Colorado

Colorado: Group Forms To Oppose I-139, Which Would Limit THC To 16%

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A poorly drafted proposal that simply goes too far, and will have far reaching, unintended consequences harming Colorado’s medical marijuana patients, public safety, and economy

The Colorado Health Research Council (CHRC) on Friday announced that it has formed to oppose Amendment 139, a constitutional amendment that would order the Legislature to set a limit of no more than 16 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) of any cannabis product sold at a state-licensed retail store, while also putting packaging and labeling requirements that already exist directly into the state Constitution.

"While likely well-intended, proponents of the hastily drafted measure are suggesting that we amend our constitution in a way that would have devastating unintended consequences to the citizens and economy of Colorado," the group announced in a prepared statement.

Many Coloradans, including veterans suffering from PTSD, rely on cannabis as an effective and safe medicine. This bill would directly impact those using medical cannabis, including Jack Splitt, according to the CHRC.

Colorado: Jake Plummer Rips NFL's Marijuana Stance And 'Billionaire A--hole' Jerry Jones

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Jake Plummer, former Denver Broncos quarterback, spoke with BSC Denver recently, criticizing the NFL for its marijuana ban and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for denying the link between CTE and football. He even called Jones a 'billionaire a--hole."

"I have a hard time with it because everybody says, 'Oh, poor NFL millionaires. Oh, you poor people.' They don't understand," Plummer told BSN Denver. "Maybe they should have a little more to say about the owners that are billionaires, they're not millionaires; they're billionaires."

"Like Jerry Jones, who says it's 'absurd' that there would be a link between brain trauma, football and CTE," Plummer said. "Shame on him for saying that, that billionaire a--hole. It's the worst thing in the world for a guy like that to say. That's where we're sitting; grown-ass men are asked to go out there for millions of dollars -- which, yeah, it's a lot of money -- bang themselves around and completely f--- their lives over for their 40s and 50s. So yeah, poor football players is what I say. If you're a grown-ass man, you should be allowed to make grown-ass decisions."

Plummer is now 10 years into retirement and has seen the negative physical effects football has had on teammates.

But Cowboys owner Jones is denying that football can cause CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Colorado: Good Chemistry Launches 'Craft of Cannabis' Campaign

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

As Good Chemistry — specializing in cultivating consistent, high-quality cannabis— expands production capabilities in Colorado and Nevada, the company is debuting its “Craft of Cannabis” initiative with a new advertising campaign and website. Built on exquisite original photography, the ads showcase the people and plants behind the finest flower grown in Colorado.

“Our mission has always been to cultivate the best cannabis on the market,” said founder and CEO Matthew Huron, a master gardener who has been honing his craft for nearly two decades. “We are proud of the flower that we produce.

"Our Craft of Cannabis campaign aims to show consumers the excellent standards of our Cannabis artisans and the remarkable beauty and character of our plants,” Huron said.

The Craft of Cannabis campaign was developed by branding expert Michael Markowitz, president of Michael Markowitz + Associates, whose clients have included, among others, Panera Bread, Anheuser Busch and Universal Studios.

The new GoodChem.org website provides behind-the-scenes access to Good Chemistry’s nurseries, where the team includes botanists, carpenters, mechanics, scientists, musicians, entrepreneurs, farmers, inventors, caregivers, and more.

U.S.: NCIA Calls On Congress To Restore Commonsense Marijuana Proposals To Bills

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Despite bipartisan, majority support in both the House and Senate, the GOP "leadership" has blocked a fix to the dangerous banking crisis, and also stripped a provision allowing V.A. doctors to discuss medical marijuana with patients.

Recent actions by Congressional leadership have derailed two commonsense, majority-favored marijuana policy reform proposals that had been expected to pass through the appropriations process. The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) on Friday called on members of Congress to work to restore those provisions as the budget negotiation process continues.

"Bipartisan majorities in the House and the Senate have supported the commonsense, compassionate ideas that law-abiding cannabis businesses shouldn't be forced into dangerous all-cash operations, and that veterans who have put themselves in harm's way for our country should be able to learn about how medical marijuana could help them deal with the physical and psychological aftermath of their sacrifices," said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith.

Oregon: Beaver State Smokes The Second Most Pot In The U.S.

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oregon smokes the second most marijuana of any state in the United States, according to 24/7 Wall St. Number 1 is Colorado; no surprise.

24/7 Wall St. looked at "the percentage of people 12 years and over who reported smoking marijuana in the past year" in surveys from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, conducted in 2013 and 2014 to find out who smokes the most weed.

Marijuana continues to become more acceptable in Oregon. Today a ruling in Eugene said that Lane County was wrong for firing a 60-year-old prostate cancer survivor for using marijuana when he was off the clock.

