Amend HR15-1305 - Unlawful Manufacture of Marijuana Concentrates

May 01, 2015

The Colorado Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) supports public safety for marijuana consumers and reasonable regulation of the use of inherently hazardous substances. But HR 15-1305 goes too far. NORML has sent the following to the Colorado Legislature, requesting that HR 15-1305 be amended to truly and fairly reflect public safety concerns by:

1. Not singling out marijuana manufacturing, but instead regulate the manufacturing of all materials that use inherently hazardous substances;

2. Not make the constitutionally-protected activity of manufacturing marijuana concentrates a serious felony, but a misdemeanor or regulatory violation if no aggravating circumstances; and

3. Provide uniform health and safety standards for BHO extraction regardless of where the extraction takes place and by whom.

Discussion:

1. It is not illegal to use butane or the defined “inherently hazardous substances” for extracting essential oils from other plants, like oregano. Why restrict this to cannabis if it's so dangerous? http://www.ehow.com/how_5377947_extract-essential-oil-using-butane.html

The restrictions and penalties for home distilling of alcohol, which we know is a danger, are minor. First offenses incur a $250 fine. It's interesting to note that there is an underground distilling community in Colorado. http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_25776672/meyer-whycant- we-distill-our-homes

2. This Bill makes marijuana extraction with inherently hazardous substances a Class 2 felony, punishable by eight to 24 years in prison and a fine of $5,000 to $1,000,000. This is the same penalty for methamphetamine manufacturing, which is illegal for all purposes in Colorado. This is unreasonably punitive.

Marijuana concentrate possession and manufacturing is legal and constitutionally protected; it is the extraction method and where it is being done that is being singled out in this Bill.

As you know, marijuana extraction to create a concentrate is often done by law-abiding citizens for defined medical needs, such as parents seeking CBD marijuana for their sick children. These people are not felons. Of course, if a home explosion takes place with damage to people or property due to use of dangerous and unregulated hazardous substances, this is now and should continue to be a crime in Colorado.

Any penalty for home extraction should be regulatory, giving people an opportunity to comply with reasonable health and safety regulations, or at most be punishable by a misdemeanor charge, such as the numerous ordinances that have been enacted in Colorado municipalities.

3. It is unreasonable to regulate and permit extraction of marijuana using inherently hazardous substances by persons licensed by the State to do so, but subject individuals engaging in the same exact conduct at home as serious felons.

This Bill provides no options to do chemical extraction in a home. Extraction can be performed safely with a closed-loop system by individuals who are fully compliant with all reasonable safety protocols.

Why not offer the opportunity for individuals to have their home marijuana extraction manufacturing method certified for health and safety? Uncertified operations could be subject to regulatory sanction or be charged with a misdemeanor absent aggravating circumstances.

Conclusion:

There is a great demand for concentrates by medical marijuana patients and recreational users in Colorado. Banning most home marijuana manufacturing will not make it stop. It likely will serve to drive people to hide their unregulated activities inside with less ventilation, thus creating a greater public safety hazard.

Please amend this Bill to more fairly reflect reality and the will of Coloradoans, who overwhelmingly voted to repeal marijuana prohibition and allow possession and manufacturing of marijuana concentrates.

Media Contacts:

, Esq., Executive Director, 303-665-0860

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