DENVER (CBS4)– A bill to regulate hash oil extraction was debated in its first committee hearing at the state Capitol on Thursday. Supporters believe hash oil needs to be regulated but opponents believe the bill is unconstitutional.

Law enforcement across Colorado say the number of hash oil explosions continues to rise. Last year there were 32 confirmed explosions involving butane or other flammable gas in the extraction process.

Rep. Mike Foote, a Democrat representing Louisville, is the sponsor of the bill that would make it a felony to process hash oil at home. He said the measure is designed to stop those amateur explosions, not the hash oil industry.

“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,” said Foote.

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All sides agreed that hash oil production can be dangerous. Law enforcement believes the production process should not take place in homes, hotels or unregulated but in a safe and licensed environment.

A demonstration of a hash oil explosion (credit: CBS)

A demonstration of a hash oil explosion (credit: CBS)

Opponents of the bill believe it would be unconstitutional and downplay the recent documented explosions.

“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,” said Colorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers spokesman Robert Chase.

Foote said he did make specific exemptions for the alcohol extraction process of hash oil, specifically for people who make it at home, for medicinal reasons. It’s the butane that’s at the center of the push for regulation.

LINK: House Bill 1305


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