owner application required by this Rule. Controlling Beneficial Owners that have already been approved in connection with ownership of the Regulated Marijuana Business may continue to operate the Regulated Marijuana Business. A violation of this requirement is grounds for denial of the change of owner application, may be a violation affecting public safety, and may result in disciplinary action against existing license(s).
4.Modifications to Change of Owner Applications. If anything in a change of owner application is modified or changed after the Division approves the application, the Licensee must submit a new change of owner application, unless exempted by the Division prior to completing the change of owner.
5.Regulated Marijuana Business Subject to Investigation or Administrative Action. If a Regulated Marijuana Business or any of its Controlling Beneficial Owner(s) apply for a change of owner and is involved in an administrative investigation or administrative action, the following may apply:
a. The change of owner application may be delayed or denied until the administrative action is resolved; or
b. If the change of owner application is approved by the Division, the transferor, the transferee, or both may be responsible for the actions of the Regulated Marijuana Business and its prior Controlling Beneficial Owner(s), and subject to discipline based upon the same.
6. Repealed.
E.Refundable and Nonrefundable Deposits Permitted. A proposed Controlling Beneficial Owner may provide a selling Controlling Beneficial Owner with a refundable or nonrefundable deposit in connection with a change of owner application.
F.Controlling Beneficial Owner Dispute.
1. In the event of a dispute between Controlling Beneficial Owner(s) not involving divestiture under Rule 2-275 and precluding or otherwise impeding the ability to comply with these Rules, a Regulated Marijuana Business that is not a Publicly Traded Corporation must submit a change of owner application, notification pursuant to subparagraph (C) of this Rule, or initiate mediation, arbitration, or a judicial proceeding within 90 days of the dispute. The 90-day period may be extended for an additional 90 days upon a showing of good cause by the Regulated Marijuana Business.
2. A Regulated Marijuana Business that is not a Publicly Traded Corporation must submit a change of owner application or notification pursuant to subparagraph (C) of this Rule within forty-five days of entry of a final court order, final arbitration award, or full execution of a settlement agreement altering the Controlling Beneficial Owner(s) of a Regulated Marijuana Business. Any change of owner application or notification based on a final court order, final arbitration award, or fully executed settlement agreement must include a copy of the order or settlement agreement and remains subject to approval by the Division. In this circumstance, the change of owner application or notification needs to be executed by at least one remaining Controlling Beneficial Owner.
3. If mediation, arbitration, or a judicial proceeding is not timely initiated, or if a change of owner application or notification pursuant to subparagraph (C) of this Rule is not timely submitted following entry of a final court order, final arbitration award, or full execution of a settlement agreement altering the Controlling Beneficial Owner(s) of a Regulated Marijuana Business that is not a Publicly Traded Corporation, the Regulated Marijuana Business and its Owner Licensee(s) may be subject to fine, suspension, or revocation of their license(s).

1 CCR 212-3-2-245

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