Colorado

Colorado: Illegal Marijuana Grow Operations Busted, More Than A Dozen Arrested

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Approximately 30 Colorado homes and warehouses suspected of having illegal marijuana grows have been raided as part of an extensive law enforcement action Thursday, resulting in more than a dozen arrests.

Many of the raids were conducted in the Denver metro area. Police say the raids are all tied to one illegal operation. The suspects allegedly came from Texas and bought houses in Colorado to grow marijuana in, then ship it out of state for a huge financial gain.

A Colorado National Guard truck had to be called in at a house in Centennial to haul away a large amount of marijuana grow equipment. More than 300 plants were found a that location.

A neighbor told CBS-TV4 that she was shocked to see how big the operation was.

“I can’t believe this is happening in this neighborhood. It’s just so out of character for the people that live here,” Rebecca Rattray said. “I’m a little shocked that there’s still a market to grow pot illegally.”

Police had to use tear gas to extract a man who had barricaded himself at one location near Colorado Springs.

The activity on Thursday is the culmination of a year-and-a-half long investigation by the North Metro Drug Task Force, the DEA, U.S. postal inspectors and the Colorado Attorney General’s office.

Photo courtesy CBS

Colorado: Politician Wants To Outlaw Cannabis Gummy Bears

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Colorado State Representative Don Pabon (D-Denver) wants to outlaw weed-infused gummy bears.

Since recreational marijuana use has been legalized in 2014 in Colorado, the state has seen many advancements in marijuana products. Edibles are among the most popular of these, with some recreational marijuana stores saying that edibles make up a majority of their sales.

Unfortunately, kids are getting into edibles, with hospitals in Colorado reporting a surge in accidental marijuana consumption among 3- to 7-year-olds.

“Right now in Colorado, there are no distinguishing characteristics between the gummy bear that contains marijuana and one that does not,” Pabon said. The governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, supports the proposed legislation: “Back in the day, candy cigarettes desensitized kids to the dangers of tobacco – and today, pot-infused gummy bears send the wrong message to our kids about marijuana.” He wants pot-infused stuff not to look like “products kids can find in the candy aisle.”

Washington State tightened its rules on edibles since legalizing marijuana sales 18 months ago. The new rules outlaw brightly colored marijuana lollipops and other sweets that appeal to kids.

Colorado: Denver Council Kills Bill Limiting Number Of Marijuana Dispensaries

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Denver City Council on Tuesday killed a bill that would have implemented a cap on the number of marijuana dispensaries allowed in the city.

The proposal would have capped the number of dispensaries and cultivation facilities, and ceased licensing for new medical marijuana operations.

The council had been anticipating new applicants and working to establish rules that would limit industry growth, and the exclusion of amendments that would halt these applications—and cost marijuana industry investors “millions” —reportedly led some council members to vote against the bill.

Disagreement over the details of limitations prevailed over the understanding that some neighborhoods are oversaturated with marijuana businesses, resulting in a vote of 6-6.

Robin Kniech, sponsor of the bill, has said she will amend and re-file the bill next week.

Colorado: Denver City Council Considers Cap On Marijuana Businesses

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Denver City Council will debate a proposal that would cap the number of marijuana shops and grow houses allowed within the city.

If passed, the proposal would have a huge impact on millions of dollars from entrepreneurs looking to get into Colorado's growing marijuana industry. Others say the outcome will affect many neighborhoods and the children who live there.

The ordinance would prohibit the issue of new medical marijuana cultivation and sales licenses. It would call for new rules for issuing recreational marijuana cultivation and sales licenses.

Supporters say the caps would allow some new business owners to get into the industry without increasing the number of locations.

The group Smart Colorado has been fighting the proliferation of pot shops, sating children are at risk.

"Use supported by our youth is significantly higher in Denver with 22.5 percent of eighth-graders reporting last month's marijuana use. That is one out of four," Smart Colorado co-founder Diane Carlson said.

The council plans to hold a public hearing on the proposal Monday afternoon. A final vote could come as early as April 18.

Colorado: Marijuana-in-schools Debate Returns

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A House committee in Colorado is reconsidering a new law that will allow medical marijuana in public schools.

