New Year, New Laws: What’s New on the Books
Along with a new wall calendar Coloradoans will also be bringing into focus several new laws in 2017. From beer to bucks to bud tenders, from livestock to right-to-die, here’s the Leadville Today lowdown on what’s new on the books as of January 1, 2017.
Starting January 1, earnings for minimum wage earners increased from $8.31 to $9.30 per hour for non-tipped workers and will increase by $0.90 per hour every year until it reaches $12 an hour on Jan. 1, 2020. Anticipate to see that on you next paycheck. For those workers who rely on tips as part of their wage, they will see an hourly increase from $5.29 to $6.28 per hour starting January 1, tipped workers will make. Colorado law mandates tipped wages remain set at $3.02 less than non-tipped wages.
Not since the shake-up of prohibition laws has the Colorado liquor industry seen such a sizeable change to the laws than those which went into effect January 1. Although most agree that the impact to Leadville and Lake County liquor sales will be minimal, the passage of Senate Bill 16-197 allows retailers to add up to four new alcohol-selling locations, as long as they buy up all the existing licenses within 1,500 feet in cities of more than 10,000 people, and 3,000 feet in smaller jurisdictions. In phases, grocers could add up to 20 locations by 2037, when state licensing limits fall away. The new law also has the state repealing it’s 3.2 beer law within the next two years, which means stronger beer available to you at the same place you buy your groceries.
While the liquor industry expands its reach, the medical marijuana business will see a contraction of sorts as caregivers will be facing tougher rules when it comes to the number of plants they can grow at home. According to state law, that number is dropping from 495 to 99 plants. Starting January 1, primary caregivers will be the only person allowed to grow and provide medical marijuana to a patient if they utilize a caregiver. Licensed medical marijuana growers will also be allowed to sell medical pot.
But the primary caregivers growing medical marijuana will have to register the location of their grow, their patients’ registration numbers in the medical program and plant counts with the state.
Transporters will also have to tell the state the number of plants or amount of medical marijuana going to each patient, as well as who the product is going to. The law says any information from voluntary registrants will be kept private, though their grow locations would be verified by the state.
The law says most of the new facets going into effect January 1 are aimed at protecting growers and patients from law enforcement operations targeting illegal grows, after some agencies voiced concerns over a lack of knowledge of who was growing legally and who wasn’t.
When it comes to animals, a new regulation known as the Veterinary Feed Directive is now law as of January 1. This will require livestock producers to get prescriptions like penicillin directly from their vets instead of over the counter, essentially limiting the use of antibiotics specifically to disease treatment.
Known as Proposition 106 or less formally as Medical Aid in Dying, this new law requires a mentally competent patient to have a six month prognosis and get two doctors to approve requests for a life-ending medication. Once approved, that medication must be self-administered. Colorado is the fifth state to allow medically assisted suicide.
In all, 25 new laws were passed in the 2016 legislative session that ended last May. The 71st session of the Colorado State Legislative Session will convene on January 11, 2017. Stay tuned to Leadville Today for reports from the Golden Dome.