Tag Archives: colorado

420 bringing massive marijuana party to Denver for nation’s largest public light up

420 means big money: $1.1 billion in pot sales expected

Author: Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY

Published: 2:01 PM EDT

DENVER — Marijuana stores across the country are expected to sell more than $1 billion worth of cannabis as pot enthusiasts celebrate the annual “420” holiday by lighting up in public across America.

April 20 has long been a day filled with civil disobedience by marijuana users, who gather in public to light up at 4:20 p.m. The phrase “420” is a code for marijuana users, who work it into dating profiles or post it on signs to show their shared interest.

While it used to be a celebration held with a certain level of furtiveness, the rapidly expanding legalization of cannabis means more and more Americans no longer face significant, if any, punishment for smoking pot.

More: Pot lore: The true story of 420, a marijuana tradition, told by the stoners who invented it

“It’s holiday season for cannabis retailers right now,” said Ryan Smith, the CEO of cannabis sales platform LeafLink. “Last year was the biggest day ever. This year will be the biggest day ever. And next year will be even bigger than this year.”

Tens of thousands of people are expected to gather in Denver for what’s considered the world’s largest 420 celebration, filling hotel rooms and packing restaurants during what would otherwise be a quiet time of the year. In advance of the actual event, dozens of companies are offering tours and arranging visits to commercial growing operations, aimed at tourists who fly in to partake in state-legal weed.

Denver’s Mile High 420 Festival this year features performances by Lil Wayne and Lil Jon, along with dozens of food trucks.

“To us, this is a cultural celebration for a year in a life of cannabis,” said Kyle Speidell, the CEO of The Green Solution, a chain of 16 marijuana stores in Colorado. “It gives everybody the opportunity to unify at a time when we’re really ostracized as an industry.”

Speidell’s stores are sponsoring a separate cannabis festival in Denver over the 420 holiday. Called 420 on the Block, it’s a three-day music-centered festival featuring Action Bronson and Matisyahu that expects to draw up to 15,000 people.

Every year, April 20 is the single-biggest sales day, and the days leading up to it are a combination of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Black Friday rolled into one. Since Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in January 2014, participation has risen nationally. Now, nine states and the District of Columbia permit recreational marijuana use, and 30 states permit some form of medical use.

LeafLink predicts retailers will sell about $1.17 billion worth of cannabis products for this year’s 420 celebrations, and sales are common. In Denver, Terrapin Care Station, for instance, is offering 1 gram joints for just $5— half off the usual price.

LeafLink’s analysis also shows a consistent shift away from loose “flower” marijuana and into branded products. When marijuana stores first opened, buyers flocked to purchase pieces of marijuana flowers, which they smoke. But there’s been a significant shift toward pre-packaged joints and, particularly, branded marijuana-infused foods like chocolate or candy.

A large reason for the shift toward products known as “edibles” has been driven by laws banning public marijuana consumption, although those are widely ignored during Denver’s 420 celebration at Civic Center Park, when the mass light up leaves a heavy cloud of pot smoke hanging over the crowd. Edibles are also far easier to travel with, especially for cannabis tourists willing to risk smuggling them back home.

At My 420 Tours in Denver, most slots for the company’s upcoming party bus trips are already sold out for the end of the week even through they’ve tripled the number of offerings, said company spokeswoman Cynthia Ord. Tour participants first visit a dispensary to buy marijuana, and then consume it on the bus before visiting grow houses.

“People are both wide-eyed and bleary-eyed at the same time,” she said with a laugh. “It can get pretty emotional for people.”

Ord said about 90% of the company’s customers are out-of-state tourists, largely from Texas and other southern states. The company also offers 420-friendly hotel rooms for people visiting during the celebration, but all 70 are sold out, she said. She said the company hasn’t seen much of a change since California began legal sales on Jan. 1.

“Business is as strong as ever,” Ord added.

The service Weedmaps, a Yelp for marijuana stores, sees its traffic triple on April 20 each year, with peak time coming from 8-10 a.m. as users “wake and bake,” according to the company. Search traffic normally peaks in the evening, she said.

The Colorado State Patrol is planning enhanced patrols around the 420 events; troopers have written more than 3,000 marijuana-related driving citations since 2014, the agency said.

