With a new year comes new laws that went into effect on January 1, 2018. The Colorado laws deal with a host of issues ranging from hit-and-run accidents and marijuana sales.
The following are some of the more notable Colorado laws that took effect in 2018:
- Retail marijuana sales – The state is cracking down on retail stores that sell cannabis in an effort to prevent “looping,” which occurs when someone goes into a marijuana dispensary repeatedly during the same day to purchase cannabis. The modified rules limit sales to a single transaction per person per day. Additionally, the law prohibits the transfer of retail cannabis to people who have already purchased the legal limit. Establishments that sell marijuana to people that already purchased the legal limit will be punished.
- Home grow cannabis – Colorado will now regulate the number of plants being grown in each house by residence and not by person. All residents will be limited to a maximum 12 plants per residence, as opposed to six plants are allowed in each house per person living there that is over 18 years of age.
- Teen sexting – It is now considered a petty offense for minors over 14 years of age to possess a nude image of another teen without their consent. Sharing such image further could result in up to two years in jail. The new law lessens the consequences teens could face, changing the crime into a misdemeanor instead of a felony. It also would not require those found guilty to register as sex offenders.
- Hit-and-run accidents – The Department of Revenue can elect to suspend an individual’s driver’s license if they leave the scene of an accident that seriously injures or kills another person(s). Upon suspension, the person has a chance to make a written request for a review and hearing for a probationary license. However, there needs to be a preponderance of evidence that the individual was the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident and that they left the scene.
- Timely court hearings – The new law guarantees timely court hearings for defendants sitting in local jails on minor charges, such as public urination or trespassing, within two calendar days after the judge is told about the detention. In some counties, such defendants have waited days to go to court.
- Minimum wages – The minimum wage will increase to $10.20 per hour. The minimum will increase each year under the new law until it reaches $12 per hour in January 2020.
- Hospital costs – Giving more power to the patients, a new law will force healthcare providers to disclose charges for services they perform, requiring them to put together a list of the prices for at least 15 of the most common services they provide to patients. Additionally, they must also provide a list of the 25 most used services, diagnosis-related group codes, and the 25 most used out-patient CPT codes for billing.
- Protect debtors – Collection agencies will now have to prove a chain of custody of debt before they can sue the debtors. The law, which is designed to protect debtors, also allows the Attorney General’s Office to investigate claims against collection agencies who may have violated the law.