The fact that Oregon isn't No. 1 yet probably has a lot to do with the fact that it's only been legal to sell cannabis in Oregon since Oct. 1, 2015.

Colorado: Congressman 'Appalled' At House GOP For Rejecting Marijuana Banking Measure

The House GOP rejected a proposal to ease access to banking services to cannabis business owners today.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A House committee earlier today rejected a proposal to give cannabis business owners easier access to banking services, raising outrage among congressional sponsors of the amendment.

"I'm appalled at House Republican leadership for denying the opportunity for a vote on the marijuana banking amendment which gets cash off the streets and prevents future crime in our communities,” said Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Colorado Democrat. The amendment, proposed as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, was co-sponsored by Perlmutter and Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash).

Perlmutter and Heck both referred to the recent incident in Aurora, Colorado in which a security guard was shot and killed during an armed robbery of Green Heart Marijuana Dispensary. The shooting draws attention to the dangers that plague cannabis owners because of being forced to conduct business on a cash-only basis.

“How many more armed robberies must we witness and security guards lives lost before we take action?” Perlmutter asked.

The House Rules Committee blocked the amendment earlier today.

There is still a chance to see positive change in the situation. If the Senate passes its own appropriations bill with the cannabis banking rider, the House will have another chance to approve or reject the amendment.

Colorado: Cannabis Chamber of Commerce Clears Air On Edible Ban

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A lot of confusion has been swirling around Colorado House bill HB16-1436 prohibiting edibles that "entice children," supported by SMART. Does the bill really ban all edibles? Does it go into effect July 1, 2016? The simple answer to all these questions is no, according to the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce.

"At C4 we worked diligently to amend this bill to protect the integrity of the cannabis industry," the group announced Wednesday in a prepared statement. "Through our commitment to the industry as a whole, we were successful in ensuring the rapidly growing edible market maintained its integrity and commitment to its consumer base."

"C4 was successful in working across the aisle to bring common sense business policies that protected products and maintained our commitment to responsible edible production," the statement reads.

"The bill language exempts from prohibition; edibles that are in geometric shapes, simply fruit flavored, the use of company logos on the product and edibles in the shape of a marijuana leaf," the statement reads.

Colorado: Teen Marijuana Use Dips After Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new survey released Monday showed that marijuana consumption by Colorado high school students has dipped slightly since the state first permitted recreational use by adults.

The biannual poll by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also showed the percentage of teens using marijuana in Colorado was lower than the national average among the age group.

Of the Colorado high school students surveyed in 2015, 21.2 percent had used marijuana during the preceding 30 days, down from 22 percent in 2011, the year before voters approved recreational use for adults over 21.

The rate of pot use by teens nationwide is slightly higher at 21.7 percent, the study showed.

“The survey shows marijuana use has not increased since legalization, with four of five high school students continuing to say they don't use marijuana, even occasionally,” the department said in a statement.

The department works with the University of Colorado and a citizens advisory committee to conduct the voluntary survey every two years. Approximately 17,000 students responded to the poll.

Voters in Colorado and three other states - Washington, Oregon and Alaska - have approved recreational pot sales to adults in recent years, and Colorado was the first state to open retail marijuana shops in 2014. Six other states are considering similar proposals.

South Carolina: Marijuana Infused Candy Turns Up In State

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Law enforcement officers on the South Carolina coast are warning parents after they discovered a load of marijuana-infused candies during a traffic stop recently on Interstate 95, WHNS reported.

Deputies from the Florence County Sheriff's Department said the candies were infused with tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, the psychoactive chemical component of marijuana. Officers said the candies are virtually indistinguishable from brand name candies without a chemical analysis.

They said the THC-infused candies were produced in Colorado, where marijuana is legal, but that it's not legal to possessor transport these products out of the state.

According to the labels, the candy is stated to contain 100 mg of THC.

Deputies are urging parents to be aware that these products are showing up in the state and to report any suspicious candies to law enforcement.

Colorado: Security Guard Fatally Shot During Attempted Robbery Of Marijuana Dispensary

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A security guard in Aurora, Colorado was shot and killed during an attempted robbery at a marijuana dispensary, the Aurora Police Department reported.

Police arrived at the Green Heart Marijuana Dispensary at 19005 E. Quincy Ave. about 9:45 .p.m Saturday, finding the guard inside suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

The man was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was later identified as Travis Mason. Police said the suspects are believed to be two black males armed with handguns.

Investigators from the Major Crimes/Homicide Unit and Crime Scene Investigation's Unit have responded to the dispensary to take over the investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Agent Matthew Ingui at 303-739-6067.