Mason Tvert, who led Colorado’s legalization initiative, said marijuana consumers are no different than drinkers who can attend beer festivals and wine tastings: “Adults are able to go out and openly consume alcohol all the time, but 4/20 is the one day of the year that many feel comfortable being open about their cannabis use.”

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Wayward Bill attends the 2017 Cannabis Business Awards, Alexis Bortell wins “Most Influential” 2017!

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The Cannabis Business Awards 2017 Presented by Chloe Villano and Clover Leaf

There were many valuable and appreciated Activists who were represented at the Cannabis Business Awards in Denver, Colorado last night.

The Cannabis Business Awards features industry power players including CEO and Founder Chloe Villano, an entrepreneur featured in People Magazine’s “Marijuana Millionaires.” As one of the first and most sought-after consultants in the industry, Villano was the first executive to receive full accredited approval from the Department of Higher Education for her cannabis school Clover Leaf University. LINK

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Undoubtedly the Star of the show was Alexis Bortell, who won “Most Influential Individual” for 2017.  Alexis is suing General Jeff Sessions “not for money but for freedom”!  You can view the video of her acceptance at this LINK.

alexis bortell 12.7.17

The suit aims to prove that the Controlled Substances Act, the statute governing federal drug policy, is unconstitutional as it relates to marijuana, according to Alexis’ attorney, Michael S. Hiller.   LINK

In 2016 Wayward Bill won the Lifetime Achievement Award and has attended and participated in each yearly event since it began in 2012.  The following pictures he gathered while attending last nights ceremony.

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GOOGLE SEARCH FOR ALEXIS BORTELL HERE

FOLLOW CHLOE VILLANO ON FACEBOOK FOR UPDATED INFORMATION!

Colorado girl suing U.S. attorney general to legalize medical marijuana nationwide

Posted 9:24 pm, November 9, 2017, by Rob Low,

LARKSPUR, Colo. — Alexis Bortell is hardly the first child whose family moved to Colorado for access to medical marijuana.

But the 12-year-old is the first Colorado kid to sue U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions over the nation’s official marijuana policy.

“As the seizures got worse, we had to move to Colorado to get cannabis because it’s illegal in Texas,” said Bortell, who was diagnosed with epilepsy as a young child.

The sixth-grader said traditional medicine wasn’t helping her seizures and doctors in her home state were recommending invasive brain surgery.

But a pediatrician did mention an out-of-state option: Medical marijuana.

Shortly after moving to Larkspur, Bortell’s family began using a strain of cannabis oil called Haleigh’s Hope.

A drop of liquid THC in the morning and at night has kept her seizure-free for 2 1/2 years.

“I’d say it`s a lot better than brain surgery,” Bortell said.

But Bortell said the federal prohibition on marijuana prevents her from returning to Texas.

“I would like to be able to visit my grandparents without risking being taken to a foster home,” Bortell said on why she’s joined a lawsuit that seeks to legalize medical marijuana on the federal level.

Haleigh’s Hope.

Since the 1970s the Drug Enforcement Agency has classified marijuana as a Schedule One drug, which in the eyes of federal policy makes marijuana more dangerous than meth or cocaine and on par with heroin.

“How is that rationale? It’s not compassionate either, but rationality? It’s just outrageous,” said Alexis’ dad Dean Bortell.

He showed his backyard fields, where he grows five acres of marijuana plants used to derive the medicine that helps his daughter and patients he’s never met.

“When you look at it from a distance and you see it saving their lives, me as a father and an American, I go, what are we doing? How could you possibly look at someone who`s benefiting from this as a medicine and threaten to take it away?” Bortell said.

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana.

Alexis’ New York attorney Michael Hiller argues it should be legal nationwide.

“As it pertains to cannabis, the (Controlled Substances Act) is irrational and thus unconstitutional,” said Heller, who added the U.S. government “made a representation that cannabis has medical application for the treatments of Parkinson`s Disease, HIV-induced dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and yet at the same time the United States government maintains that there is absolutely no medical benefit for the use of cannabis. That is of course absurd.”

Denver attorney Adam Foster represents marijuana businesses.