Currently, the law allows students who need medical marijuana to use edible forms of cannabis in public schools as long as the school districts agree.

No school district currently allows it, so patient advocates are pushing the bill to make Colorado the second state to require schools to allow pr parents to administer medical marijuana. New Jersey was the first to make the change last year.

"They need to make reasonable accommodations so that children who need medical marijuana can go to school," said Stacey Linn, a Lakewood mother of a 15-year-old with cerebral palsy who is not allowed to wear a skin patch delivering a cannabis-derived treatment to school.

School law currently says that medical marijuana must be in non-smokable form and is to be administered by a school nurse or caregiver, usually a parent. But school nurses are also required by law to report to authorities any child who is exposed to an illegal drug, including marijuana-derived treatments.

Parents feel that medical marijuana should be treated the same as Ritalin or other controlled substances that are routinely dispensed by school districts.

Colorado: One Attempt At Marijuana Potency Limit Fails

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

An initial effort to cap the potency of marijuana sold in recreational pot shops was rejected by Colorado lawmakers late Wednesday.

Rep. Kathleen Conti, R-Littleton. had proposed barring stores from selling marijuana and marijuana products, including concentrates, containing more than 15 percent THC, an amount that is lower than the average potency sold in recreational stores

The proposal was narrowly voted down by lawmakers on the House Finance Committee, with a vote of 6 to 5.

The proposed limit was part of an amendment to House Bill 1261, a bill reauthorizing Colorado's rules for recreational marijuana stores.

Some type of potency cap is expected to be considered again, after more study,

"We'll be revisiting this next year, for sure," Rep. KC Becker, a Boulder Democrat who was a no vote on the amendment, said at Wednesday's hearing.

A state study last year showed that the average potency of raw marijuana in Colorado is 17.1 percent THC. The average potency of concentrated marijuana is 62.1 percent THC.

U.S.: Detailed Forecast Released For 4/20 In Colorado And Washington

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Hallmark hasn’t leveraged its formidable marketing muscle to promote 4/20 — not yet, at least. Nevertheless, an analysis by a cannabis industry source of data intelligence finds that April 20 and the days surrounding it have clearly, and emphatically, emerged as the cannabis industry’s principal holiday, with dramatically boosted sales.

One thing 4/20 has in common with more traditional holidays like Halloween and Valentine’s Day — lots and lots of candy!

BDS Analytics’ close analysis of cannabis sales during last year’s festivities, based on hundreds of thousands of retail transactions worth millions of dollars in Colorado and Washington, draws a range of fascinating 4/20 conclusions. Among them:

• The four days leading up to, and including, 4/20 in Colorado captured three of the most lucrative cannabis sales days during all of 2015.

• Washington’s sales were less dramatic, at least when compared to the months following 4/20. But 4/20 sales did spike, and BDS Analytics anticipates sales this year tripling or even quadrupling last year’s numbers.

• Sales in Colorado this year should exceed $5 million per day from Friday, April 15 to Wednesday, April 20. One of the days should exceed $6 million.

Colorado: Marijuana Dispensary Seeks Naming Rights For Mile High Stadium

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The stadium the Broncos play in is possibly about to be renamed due to the recent bankruptcy filing by Sports Authority, and one potential buyer is a marijuana company.

Native Roots, one of Colorado's largest dispensaries, expanded last year from one store to 14. The chain acknowledged the announcement being made on April Fool's Day was untimely, but insist they are serious about making a multi-million dollar commitment.

"It's not a joke, we're very serious," said Rhett Jordan, a founding partner of Native Roots.

The company has released a possible logo for the stadium, a simple tree with roots instead of a marijuana leaf.

If the naming rights are approved, the new stadium name would be Native Roots Fields at Mile High.

“We’ve always been huge fans of the Broncos, we felt like this was a great opportunity to bring two brilliant brands together,” said Jordan. “Native Roots was born and raised in Colorado and we are the natural candidate for this. I don’t see cannabis going anywhere but up right now so we are prepared for that."