New Jersey: Scutari Pushes For Marijuana Legalization Despite Resistance From Governor Christie

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New Jersey Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-22) has just returned from a trip to Colorado where he toured the state's dispensaries and consulted with state officials on the rollout of their legalization effort. He hopes to get New Jersey to follow in that state's footsteps despite resistance from Governor Chris Christie on the issue.

Scutari spoke at a State House press conference, saying that he expects he will be able to draft a comprehensive bill and rally support for the measure before the end of this session. He said that he has been in touch with certain of the Democratic frontrunners in the race to succeed Christie in 2017.

“You’re going to have a new administration next year,” Scutari said. “And we’re going to see which one and what they’re going to do with it. I know that Mr. Murphy has already indicated publicly that he would sign a legalization. I know that no one has talked negatively about it."

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Senator Ray Lesniak (D-20) have said they would consider legalization while Jersey City Steve Fulop has not taken a position.

Colorado: CSU-Pueblo Getting $270,000 For Marijuana Research

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Colorado State University-Pueblo will be receiving $270,000 in marijuana excise tax revenue for research following a unanimous vote Monday by The Pueblo County Board of Commissioners.

Research will be on how medicinal marijuana can relieve certain health conditions and what communal effects come with legalized recreational use.

Commissioner Sal Pace said $220,000 will go to medicinal marijuana research and $50,000 will be used for societal impact studies.

There's been a real dearth of research on cannabis in general in the last 50 years," Pace said. "Anecdotally, there's a lot of evidence that there are real medical conditions that can be helped by cannabis, such as glaucoma, Crohn's disease and epilepsy."

On June 6, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill that awarded $900,000 to the university. The state and county money will be used to establish a research institute to study the effects of legal marijuana on both individual health and communities as a whole.

"We want to find out whether there are positive or negative impacts (of marijuana use) in terms of medical breakthroughs," CSU-Pueblo President Lesley Di Mare said. "We also want to understand what sort of impact marijuana has on communities where it is legal."

Colorado: New Cannabis Investment Law Allows Out-Of-State Money Next Year

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Passage of SB 16-40 allows out-of-state cannabis investments in Colorado to begin in 2017.

The new law removes the two-year residency requirement previously mandated for equity holders. Investors will still be required to meet other current ownership criteria, including criminal and financial background checks. Passive owners of less than 5 percent will be subjected to less extensive and more cost-effective screening.

LivWell Enlightened Health, a Colorado cannabis retailer, was part of an industry coalition composed of private businesses and major industry groups that lobbied and secured the passage of a bill that will allow out-of-state investors to have ownership interests in Colorado cannabis businesses.

“This levels the industry playing field a bit,” said Dean Heizer, chief legal strategist of LivWell Enlightened Health. “It puts us closer to competitive par with the many other states that don’t have residency requirements by freeing up capital for compliance investment, industry growth and by making it easier for small operators to access capital to survive.”

Colorado: Weed Sales Set New Monthly Record At $117.4M

April 2016 set a record for highest monthly total marijuana sales in Colorado.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Colorado's monthly cannabis sales broke a record with their highest total yet: $117.4 million worth of flower, edibles, and concentrates sold in April 2016.

The state Department of Revenue reported that marijuana shops sold almost $76.6 million in recreational cannabis for April, significantly passing the previous high-water mark of $62.2 million for December 2015.

In comparison, recreational sales increased more than 80 percent from $42.4 million in April 2015. Medical marijuana sales for the month also were going strong at $40.8 million, which is a 22 percent increase from the previous month.

The record-setting sales also meant a healthy revenue payoff for the state. There are three different taxes on Colorado’s recreational cannabis — the standard 2.9 percent state sales tax, a special 10 percent sales tax and a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale transfers, which is earmarked for school construction projects. The more than $5.5 million collected in excise tax is a monthly record from when recreational sales began in January 2014, and brings the yearly total to $16.7 million.

Colorado: Marijuana Grow Facility May Be Shut Down Because It Reeks

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A marijuana grow operation in Denver may be shut down soon because neighbors are sick of the smell.

Residents are urging city officials to deny the renewal of the application for the grower Starbuds. They say the excessive odors are negatively affecting the neighborhood, according to The Denver Post.

Starbuds is located in a mixed-use zoning area, but hearing officer Suzanne A. Fasing says that the operation does not comply with the neighborhood’s restrictions. She has suggested the city revoke its license.

But Starbuds contends there is no proof its product reeks.

“To take away a license, with the livelihoods of a licensee and its employees at stake, based upon the speculative belief of four witnesses, with absolutely no scientific evidence, is unconscionable,” wrote Jim C. McTurnan, Starbuds attorney, to the Department of Excise and Licenses.

The city’s decision is expected to come in the next few days, according to the Denver Post. It would be the first time a Denver grower would lose its license because of resident objection.