He said he thought the lawsuit was clever but admitted its success might be a long shot.

“Whenever you sue the government, the deck is really stacked against you,” Foster said.

But he added the federal government might have a hard time arguing medical marijuana has no known medical benefits.

“We now live in an era where 62 percent of Americans live in a state where the medical use of cannabis is legal at the state level,” he said.

Alexis Bortell said she hopes her lawsuit will normalize medical marijuana but also legalize it.

“We’ll be able to be treated like what you call ‘normal’ families,” she said.

Bortell is joined in the lawsuit by another child, a military veteran, a marijuana advocacy group and former Broncos player Marvin Washington, who played on the 1998 Super Bowl-winning team.

The federal government has already lost its first motion to have the case dismissed.

CONTINUE READING AND TO VIDEO!

a renewed bid by Oklahoma, Nebraska and others to stamp out Colorado’s recreational cannabis sales…

Bid to take down Colorado marijuana laws revived in court

Amid uncertainty about the future of federal enforcement, a renewed bid by Oklahoma, Nebraska and others to stamp out Colorado’s recreational cannabis sales
  • Published: Jan 17, 2017, 5:42 am

By Alicia Wallace, The Cannabist Staff

Federal appeals court judges on Tuesday reviewed the reach of racketeering laws, chewed over case law and opined over olfactory issues in a case that threatens to stamp out Colorado’s recreational marijuana industry.

A three-judge panel for the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver took oral arguments in a consolidated case that claims Colorado’s recreational cannabis laws fly in the face of federal controlled substances and racketeering laws.

The states of Nebraska and Oklahoma joined the dispute after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear their case. The appeals also included a lawsuit from county sheriffs and another from a Pueblo horse ranch. The plaintiffs’ challenges were among several raised in and after 2014, when Colorado’s first-of-its-kind foray into regulated sales of cannabis didn’t sit well with all, especially neighboring states concerned about federally illicit substances spilling over their borders. Those complaints and the Nebraska-Oklahoma suit were eventually struck down.

On Tuesday morning, in a crowded, small, upstairs courtroom at the Byron White U.S. Courthouse in downtown Denver, attorneys and judges reviewed the reach of RICO and other federal acts and the impacts of marijuana cultivation on nearby properties.

“I went into the courtroom thinking that this was a slam dunk,” Matthew W. Buck, an attorney representing a half-dozen marijuana businesses named in the suits, said in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “And I came out of it thinking that it would be more of a toss-up.”

Buck said his confidence about the outcome waned after judges appeared to align with plaintiffs’ arguments that the wafting smell of federally illegal marijuana from the Pueblo cultivation facility to neighboring properties such as the horse ranch damaged property values. The impact of the greenhouse construction on sight lines from the property also was cited.

“(If this case were remanded to district court), it would effectively open the floodgates for every single dispensary and every single cultivation facility to be sued under federal court for RICO,” Buck said.

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, oft-used in the implication of crime families and fraudulent financiers, also allows for private individuals to sue “racketeers” who allegedly damaged a business or property — in this case, property values. With RICO at the heart of its complaint, the entity backing the Pueblo County horse ranch also argued that the federal prohibition of marijuana overrides state law.

“Colorado is authorizing violation of the (U.S. Controlled Substances Act) through this licensing regime,” Brian W. Barnes, an attorney for plaintiff Safe Streets Alliance, told the judges Tuesday. Safe Streets, a Washington, D.C.-based anti-drug and anti-crime organization, took up the cause of the southern Colorado horse ranchers.


Get caught up on Colorado’s pot lawsuits

In-depth analysis: Who exactly is behind the lawsuits over Colorado’s legal marijuana? Primarily out-of-state interests with deep pockets

Pot pesticides lawsuit tossed: Denver judge says consumers who sued weren’t actually harmed from smoking pot they say was treated with pesticides

Fewer targets: Federal judge removes the governor and other state and Pueblo County officials as defendants in a high-profile marijuana racketeering lawsuit based in southern Colorado

Nebraska-Oklahoma lawsuit: Previous articles about the landmark lawsuit filed by neighboring states over Colorado’s marijuana legalization

More on the RICO suits: Colorado residents suing to halt recreational marijuana sales

RICO suits: Coverage of cases trying to halt Colorado’s recreational marijuana sales by using a federal law against organized crime

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Asked by Judge Harris J. Hartz as to whether a change in enforcement policy on the federal level, perhaps from a new U.S. attorney general, would solve his concerns, Barnes said he would welcome such a change but added it would be a “bank-shot” enforcement action against a third party and would not get at the heart of the state laws that stand in opposition to federal laws.