Photo courtesy CBS

Colorado: Military Veteran Gives Away Free Marijuana To Fellow Vets For PTSD

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Colorado Springs cannabis club headed by a military veteran is handing out free marijuana to other veterans, hoping to give them relief from issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for chronic pain they suffer after returning home from war zones.

The Veteran Farmers Alliance over the weekend gave away more than a half-pound of weed, along with cannabis edibles, worth about $1,400, to veterans at the Dab Lounge, reports RT.com. Founder Steve Defino said other groups should be doing the same thing, and that cannabis was essential for him to deal with his PTSD, which he has battled for more than a decade.

Defino said he was prepared to spend nearly 20 times the amount he spent on Saturday at a followup event planned for Veteran's Day in November, reports Andrew Blake at The Washington Times.

“I’ve seen other organizations operate, and I’m not very happy with the way they do it,” Defino said in an interview with KXRM. “They need to be donating more and doing more to show these guys that they actually care.”

“I’ve been able to actually go through my memories, recall my memories without getting upset anymore, and I’m starting to live my life again like a normal person,” Defino said.

Colorado: Organization Offers Free Marijuana To Veterans

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Dab Lounge in Colorado Springs hosted their 'Spring Bake' event Saturday night, where a group called the 'Veteran Farmers Alliance' handed out marijuana to veterans for free.

Group founder Steve Defino said marijuana helped him heal after returning home and he's hoping to share that relief with other veterans. He handed out edibles and over half a pound of marijuana to veterans at the event Saturday.

“I’ve seen other organizations operate, and I’m not very happy with the way they do it,” Defino said. “They need to be donating more and doing more to show these guys that they actually care.”

He said he’s battled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for 10 years and found relief using marijuana.

“I’ve been able to actually go through my memories, recall my memories without getting upset anymore, and I’m starting to live my life again like a normal person,” Defino said.

“I’ve talked to guys that are ready to kill themselves. They’re ready to take their own life because they feel like nobody is there for them. So this is a small way to say thank you for what you’ve done,” he said.

Even though the marijuana may only offer short-term relief, he says it’s the least he can do for the men and women who have sacrificed for our country.

“This saves lives. This will take [the depression or anxiety] off their mind, at least temporarily, until they can find some more permanent help or relief,” Defino said.

Defino says he is hosting another event on Veteran’s Day in November at the Dab Lounge.

US: Senators Seek Federal Guidance For Marijuana Business Banking

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Four senators from three states that have legalized recreational marijuana asked federal financial regulators Thursday to issue guidance for financial institutions wishing to offer banking services to marijuana businesses.

Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote a letter to the six top federal financial regulators asking multiple agencies to work together to issue joint guidance to financial institutions from regulators across the federal government.

Currently, many legal marijuana businesses in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, and other states with recreational or medical marijuana are forced to run their businesses on a cash-only basis. Banks fear being penalized by the federal government, which still considers marijuana illegal.

This inability to open bank accounts or accept non-cash forms of payment means the businesses have to keep large amounts of cash on hand. Businesses must pay their taxes in cash, creating a logistical challenge for state and local governments to collect taxes.

In 2014, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued guidance on how financial institutions can serve legal marijuana businesses in states that have legalized recreational or medicinal marijuana, but without clearer guidance from all federal regulators to provide certainty in the regulatory environment, most banks and credit unions are still not serving marijuana-related clients.

Colorado: Cannabis Industry Preparing For A Big 4/20 In Denver

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With just under a month to go until the biggest day of the year in cannabis, preparations are already underway for the most celebratory 4/20 ever in Denver.

Marijuana businesses in the Mile High City are working hard to get ready for the big crowds of people wanting to get high on April 20, reports KDVR.

With more than 125,000 revelers anticipated, this year's celebration could bring in a record number of tourists, according to local business owners. Savvy merchants have now extended the celebration, declaring April 15-21 "World Cannabis Week."

Love's Bakery in Denver is turning out double the usual amount of marijuana candies, compared to last year. Many dispensaries are working around the clock to stock up with triple their normal inventories.

Educational efforts are greater than ever before, as well; officials want people to use cannabis responsibly, especially when it comes to how much they consume in edible form.

