Colorado Lawmakers Rushing to Add More Pot Regulations

Stephanie Stout March 15, 2015

The euphoria of the new pot laws has sparked Colorado lawmakers to enact even more laws to clarify what is still illegal and how legal sellers can handle their profits. The illegal manufacturing of hash and fears of money laundering charges for bankers are the main concerns now in the legislature.

Hash oil production is the new meth lab problem

The law allows any person over 21 to have an ounce of marijuana in any form, but some in Colorado are not satisfied with the strength of a regular joint and have taken advantage of the vagueness of the new pot laws to begin manufacturing hash in their homes.

The hash concentrate is sold legally in pot dispensaries and has three to five times the potency of marijuana flowers. Its higher price has people playing amateur chemist cooking their own hash to use or to share. According to the Joint Drug Task Force, others are distributing the illegally produced hash on the black market in Colorado and around the country.

Hash lab explosions on the rise

The new laws allowing pot growing at home has led people to use their own plants in crude laboratories to make hash oil, which has led to a big increase in fiery explosions. Although some prosecutors have charged people with felonies for cooking hash oil, the law allows processing of marijuana plants, arguably including hash oil.

Denver has banned home hash oil production in part of its building code which prohibits the creation of an unsafe environment. Other common charges are arson and child endangering when a home lab blows up. The Colorado legislature is seeking to strike a balance in prosecutions of this dangerous practice which they compare to the meth lab problem of several years ago, while protecting the rights of all citizens.

Money laundering issue keeps bankers away from taking pot profits

Federal banking laws are keeping Colorado's recreational marijuana establishments cash businesses, leading to concerns about the security of proceeds. Pot stores are raking in $10,000 to $20,000 per day, and retail stores reported $1 million in profit the first day and $5 million in the first week. Retailers fear the knowledge of so much cash around will expose them to robbery and burglary.

Banks however are fearful of being charged with money laundering for allowing pot businesses to open accounts. Various Colorado politicians have urged federal regulators not to exact penalties on banks who do business with licensed pot sellers, and have called on Congress to act on the issue. The Justice Department is working to clarify the banking rules which will stress that prosecutors should make large scale criminal operations their priority.

Questionable charges require good legal representation

Colorado law enforcement of the new pot laws has caused some confusion due to vague provisions that seem to allow actions that could actually be illegal. An experienced defense lawyer can help you fight charges for unlicensed distribution or manufacture of marijuana or even money laundering, and protect your rights and property against unauthorized penalties or seizure.