Hartz later questioned Barnes on the need for more enforcement beyond the mechanisms already in place through federal law or actions such as the 2013 Cole Memo that set guidelines for federal prosecutors in states with legalized marijuana. State laws regulating the sale of marijuana, Hartz noted, could in effect be a means of enforcement.

“How do you decide where to draw the line of authorizing and limiting pot and encouraging it?” Hartz asked.

Matthew Grove, assistant attorney general for the state of Colorado, said his state’s regulations are not preempted by federal law.

A decision from the 10th Circuit panel could take months, case attorneys and legal experts say.

In that time, the current landscape of the U.S. marijuana industry could see a drastic shift. More states may finalize or decide to pursue legalization measures, and a new presidential administration may shake up the “hands-off” status quo in enforcement.

“When the Obama administration did not push back (on legal states), this litigation was sort of the last chance for people opposed to this,” said Sam Kamin, a professor of marijuana law and policy at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law. “Now they can move back to the policy realm and attempt to do so through federal law enforcement.”

If the appeals court judges shoot down the appeal, Kamin said he believes a push to the U.S. Supreme Court would be unlikely.

“That likely will be the end of these legal challenges for the foreseeable future,” he said.

The states’ anti-legalization effort stretches back to December 2014, nearly one year into Colorado recreational marijuana sales.

The states argued that they had to shell out more money because of a spike in marijuana arrests, vehicle impoundments, drug seizures and prisoner transfers.

“This contraband has been heavily trafficked into our state,” Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said at the time, according to a report in the Omaha World-Herald. “While Colorado reaps millions from the production and sale of pot, Nebraska taxpayers have to bear the cost.”

In the months that followed, Colorado’s marijuana laws were the target of several other suits, including disputes by county sheriffs, Pueblo County horse ranchers and a hotel owner in the mountain town of Frisco.

The cases involving the Pueblo horse ranchers and the county sheriffs advanced to appelate court; the suit by the hotel owner was dismissed after a settlement.

CONTINUE READING…

Health care refugees: Medical marijuana and new hope

By Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent
Video produced by John Bonifield, CNN

Updated 12:16 PM ET, Mon November 28, 2016

Paramedics transport Abby Muszynski to the air ambulance that will fly her from Florida to Colorado.

 

This is the second part of a series on health care refugees. Read the first part here.

(CNN)Rich and Kim Muszynski know when their 5-year-old daughter, Abby, is about to have a grand mal seizure because her pupils enlarge, and she’ll seem to fixate at something in the distance that only she can see.

Then it starts. Abby’s extremities shake. She gasps for air.

By the time she turned 3, Abby had tried about eight different anti-seizure medications. None of them worked very well. Panicked to see their daughter getting worse and worse, the Muszynskis drove three hours to Orlando to see Dr. Ngoc Minh Le, a board certified pediatric neurologist and epileptologist.

Le told them that chances of another anti-seizure drug working on Abby were tiny. He recommended medical marijuana. The timing was right: Just months before, Gov. Rick Scott had legalized the use of a type of non-euphoric cannabis called Charlotte’s Web.

The formulation had been a miracle for a little girl with epilepsy named Charlotte Figi. The Muszynskis had seen her story on Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s CNN documentary “Weed.”

Charlotte’s Web did help Abby, but not as much as it had helped Charlotte. She still was having about two grand mal seizures a week, each lasting about eight to 10 minutes.

Le explained to Kim and Rich that Charlotte’s Web has only tiny amounts of THC, one of the psychoactive ingredients in marijuana. Medical marijuana with higher levels of THC was Abby’s best hope, he told them.

