House creates special weed bank, promises more transparency on highway projects

House approves credit unions for weed shops

weed

The House gave final approval to HB 1398 today, a measure which allows licensed weed retailers to form their own credit unions, which must officially be known as “Cannabis Credit Co-ops.”

Currently, because marijuana isn’t federally legal, retail pot businesses run almost exclusively on cash — which is both expensive and risky. Sponsors hope that the creation of a state-level banking option for weed retailers will ease some of these issues.

The measure now heads to the Senate.

More transparency for public-private transportation partnerships

After much implicit debate about exactly who was at fault for the public outcry around the U.S. 36 public-private partnership, the House gave final passage to SB 197 today, a measure to add transparency to the highway construction process in the state.

“These out-of-state financiers are not accountable to the public, they’re accountable to their shareholders,” said sponsor  Rep. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette.

“We are the ones who have to take the questions, we’re the ones accountable. That’s exactly how it went down during US 36 controversy. [The Colorado Department of Transportation] were virtual punching bags in those community meetings.”

Opponents of the bill worried that it gave the legislature too much control of the building of highways, something they argued should be squarely in the Department of Transportation’s wheelhouse.

Even so, the measure got final approval on a vote of 35-29 and now heads to the Governor’s desk.

House approves regulation of radioactive milkshake technique, Cotter water cleanup

The House approved SB 192 by a vote of 42-23 today. The measure mandates the cleanup of radiation-tainted water wells near the Cotter uranium mill in Cañon City, brings the state licensing process for uranium facilities up to federal standards of public transparency and puts new extraction technology that uses water to make a uranium slurry under the regulation of the Department of Health.

Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose, strongly opposed the regulation portion of the bill — calling it war on rural Colorado jobs that threw the baby out with the bathwater. Coram owns four uranium mines in San Miguel and Montrose counties, which is detailed in an accompanying story.

“This bill is not throwing baby out with the bathwater, it’s making sure that bathwater not contaminated in the first place,” argued sponsor Rep. Jared Wright of Fruita, also a Republican.

Ultimately the House passed the bill, regulations and all, by a bipartisan vote of 42-23. It now heads back to the Senate for approval of the regulation component.

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