Colorado: Proposed Ballot Initiative Would Eliminate 80% of Cannabis Products

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A proposed initiative to install a new cannabis-related measure into the Colorado Constitution would effectively end Colorado’s successful first-in-the-nation effort to permit the sale of recreational cannabis to adults, according to industry experts BDS Analytics.

The initiative would impose limits on cannabis product format and would restrict all cannabis products to a maximum 16 percent THC content. Drawing from its database of more than 10,000 products in Colorado and its wealth of data analysis professionals, BDS Analytics concludes that products on the market today that generate more than 80 percent of cannabis revenue would be banned.

In addition, almost every edible product (which account for 11.5 percent of sales) would have to be repackaged, according to the company.

“When we first encountered the proposed language we quickly understood it would have a dramatic effect on the market, and so we immediately began a meticulous analysis of how it might change the landscape for commercial cannabis,” said BDS Analytics CEO Roy Bingham. “Unfortunately, our instincts were correct.

"Should the initiative become a part of the Colorado Constitution, it would hobble Colorado’s fastest-growing industry,” Bingham said.

Colorado: New Bill Allows Parents To Send Medical Marijuana To School With Their Kids

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has signed a bill allowing parents to send medical marijuana with their kids to school.

The law only applies to students who have a license to use non-smokeable marijuana.

All of Colorado’s 177 school districts are required to follow the policy according to the new law.

The districts can opt out if they can prove that they have lost federal funding because of the policy or if they place an easy to find explanation on their website as to why they are opting out.

The law also said that if any district loses federal funding, the state will reimburse whatever is lost.

Students need two recommendations from a doctor and an official okay from the Colorado Department of Public Health before they can take medical marijuana at school.

Colorado: Crackdown Coming For Illegal Marijuana Grows In Colorado Springs

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A crackdown is coming in Colorado Springs, according to Mayor John Suthers, who said he expects hundreds of busts of illegal marijuana growers in the coming months.

Those busts are targeting unregistered, commercial-sized operations run by out-of-state residents, mainly from Florida and with ties to cartels, according to law enforcement officials, reports Kaitlin Durbin at The Gazette.

What that hopefully means is that the focus won't be on small-time home grows, where average stoners cultivate a few more plants than 12 legally permitted under Amendment 64, the legalization initiative approved by Colorado voters back in 2012.

"If you look at who is being busted in Pueblo and who will be busted in Colorado Springs over the summer, you can tell: These are organized crime," Suthers claimed. "A lot of them Cubans coming up from Central America, and they're buying or leasing homes, making huge amounts of money (and) trashing the homes."

"There's no question, in Colorado Springs we have large illegal grow operations in several hundred homes," Suthers said.

U.S.: Federal Numbers Show Marijuana Smuggling Plummets After States Legalize

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Federal marijuana trafficking offenses are on a steep decline nationwide as more states legalize recreational cannabis.

According to the latest drug trafficking statistics from the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC), such offenses have fallen sharply since 2012, the year that Colorado and Washington residents decided at the ballot box to legalize weed, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post.

The decline continues through 2015, the most recent year for which numbers are available.

"The number of marijuana traffickers rose slightly over time until a sharp decline in fiscal year 2013 and the number continues to decrease," according to the report. This, mind you, while trafficking in other drugs -- particularly meth and heroin -- appears to be on the rise.

The USSC's numbers show that at the federal level, marijuana trafficking is becoming less of a problem. Legalization could be reducing demand for black market sales, state prosecutors could have changed how they charge defendants, or there could be another explanation altogether. The data doesn't provide enough details to draw a conclusion, according to researchers.

Arizona: VA Hospital Blocks Presentation On Cannabis, PTSD

Dr. Sue Sisley is upset that the Phoenix VA hospital blocked her presentation about marijuana and PTSD despite DEA approval.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix blocked a doctor from giving a lecture about marijuana's effect in veterans with post traumatic stress disorder, although her study is approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Dr. Sue Sisley is conducting a study on PTSD and medical marijuana that is funded by a Colorado research grant. The Phoenix VA Medical Center denied Sisley the opportunity to give a presentation there, despite having her work approved by the DEA.

“The notion that the Phoenix VA hospital refuses to allow that information to be shared with their medical staff is really shameful,” Sisley told KTAR-FM.

Medical marijuana is legal in Arizona, but possession of pot is still a federal crime. Dr. Samuel Aguayo, associate chief of staff for research at the Phoenix hospital, said the VA center isn't allowed to promote or recruit veterans for marijuana research.

“VA medical staff are not authorized to make a decision on whether marijuana and marijuana research is appropriate for veterans,” he explained.

Sisley argued that the VA has a duty to support research that could uncover new treatment for veterans with PTSD.

“If they refuse to do that, I think that is negligent and it’s an abomination,” she said.

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