But at this point, in 2015, high-THC marijuana wasn’t legal in Florida for Abby. To get it, the Muszynskis would have to move, leaving behind their friends and family, including two older children.

    Kim thought about Colorado, where Charlotte Figi lived. She’d checked with parents of disabled children there, and they told her the state had a fair and efficient Medicaid program.

    Getting to Colorado would be a challenge: Abby’s doctors said it wasn’t safe for her to fly on a commercial plane or to take a long car ride across the country.

    The Muszynskis began their final fight with Florida Medicaid — one that would leave Kim and Abby homeless for several days.

    Kim says that in mid-August, she started talking to Medicaid officials about getting an air ambulance to Colorado. On September 19, Rich drove the family car out to Colorado. They planned for Kim to attend the closing on their house in Boynton Beach on September 23 and leave on the air ambulance with Abby that afternoon.

    Kim had emailed and spoken with various Florida officials, and it seemed to her that everything was in order. “Please give a call today so we can finalize travel arrangements!” Mary Joyce, a senior registered nurse supervisor at Children’s Medical Services at the Florida Department of Health, wrote in an email to Kim on September 20.

    But then several days passed, and there was still no final approval for the transport.

    Their house sold, Kim and Abby were homeless. They moved in with Kim’s best friend and her husband. All of Abby’s equipment, like her bed with guardrails, was with Rich on their way to Colorado. Kim slept with Abby on the floor.

    Abby’s cries at night kept Kim’s friends awake. Kim wrote emails begging Florida officials for help. But for the first time, she added someone not previously included on the email: this CNN reporter.

    Three days later, she learned that the transport had been approved.

      A spokeswoman for Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration gave this statement:

      In this case relocation services are not covered by Medicaid, per federal Medicaid guidelines. However, thanks to Safety Net funds made available by Governor Scott and the Legislature, the state supported this family by covering the costs to provide relocation services via the air ambulance of the mother’s choice. Working with the family, the state arranged transport as quickly as possible,” wrote the spokeswoman, Mallory McManus.

      CONTINUE READING STORY HERE!

      Denver to become first U.S. city to legalize social marijuana use

      A man waves a Colorado flag with a marijuana leaf on it at Denver's annual 4/20 marijuana rally in front of the state capitol building in downtown Denver April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

      A measure that would make Denver the first city in the United States to legalize the use of marijuana in such venues as clubs, bars and restaurants is expected to get enough votes to pass, backers and opponents of the initiative said on Tuesday.

      The announcement comes amid a string of victories for proponents of medical and recreational marijuana use, with voters in California and Massachusetts approving ballot initiatives legalizing recreational use of the drug last week.

      The Colorado measure will permit private businesses to allow marijuana use by adults in designated areas with certain exceptions. Backers of the initiative said it would make Denver the first city in the country where cannabis enthusiasts can enjoy the drug socially without fear of arrest.

      “This is a victory for cannabis consumers who, like alcohol consumers, simply want the option to enjoy cannabis in social settings,” Kayvan Khalatbari, a Denver businessman and lead proponent of the so-called I-300 measure, said in a statement on Tuesday.

      While other states have authorized similar plans, Khalatbari said Denver would be the first to actually implement them. He said businesses in the city could start opening their doors to pot users as soon as late January.

      Approval for Denver’s initiative was leading in preliminary vote totals from last week’s election. While the city’s elections agency said they would not certify results until next Tuesday, campaigns that supported and opposed the measure both agreed it had passed.

      Rachel O’Bryan, the campaign manager for the opposition group Protect Denver’s Atmosphere, said by phone there did not appear to be enough outstanding ballots for the measure to fail.

      “Back in 2012, marijuana legalization passed with a strong majority in Denver … and now about four years later, I-300 passed with a much smaller margin. We think many voters voted in favor of marijuana legalization, but didn’t want to see marijuana everywhere,” she said.

      She said the bill’s opponents are concerned about public safety as well as issues of second-hand smoke indoors. O’Bryan said she hopes the city council and possibly the state’s Attorney General will closely examine the law to see if it runs afoul of provisions in state law barring public pot use.

      Recreational marijuana was first approved in 2012 by the states of Washington and Colorado, and later by voters in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia. California, Massachusetts and Nevada all approved recreational use after voting last Tuesday.

