Marijuana in the news
Colorado acts to shield medical pot use while awaiting trial
Marijuana use won’t be banned while people await trial in Colorado. That’s according to a new law signed April 6, 2017.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a measure forbidding a court from saying that criminal defendants who are marijuana patients must abstain from pot as a condition of bond. Colorado has already decided that marijuana use shouldn’t be off-limits for people on probation.
A fiscal analysis prepared for lawmakers says the bond measure won’t cost any money. That’s because pot abstention isn’t usually a condition of bond in this state.
The protection for marijuana use applies only to people with certain medical conditions, not recreational pot users.
— The Associated Press, April 6, 2017
Bill would re-classify marijuana as Schedule III substance
A marijuana-centric bill would place cannabis as a Schedule III substance, a classification shared by Tylenol with codeine, ketamine and dronabinol.
Two Florida congressmen, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz and Democratic Rep. Darren Soto, introduced legislation on April 6, 2017, that would transfer marijuana to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act from its current standing as a Schedule I substance, the strictest of the classifications.
The legislation, Gaetz said, is aimed at bolstering research and creating an economic boost by allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to bank openly.
“It’s a modest step forward to try to find the most possible common ground,” he said. “I’ve seen that work.”
— The Cannabist, April 7, 2017
Initiative 300 allows businesses to create consumption areas for pot
Initiative 300 was passed by more than 53 percent of voters in Denver during the last election season. The ballot measure allows for businesses to apply for a permit permitting their customers to consume cannabis within the area. The measure also gives tourists aged 21 and over a safe and legal place to consume marijuana. Permit holders must follow the Colorado Clean Air Act, meaning marijuana cannot be smoked inside. Cannabis products can be smoked outside only if the area is enclosed and not visible from public property.
— Summit Daily News, updated from Oct. 20, 2016
Marijuana tax revenue profits surpass $1 billion
The state of Colorado made more than $1 billion in tax revenue from marijuana sales. The state hit the billion-dollar mark by the end of October, surpassing revenues from the prior year, which came in at $996.1 million. The Colorado Department of Revenue reported that Summit County $1.94 million in tax revenue through the end of October, with the county also surpassing 2015 sales.
— Summit Daily News, Dec. 15, 2016
Drug busts aimed at those shipping weed out-of-state
Search warrants were served in early March 2017 in more than 20 locations in Denver, Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and El Paso counties. The Drug Enforcement Agency assisted in the raids, which were an outgrowth of an investigation by the 18th Judicial District.
— The Denver Post, March 16, 2017
Smell of weed in Denver leads feds to bust of Nebraska marijuana network
An investigation of an alleged interstate crime network all started with an anonymous tip about a pungent odor emanating from a rental home in Westminster.
It was May 2, 2016, harvest time for a lucrative Nebraska-based illegal marijuana network with five pot growhouses and warehouses in Westminster, Dacono, Broomfield and Thornton.
Federal prosecutors reaped their own harvest of greenery in Denver U.S. District court after seizing bound and loose stacks of U.S. currency totaling $65,119 from several Denver area pot growhouses, according to an affidavit filed by Raymond Padilla, a federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
Renter Jason Koch claimed 278 pounds of pot found in his basement was for personal use. He told detectives that he had just moved to Colorado from Omaha a few months earlier and that his brother had a property management company, court records show.
Timothy Koch was paying his brother $20 an hour to package the pot and strangers would load the boxes filled with marijuana into trucks and drive to Nebraska, the arrest affidavit alleges.
— The Denver Post, Feb. 17, 2017
Vail bans retail pot another year
The Vail town council voted unanimously to extend its temporary ban on retail marijuana for another year in order to gather more information and observe other towns such as Aspen, who have legalized retail sales.
The town had set a self-imposed July 31, 2016, deadline to make a decision on retail sales, but council members said the past year has raised too many questions, with not enough time to answer all of them.
— The Vail Daily, July 1, 2016
Car wash will become Colorado’s 1st drive-through pot shop
Parachute will be home to Colorado’s first drive-through marijuana shop. Tumbleweed, owned by Green Cross Colorado LLC, has won approval for drive-up sales out of a former carwash, across the street from Tumbleweed’s primary location.
Parachute Town Manager Stuart McArthur said nearly 30 percent of Parachute’s sales tax receipts in 2016 were from marijuana sales — $310,000 out of $1.05 million total.
The Parachute Board of Trustees approved an annual renewal of the business license for Tumbleweed Express, the future name of the drive-through. The dispensary originally applied for a license last year even though it is not expected to be officially open until sometime around March.
“We think the drive-through is a very creative and innovative idea,” McArthur said.
— The Steamboat Pilot
Retail addition to downtown Glenwood Springs pot shop approved
In March 2017, Glenwood Springs City Council unanimously approved a special-use permit for Green Natural Solutions to expand from serving medical marijuana customers only and provide retail sales for recreational consumers as well.
