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Marijuana Enforcement Division finalizes recreational pot and MMJ rules

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On January 10, while much of the state's cannabis community was focused on the launch of recreational sales, permanent rules for the recreational and medical marijuana industries were being quietly approved and put into effect by Colorado's Marijuana Enforcement Division. Most were unchanged from previous drafts, but cannabis concentrates for recreational use seem to have been the focus of a comprehensive set of new guidelines. You can read all of them on the Colorado Department of Revenue site, but below are a few standouts from the 57 pages of regulations.

A retail cultivation facility can only make water-based hash at its location. That means no butane extractions or CO2 extractions, though dry-ice hash does seem to be allowed. In fact, the mere possession of a non-water-based concentrate at a grow site could be a violation of the law and result in fines or disciplinary action.

Beyond that, the icewater hash has to be made in a designated room separated from the rest of the grow. That room will have to meet pretty much the same health and safety regulations that an infused-marijuana kitchen must meet, including the use of only food-grade materials. As a result, some places will have to say goodbye to the old clothes-washing machines repurposed for making loads of bubble hash. All ice and water has to be filtered before being used.

Solvent-based concentrates must be produced using a closed-loop system in a facility certified by an industrial hygienist or professional engineer; all of the procedures must meet local and state fire and electrical codes. The only exception is for isopropyl-based extractions, which don't require a closed-loop system.

All solvents must be tested to make sure they are at least 99 percent pure. If the owners eventually decide to switch solvents to one that isn't listed in the facility's procedure manuals, they'll have to undergo a completely new set of inspections -- and if the closed-loop systems weren't specifically designed for marijuana concentrates, the equipment must be approved by a professional engineer before it can be used.

Hash makers will have to have (and follow) a step-by-step process for checking the equipment, preparing the material for processing, purging any solvents, cleaning the equipment and disposing of the waste. They'll not only need to outline that process in a training manual for employees, but they also have to do so for owners -- all of whom must undergo training on hash-making regardless of whether they are actually involved with the day-to-day production.

Finally, all concentrates will be tested for bacteria, mold, fungus and mildew, as well as for residual solvents. And starting October 1, concentrate producers will have to pass four weeks of tests before their concentrates can be sold to dispensaries.

Head over to the Marijuana Enforcement Division's site to read the rules in their entirety.

More from our Marijuana archive: "10 Best Concentrates of 2013" and "Garden City has northern Colorado's first pot shop -- naturally."

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