      (Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco, editing by G Crosse)

      CONTINUE READING…

      Lawmakers want to defund the DEA’s marijuana eradication program

      Is the DEA’s marijuana eradication program worth the $14 million to fund annually? Here’s a look at some numbers

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      Published: Oct 10, 2016, 6:33 am • Updated: about 5 hours ago Comments (1)

      By Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post

      In 2015, the Drug Enforcement Administration gave $20,000 to the state of New Hampshire to eradicate marijuana plants, according to federal documents. But the Granite State’s law enforcement agencies didn’t have much luck finding any weed to pull that year – their efforts uncovered a single outdoor grow site with a grand total of 27 plants.

      Do the math, and U.S. taxpayers paid $740.74 for each pot plant uprooted in New Hampshire that year.

      That’s an expensive weeding operation, but it could be worse. Utah received $73,000 in marijuana eradication funds, according to the federal documents, obtained by journalist Drew Atkins as part of a FOIA request. But agents failed to find a single pot plant to eradicate.

      The DEA’s $14 million marijuana eradication program has been the subject of a fair amount of criticism in recent years. Twelve members of Congress have pushed to eliminate the program and use the money instead to fund domestic-violence prevention and deficit-reduction programs.

      Its purpose is to “halt the spread of cannabis cultivation in the United States,” a mission that has become complicated as more states have legalized medical or recreational marijuana programs. Several more states have similar measures on the ballot this year.

      DEA records show the program has been effective in some states, most notably California. Agents pulled 2.6 million marijuana plants in 2015, seizing more than 1,600 weapons in the process. Nearly $5.4 million was funneled into that state’s program.

      Kentucky’s $1.9-million program had the next largest number of eradicated plants, more than 570,000.

      Nationwide, the DEA documents show that spending on the program has shrunk from about $18 million in 2014 to $14 million in the current fiscal year. Some states – including Alaska, Colorado and Vermont – stopped receiving eradication funds completely.

      California, where medical marijuana is legal, receives the lion’s share of marijuana eradication funds, in part because the “Emerald Triangle” region of Northern California. The area has long been home to many of the state’s legal and quasi-legal marijuana production operations, but law enforcement authorities have maintained that it also has been a haven for the grow operations of Mexican drug cartels.

      Kentucky also receives a large amount of money to eradicate marijuana. The state has a surprisingly rich culture of marijuana cultivation.

      Related: Meet Patrick Moen, the first-ever DEA official to defect to the marijuana industry

      Rounding out the top 5 marijuana eradication states are Tennessee, Georgia and, perhaps unexpectedly, Washington. The aptly nicknamed Evergreen State legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2012, and pot shops opened for business in 2014. So it may seem odd that the DEA is spending $760,000 this year to eradicate pot plants in the state.

      But Washington is the only recreational marijuana state that doesn’t allow people to grow their own plants for recreational use. (In District of Columbia, incidentally, the situation is reversed: Homegrows are okay, but you can’t buy weed at the store.)

      Washington also receives more marijuana eradication money than any other state with a recreational pot regime in place. Oregon received $200,000 this year, while Colorado and Alaska didn’t take any federal money for marijuana eradication.

      New Hampshire, Louisiana, Delaware, Utah and New Jersey all spent well over $100 for every marijuana plant eradicated. Eleven states spent at least $50 per plant, while nearly half of the states – 23 of them – spent at least $25 in federal money for each marijuana plant they eliminated.

      At the other end of the spectrum, states with big investments in marijuana eradication – like California and Kentucky – also had the most successful efforts to pull up large numbers of pot plants. So their per-plant costs are much lower.

      To be perfectly clear, even in a fully legal, highly regulated market like Colorado’s there will be a need to enforce prohibitions on large-scale, unlicensed marijuana grows – similar to the way the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms busts illegal home alcohol distilleries. Beyond that, authorities often make a number of arrests at cultivation sites, or seize weapons and other property from people suspected of involvement with marijuana grow operations.

      Still, some lawmakers are starting to question the need dedicated this level or resources to eliminating pot plants when so many states are relaxing their own restrictions.

