Last year Colorado experienced 32 reported extraction-related explosions, up to nearly three times as much as the 12 reported in 2013. There have no reported fatalities, but plenty of injury and property damage, and some in the state are concerned about the increasing frequency of incidents.
But Andrew Freedman, who works in Governor John Hickenlooper’s office and has been termed Colorado’s “marijuana czar” spoke out recently with his views on extraction laws.
“There are certainly murky areas in the law right now,” Freedman said. “I think some districts believe we can already prosecute people for trying to create butane hash oil at home, and there’s other jurisdictions that don’t think so, so I think it’s a place for clarification that’s needed in the state.”
Freedman says lawmakers attempting to regulate blasting have his support, but some in the state disagree with him.
Paul Mannaioni, a man who recently pleaded not guilty after being charged with manufacturing and arson after an extraction-related explosion in Denver, had a different opinion than the czar. “We voted on it. It’s legal. It shouldn’t be in the criminal system,” he said.
Mannaioni’s lawyer Robert Corry added, “This is not criminal arson, because it’s not intentional and it’s not reckless… The people who were doing this were following Colorado law and accidents do happen, but in this country, an accident does not mean that a crime has necessarily occurred.”
He might have a point, but that doesn’t mean blasters who don’t know what they’re doing should get away with endangering other people’s lives. Regulation in some form is probably in the pipeline for Colorado and other states, just as it has in Nevada, but it’ll be years at least before the wrinkles are ironed out of extraction laws and regulations.