Colorado Rep. Jared Polis brings first retail marijuana bill to House |

Colorado Rep. Jared Polis brings first retail marijuana bill to House

Representatives Jared Polis of Colorado and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon introduced two bills on Friday, Feb. 20 that together would legalize and tax marijuana at the federal level.

Rep. Polis’ legislation, H.R. 1013, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, tackles several federal barriers to legalization. It removes marijuana from the schedule set by the Controlled Substances Act; transitions marijuana oversight from the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and regulates marijuana like alcohol through a change to U.S. code.

The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act would remove marijuana from the list of schedule I substances, the same as heroin and LSD.

Rep. Blumenauer’s legislation, H.R. 1014, the Marijuana Tax Revenue Act of 2015, creates a federal excise tax on non-medical marijuana sales and to move the rapidly growing industry out of the unregulated shadows.

Following federal legalization, the Marijuana Tax Revenue Act would impose a federal excise tax on the sale of marijuana for non-medical purposes, as well as apply an occupational tax for marijuana businesses. The bill would establish civil and criminal penalties for those who fail to comply, like those in place for the tobacco industry. The bill also requires the IRS to produce periodic studies of the marijuana industry and to issue recommendations to Congress.

Rep. Blumenauer’s bill phases in an excise tax on the sale by a producer (generally the grower) to the next stage of production (generally the processor creating the useable product). This tax is initially set at 10 percent and rises over time to 25 percent as the legal market displaces the black market. Medical marijuana is exempt from this tax.

National trends reflect state efforts. More than 46 percent of people 18 and older have tried marijuana at least once and public opinion research reveals more than half of the U.S. population supports legalization.


Small Colorado businesses struggling to get off the ground have a big opportunity to get loans through a new Colorado Lending Source program.

As reported in a Colorado Springs Gazette article from Feb. 21, Peoples Bank has made $3 million available through the program, which makes small loans guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“These loans are more flexible than conventional bank loans, because the program is specifically focused on underserved small businesses, from the perspective of accessing debt financing,” said Mike O’Donnell, executive director of Colorado Lending Source, in a Gazette article.

Peoples Bank in Colorado Springs is providing the money to loan, while the Denver-based nonprofit Colorado Lending Source will underwrite and process the loans under the SBA’s Community Advantage program.

Loans of $50,000 to $250,000 are available under the program for up to 10 years for equipment or working capital and up to 25 years for commercial real estate. Borrowers must either be referred by a bank or show that a bank has declined their loan request.

Colorado Lending Source wants at least 80 percent of the businesses that get the loans to locate in an underserved market, where at least half of the workforce is low income or lives in low-to-moderate-income census tracts.

Also included are Historically Underserved Business zones (HUBZones); startup businesses that are less than two years old; and businesses that are at least 51 percent owned by veterans, minorities or women.


The next installment in the Summit Business Mentor Series brings small business and marketing specialist Gerry O’Brion to Elevate CoSpace in Frisco on Thursday, Feb. 26.

O’Brion will lead the event, titled “Big Marketing. Small Budget.” In his career as a business strategist and mentor, he’s helped fine-tune marketing strategies for several billion-dollar brands (Proctor and Gamble, Coors Brewing Company) and now brings those experiences to the small-business realm. Business owners, restaurateurs and general managers are encouraged to attend.

The morning event runs from 9 a.m. to noon at the Elevate workspace (711 Granite St.). The cost is $65 per attendee and includes breakfast. Earn a $10 discount per attendee by entering the code “flyer” during online registration. Sign up for the workshop through


The retail and restaurant vacancy rate in the town of Breckenridge has reached an historic low, according to a mid-winter newsletter from the Breckenridge commercial real estate firm Wolf and Company.

Vacant space started a significant downward trend a year ago. With the start of 2015, there was another net decrease of 33.7 percent from the same time last year.

Snow is also making a comeback, particularly early in the season when perception of snowfall is most likely to convince destination guests to reserve far into the future, including high-traffic times like spring break and the Easter holiday. Summit County is now in the second year of record early-season snow. This year it came just in time for the start of the Dew Tour and the holiday ski season. Occupancy at local lodges swelled to more than 90 percent between Christmas and the New Year holiday.

Restaurant and retail sales have been steadily on the rise with restaurants enjoying year-over-year increases of more than 10 percent. It marks the start of a much-needed recovery for the Breckenridge economy in the past two years.

Wolf and Company predicts that the historic-low vacancy rate puts commercial landlords in the driver’s seat. The tenant demand currently exceeds retail/restaurant space availability. This represents a dramatic change in the economic environment since 2013.


The town of Breckenridge is requesting written quotes for a Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) dispensing system to be installed at 1105 Airport Road in Breckenridge.

Contractors must be able to complete the work by Sept. 1, 2015. An onsite, pre-quote meeting must be scheduled by March 9 and questions about the bid must be submitted to fleet supervisor Ken Hilt ( by March 13.

A brief listing of quote requirements:

– DEF system: Approximately 500-gallon bulk tank with pump and dispensing nozzle. The hose must have a minimum reach of 12 feet.

– An insulated, heated tank and dispenser with attached hose and nozzle to provide trouble-free, year-round operation at fleet locations in all temperatures.

– To be installed at the town fuel island on the available space (4 feet wide, 14 feet long).

– Must include the make, model and any manufacturer literature, with specifications and warranty terms of items being quoted.

For a complete list of quote requirements, see the complete bid request on the town of Breckenridge website. The Breckenridge town clerk must receive all bids by March 23 at 2 p.m.


As the presidential cycle begins heating up, top Republican donors Spencer Zwick, Mike Fernandez and Andy Puzder joined the Partnership for a New American Economy and Grover Norquist to push 2016 presidential candidates and Congressional Republican leaders to support immigration reform this year.

All three spoke about the need for Republican presidential hopefuls to embrace the issue.

“This isn’t just the right issue,” Zwick said. “It’s a smart issue. It’s a winning issue.”

Zwick served as national finance chairman for Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, while Puzder served as an economic adviser to the Romney campaign. Fernandez has been a key supporter of former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

In November, the three joined more than 100 Republican donors in a letter to Congress calling for the newly-elected Republican majorities to take action on immigration reform.

Shortly after the donor letter was sent, Partnership for a New American Economy released a study on visa law reform. The study found that expanding the visa waiver program could pump $7.66 billion into the U.S. economy over five years. In a bipartisan move, the organization has also called for workforce reform for H-1B immigrants and their spouses. The H1-B visa program is built for educated immigrants (bachelor’s degree or higher) who often hold specialty occupations, such as entrepreneurial and small-business endeavors.

“Two-income households are the norm in the modern economy, which is why allowing spouses of high-skilled visa holders to work in the U.S. is just common sense,” said John Feinblatt, chairman of the Partnership for a New American Economy. “By ensuring that none of the world’s innovators are kept out of the United States because they’d have to leave their families, we can modernize our immigration system and help draw and retain even more top international talent.”


Longtime financial and securities expert Mark Nunn was made partner at the local Edwards Jones Financial office in late February.

Nunn joined the firm in 2005 and moved to Summit County after living in the Denver area for 25 years. He was formerly a senior vice-president at Prudential Securities.

Edward Jones, a leader in the financial services industry, has developed challenging criteria for advisors to advance to partner level. Achieving those milestones led to Nunn’s recent appointment.

Nunn has served as president of the Board of Directors for the Summit County Chamber of Commerce over the past four years. He will remain on the Chamber’s Executive Committee and board. He is also a former president of the Summit-Lake Dillon Optimists Club and served for five years on the board of the Summit County Builders Association.

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