Special regulation for weed edibles, but not for experimental uranium mining

Cotter cleanup is go, but not radioactive milkshake regulations

After much bouncing back and forth between the House and Senate, SB 192, a bill which mandates that cleanup of radioactive water wells near the old Cotter uranium mill begin as soon as possible and that licenses for new mills include a public hearing, is on the verge of heading to the Governor’s desk.

The original bill also included a regulatory scheme for experimental new technologies that use water and pressure to separate uranium from rock — what we’ve been referring to as a radioactive milkshake. That provision of the bill was stripped in the Senate via amendments from Sen. Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa, but later reinstated in the House over protests from Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose.

Coram, who owns four uranium mines himself, argued that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission doesn’t consider the milkshake technique to be milling, which requires the more serious and costly environmental regulation the bill would put over the process.

Coram also asserted that his opposition to the regulation of new uranium technologies was not a conflict of interest because the scale and specific techniques would not apply to his mines.

Environmentalists in support of the regulation, on the other hand, pointed out that the NRC also doesn’t say that the milkshake process qualifies as mining, so they felt the bill’s clarification about regulation was important and in line with the state’s agreement with the NRC about how to handle radioactive material.

“This permitting issue will still have to be worked out. [The Department of Health] will have to figure it out through administrative meetings or there will be litigation. It will just be more uncertain and cause more delays,” said Conservation Colorado’s Chris Arend of the exclusion of regulation from SB 192, which was virtually cemented when the Senate voted not to accept the House’s re-inclusion of the regulations last night.

Tomorrow the bill will come up for its final vote when the House decides whether or not to pass the regulation-free version of SB 192.

Senate says edibles should be obviously weedy


It turns out that weed brownies look a lot like brownies. While this may be a cause for laughter on TV, state lawmakers acknowledged that it’s not so funny when kids accidentally take on way too much THC — the psychoactive ingredient in pot — and get sick, as roughly ten have since legalization.

Sponsored by Sens. Mike Johnston, D-Denver, and Steve King, R-Grand Junction, HB 1366 requires packaging to indicate that the edible contains THC, but also that the foodstuff itself be shaped, stamped, printed or otherwise marked so that it too makes its chemical properties known.

King said the bill was a good first step towards figuring out how to regulate something as complex and varied as edible marijuana. He did note that he’d like to see more precise and scientific approaches follow this first effort in sessions to come, such a labeling that would disclose of the exact quantity of THC in a product similar to labels for alcohol concentration.

The measure got final passage in the Senate today.

Hit and run for a long, long time

The House gave initial approval to SB 213 today, a bill which extends the statute of limitations on hit and runs that result in death from five years to ten.

“This is a crime of concealment, people have willingly fled the scene leaving someone to die. This bill just gives police a little more time,” said sponsor Rep. Kathleen Conti, R-Littleton.

The measure now heads to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.

Colorado to become home of cutting-edge Alzheimer’s research

The House also gave initial approval to SB 211 today, a bill which puts a quarter of a million dollars towards establishing a state-of-the-art Alzheimer’s research and treatment center at the University of Colorado Medical School.

“This bill will bring federal research into the state of Colorado and assist those in Colorado who are dealing with this devastating disease,” noted the sponsor, Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Niwot.

Coming to the well in support of the bill, Rep. Jeanne Labuda, D-Denver, noted that in combination with the school’s own funds the state’s investment will allow preeminent researcher Dr. Huntington Potter to establish a lab that looks at the fundamental similarities between Alzheimer’s and Down syndrome.