A contentious bill that would regulate extraction in Colorado was debated in a committee hearing last Thursday. The legislation would make chemical manufacturing illegal if conducted in a home.
State Representative Mike Foote (Dem.-Louisville), the bill’s sponsor, says the bill is not meant to interfere with the concentrate industry, only to reduce the number of extraction-related explosions, injuries, and property damage. 2014 saw 32 reported explosions as a result of extraction, mostly using butane.
“The dispensaries and regulated areas can still do it but it’s just someone trying to do it in their basement, for example, or a hotel room… that’s what we’re trying to prevent here,” Foote says in a recent CBS Denver article. The law would not restrict extraction using water or alcohol solvents.
If passed, the law would obviously change things in Colorado’s concentrate business. Just because extractors can get certified doesn’t mean they’ll want to. Most beginner blasters start out in backyards and basements, and without the thousands of dollars required by Nevada for its manufacturing application fee. Though there is no specific talk of application fees in Colorado, a similar fee could be expected. So, extractors who are just starting out would either need to enter the industry with a lot of capital or as criminals.
On the other hand, if the law passes and proves to be effective in deterring unlicensed extraction, that would probably mean fewer butane explosions. And nobody can say that’s a bad thing.
However, bill opponents like Colorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers spokesman Robert Chase see the bill as unconstitutional and say the reports of explosions have been exaggerated. “It’s a relative handful of incidents. They site 30 but these are not all catastrophic explosions. They are incidents that get reported and the people who are injured have been almost exclusively those engaged in the misuse of butane,” says Chase. But that isn’t necessarily a solid argument. The number of serious explosions is very likely higher than the government’s estimation, as many likely go unreported in the area.