US: Justice Clarence Thomas Enraged Over Supreme Court Rejection Of Marijuana Lawsuit

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

On Monday, the US Supreme Court rejected an effort by Oklahoma and Nebraska to have Colorado's legalization of marijuana declared unconstitutional.

The majority of justices did not explain their rationale for rejecting the case.

Justice Clarence Thomas was not one of those. In a dissent, he said Article III of the constitution is unambiguous in saying the Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction over "controversies" between the states and that the majority's decision left the parties without a legal forum to deal with their case.

The case revolves about Colorado's 2012 adoption of an amendment to its constitution to "legalize, regulate and facilitate the recreational use of marijuana," according to Thomas's dissent.

"Amendment 64 exempts from Colorado's criminal prohibitions certain uses of marijuana. ... directs the Colorado Department of Revenue to promulgate licensing procedures for marijuana establishments. ... and requires the Colorado General Assembly to enact an excise tax for sales of marijuana from cultivation facilities to manufacturing facilities and retail stores," Thomas writes.

U.S.: Company Offers BernOneDown.com Website Domain For $150K

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The website domain name BernOneDown.com is on the market for sale, a Denver-based company announced on Friday. The asking price is $150,000.

Todd Mitchem Companies announced it is selling off that domain and several more of their cannabis related domain names such as MainStreamCannabis.com, VapeAndVinyasa.com, and PeopleAgainstTrump.com.

Todd Mitchem, CEO of TMC, believes the BernOneDown domain will be one of the company's biggest hits yet.

"We all sat around and just realized it was time," Mitchem said. "We have been storing many domains for a long time and with Bernie's latest successes and the fact that he moves to Northern states with a path to the nomination, we knew now was the time to sell this domain to a team that will want to do something amazing and special with it."

Mitchem's team, which developed such brands as High There!, CannaSearch, Mindful, and IONvape.com (clean vape technology for the e-cig industry), believes the BernOneDown.com domain will go fast, and they believe it will resonate with people.

"Cannabis is going mainstream and Bernie's view on legalization is proof that it is time to offer his supporters a great domain to utilize," Mitchem said.

To find out more about this domain, visit www.BernOneDown.com.

Colorado: State Recalls Pesticide-Tainted Marijuana

Colorado state marijuana regulators recall pesticide-tainted marijuana

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Colorado state marijuana regulators issued a recall Thursday for a large amount of retail cannabis grown and allegedly treated with unapproved pesticides. The plants were grown in Denver by MGI Inc., whose facilities operate under the name Kindman.

The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division issued the recall, which the state calls a public health and safety advisory.

Regulators said an investigation by the state Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of imidacloprid, an insecticide used world-wide but not approved for use on marijuana.

MGI owner Ryan Fox is challenging the recall, and said his company "absolutely has not used this pesticide in production," and is challenging the recall.

"We are contesting these findings and are attempting to have the hold released," he said in a statement. "We believe the test process is faulty and that the Colorado Department of Agriculture has potentially cross-contaminated our samples during testing."

Stave Bornmann, director of CDA's Inspection and Consumer Services Division, said the state lab is an "accredited facility" and that it "adheres to stringent sample and quality control standards."

Colorado attorney Rachel Gillette said the marijuana industry has concerns about the state's pesticide tests.

"We're getting conflicting results from this state-certified lab ... and the licensee has no way to verify the results," she said.

The state does not disclose information on how large the recall is or exactly how many plants and products are infected.

Colorado: Denver Police Raid Illegal Marijuana Grow Sites

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Denver police and federal agents raided multiple illegal grow sites Tuesday morning following a two-year investigation.

The police met no resistance at any of the locations and no arrests were made, said Denver police Cmdr. Marcus Fountain. He would not say how many sites were raided or how much marijuana was confiscated.

Fountain said the investigation is ongoing. "It's likely to go on for several more months," he said. "It's that complicated."

The sites were located across the city, some in residential areas. No connections have been made to gangs or cartels.

Colorado residents 21 years of age and older are allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants, with no more than three mature plants at a time.

Denver has an ordinance that limits the number of plants to 12 per household, regardless of the number of adults living there.