Green Naturals has been the city’s last medical-only marijuana establishment, and was one of the first marijuana businesses to open in the entire Roaring Fork Valley in October 2009, three years before recreational marijuana use and sales became legal in Colorado under Amendment 64.
— The Glenwood Post-Independent, March 16, 2017
Glenwood marijuana taxes pass easily
In April 2017, Glenwood Springs voters have agreed to join other area municipalities in assessing special taxes on the retail sale and transfer of recreational marijuana products within the city.
City voters voted 1,205 to 813 to impose a new, local 5 percent tax on the sale of retail marijuana, as allowed under Colorado law. The tax could be increased in future years to as much as 15 percent without additional voter approval.
A separate question on the spring ballot asked to assess a separate 5 percent excise tax on wholesale transfers from a retail marijuana cultivation, manufacturing or testing facility to retail marijuana stores in Glenwood. That question passed 1,260 votes in favor to 764 against.
— The Glenwood Post-Independent, April 4, 2017
Marijuana moratorium imposed in Grand County
The Grand County Board of County Commissioners placed a moratorium on the issuance of new marijuana licenses on Dec. 13, 2016. The decision came after several weeks of discussion. Commissioner Merrit Linke first introduced the idea in October, and the Board began to draft an ordinance with county attorney Alan Hassler.
The moratorium was set so the county could take a step back and determine if Grand County’s marijuana policies align with what citizens want. The moratorium is enacted on the day of acceptance (Dec. 13) and expires on Jan. 1, 2018.
— Sky Hi Daily News, Dec. 14, 2016
Basalt Town Council loosens restrictions on marijuana shop locations
The council voted 5-1 in a first reading to reduce a buffer between parks and pot shops from 500 to 200 feet. A second reading and public hearing was scheduled for later in the season.
The move potentially opens more of Midland Avenue, the town’s main street, to pot shops. The 500-foot buffer restricted a portion of Midland Avenue because of the proximity to Lions Park, where the Town Hall and Art Base are located.
The town retained a buffer of 500 feet between child care facilities and marijuana shops and a 1,000-foot buffer from schools. The town also limits the number of licenses for retail marijuana shops to two and medical marijuana shops to two.
— The Aspen Times, Jan. 25, 2017
Basalt-area marijuana farm’s license in peril
In a highly charged meeting in July 2016, Pitkin County commissioners told the owners of High Valley Farms, a marijuana grow facility that debuted in 2015, that its license is in serious peril because of its chronic stench.
The meeting was one in a series of county commissioner work sessions over the smell wafting from High Valley Farms, located in the Basalt area. And each time, Jordan Lewis, co-owner of the greenhouses, assured commissioners and neighbors the stench will be eradicated. The neighbors also made repeated claims that the odor hasn’t gone away, continually and negatively impacting their lifestyle.
When commissioners granted High Valley Farms its agriculture license last year, a condition of the approval was that it would not emit marijuana-type smells. And the county’s retail marijuana licensing regulations also state, “All retail marijuana establishments shall be equipped with a proper ventilation system so that odors are filtered and do not materially interfere with the enjoyment of adjoining property.”
— The Aspen Times, July 1, 2016
DA responds to White house comments
After threats of federal marijuana enforcement from both press secretary Sean Spicer and Attorney General Jess Sessions, the future of the marijuana industry in Colorado came into question. After the comments, District Attorney Bruce Brown said that there has not been a lot of high profile crime since legalization. He added that he did not think that recreational marijuana had impacted or threatened public safety.
— Summit Daily News, Feb. 28, 2017
Marijuana-related emergency room visits high in Summit, Routt counties
The Colorado Department of Health and Environment released its Monitoring Health Concerns related to Marijuana in Colorado in 2016 report in late January. The report found that marijuana usage by adults increased by 60 percent from 2014 to 2015 in the northwestern area of the state. Summit County was found to have the highest rate of marijuana-related emergency department visits. For every 1,000 visits, 21 of them in Summit were due to marijuana-related issues from 2011 to 2013. That number jumped to 56 per 1,000 from 2014 to September of 2015. Routt County followed behind with 17 per 1,000 people visiting the emergency room from 2011 to 2013. The county saw 40 marijuana related visits per 1,000 from 2014 to September of 2015.
— Summit Daily News, Steamboat Pilot, Feb. 27, 2017
Dillon considers dual licensing
Dual licensing for pot shops in Dillon may soon become a reality. The town already allows recreational licenses, with a cap on the current three stores: Alpenglow Botanicals, Altitude Organic Cannabis as well as Native Roots. In November 2016 the town discussed allowing stores that already had recreational licenses to apply for a dual license that would allow them to sell medical marijuana. Dual licensing would allow the town to keep a cap on the amount of stores in existence. An ordinance that would allow stores to sell medical passed a first reading in the council in February 2017. Stores will be able to sell to adults aged 21 and over.
— Summit Daily News, Feb. 22, 2017
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