Colorado: Feds, Local Cops Raid Suspected Illegal Marijuana Grows

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

This isn't quite how we pictured legalization. Denver police and federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents on Tuesday morning raided multiple unlicensed marijuana grows as part of a two-year investigation.

There have been no arrests, and police faced no resistance at any of the locations where officers executed search warrants, said Denver Police Commander Marcus Fountain, reports Noelle Phillips at The Denver Post.

Police wouldn't say how many sites were raided, and wouldn't quantify the amount of cannabis seized (I don't know, maybe they haven't figured out how much they're stealing yet).

The grow sites were across the Denver area, including residential areas, according to Fountain, who said the investigation continues.

Law enforcement has identified no connections to any gangs or cartels, according to Fountain. Police have more interviews to perform, and more locations to investigate, he said.

"It's likely to go on for several more months," Fountain said. "It's that complicated."

Police claim "it's possible" that "some of the operators" may be shipping weed out of state, reports the Associated Press. Well, lots of things are possible, but that doesn't mean we need to base police raids of them.

Colorado: Man Arrested For Driving Under Inluence Of Pot Acquitted

A Colorado man was acquitted for pot DUI.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A Lakewood, CO man arrested and charged with DUI for driving under the influence of marijuana was acquitted of charges Friday, CBS Denver reported.

Ralph Banks, 27, had well over the legal limit of tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) in his system. His attorney, Rob Corry, argued that his client was perfectly of driving. “It’s not like alcohol,” said Corry. “Marijuana is different. The standards are not one-size-fits-all.”

Banks was pulled over by a Lakewood police officer in March 2015 for driving with a headlight out.After conducting a voluntary roadside test, the officer suspected Banks was under the influence of marijuana. He was arrested and charged with DUI.

“It was a nightmare,” said Banks. “It was the worst experience of my life.”

The blood test determined the THC level in his blood was 7.9 nanograms per milliliter. The legal limit to drive is five nanograms per milliliter.

After a full-day trial with multiple witnesses including law enforcement officers, the jury found Banks not guilty.

“He’s a responsible consumer. And I’m just glad that a jury of his peers in Jefferson County agreed that he was being responsible and agreed that he was not impaired, even to the slightest degree,” said Corry.

Washington, DC: Supreme Court May Rule On Colorado Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The US Supreme Court were scheduled to meet today to discuss the case brought against Colorado by Nebraska and Oklahoma over marijuana legalization.

The justices' first determination is whether or not to even consider the case. The lawsuit requests that the Supreme Court overturn Colorado's legal marijuana program.

Their decision is expected early next week. Sam Kamin, a University of Denver professor who specializes in marijuana law, said the justices may not have even gotten around to discussing the case Friday. The case has previously been pushed back twice at conferences.

"We just don't know what's going on behind the scenes," Kamin said.

In the lawsuit, two of Colorado's neighboring states ask the Supreme Court to overturn the state's legal marijuana industry, saying that state-authorized legalization conflicts with federal law, and that marijuana coming across Colorado borders has created a burden.

Colorado officials defended the legality of their marijuana industry, while the Obama administration urged the Supreme Court to not take the case.

Kamin implied that the death of Justice Antonin Scalia could impact the case. Scalia seemed to support the argument in a speech he made in Boulder a couple months before the suit was filed.

"[T]he Constitution contains something called the Supremacy Clause," he said about marijuana, referencing the provision that says federal law tops state law when the two are in direct conflict.

Colorado: Denver NORML Files Measure To Permit Social Cannabis Clubs

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Denver Chapter of the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws (Denver NORML) filed a municipal initiative in Denver this week to okay the establishment of private, licensed marijuana clubs within the city.

"Denver residents and visitors alike need places other than private homes to legally and responsibly enjoy legal marijuana with other adults," said Jordan Person, executive director of Denver NORML.

Advocates will need less than 5,000 signatures to place the measure on this November's ballot.

The measure, if passed, would permit social events and licensed establishments to allow for the consumption of cannabis by adults 21 and over. Authorized facilities would not be allowed to sell or dispense marijuana; patrons will have to bring their own.

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