      “It makes zero sense for the federal government to continue to spend taxpayer dollars on cannabis eradication at a time when states across the country are looking to legalize marijuana,” Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., told me earlier this year. “I will continue to fight against DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program in Congress and work to redirect these funds to worthwhile programs.”

      CONTINUE READING…

      ADVOCACY ALERT! (Colorado) WE’RE CHANGING THE CHILD WELFARE CODE!

      Teri Robnett

      21 hrs ·

      ADVOCACY ALERT! WE’RE CHANGING THE CHILD WELFARE CODE!

      I’m excited to announce the introduction of HB16-1385. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Singer and Sen. Linda Newell, updates and modernizes the language of the definition of “abuse” or “child abuse or neglect” in the “Colorado Children’s Code” to reflect the ways a child’s welfare can be threatened or harmed by adults through the use of or exposure to substances. It allows for prescription or recommendation of substances for medical purposes during pregnancy under the care and monitoring of a healthcare provider who is aware of the pregnancy. It is meant to give clear guidance as to appropriate child welfare intervention in families when substance use, possession, cultivation, manufacturing, or distribution is a factor. This does not change the criminal code.

      This is the most important and challenging piece of legislation I’ve worked on. In 2013 and 2014, we fought legislation that would have changed the Children’s Code, but in a way we were concerned could be poorly interpreted and put cannabis-consuming parents in further jeopardy. Many might remember the dramatic rally and hearing on April 9, 2014, when we defeated that bill.

      After 2 years of working together, starting with an educational campaign on keeping kids safe from substances called Smart Choices Safe Kids, we’ve finally managed to come to a place that both sides can support. http://smartchoicessafekids.org/

      We won’t be without opposition, however, so it’s important that we come ready with facts and show strong support.

      This bill will have its first hearing by the House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee on Tuesday, April 5, at 1:30pm in House Committee Room 0107. Mark your calendar and plan to be there to show your support!

      http://www.leg.state.co.us/…/8CBD4ED6CD3F82C587257F2400659B…

      http://statebillinfo.com/bills/bills/16/1385_01.pdf

      Editorial; Marijuana nullification?

      March 22, 2016

       

      The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up a challenge to Colorado’s voter-approved law legalizing recreational marijuana, but the legal question the case raises can’t be ignored indefinitely. The question is as old as the republic: How far can states go in substituting their own laws for those of the federal government? The issue of marijuana raises that question now. In the past it has been raised by the issues of tariffs, slavery and desegregation, and in the future it could come up in relation to anything from abortion to immigration.

      The states of Nebraska and Oklahoma asked the court to overturn Colorado’s four-year-old law, claiming that it imposed costs on their law-enforcement systems. The lawsuit described the emergence of a $100 million marijuana industry in a neighboring state, and argued that “If this entity were based south of our border, the federal government would prosecute it as a drug cartel.”

      Instead, the federal government has turned a nearsighted, if not quite blind, eye toward Colorado’s law, along with similar laws in Oregon, Alaska, Washington state and the District of Columbia. The federal government also has largely looked away from the more narrow laws in 22 states legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is categorized as a drug whose possession and use is prohibited under all circumstances.

      The federal classification of marijuana is foolish, destructive and should be changed — but it’s still the law, and like other laws, foolish or wise, it is meant to be obeyed. Yet the U.S. Justice Department has told prosecutors to ignore state legalization laws, as long as marijuana possession, use and sale remain within a set of guidelines. Federal authorities will step in, for instance, to prevent interstate commerce in marijuana, or to keep the drug out of the hands of children. Within those guidelines, just about anything goes, as Oregonians can see from the proliferation of pot products and retailers.

      The Justice Department’s permissive approach avoids a confrontation over the limits of state and federal authority. Such confrontations have occurred in the past. The friction goes back to the nation’s founding, when it was the states, not a federal government, that dissolved the colonies’ ties to the British crown and ratified the U.S. Constitution. In the early 19th century, advocates of state supremacy argued that states have the right to secede in response to what they perceived as federal overreach — a position that led to the Civil War. Figures ranging from John Calhoun to George Wallace have advanced variants of that idea, claiming that states have the power to nullify federal laws with which they disagree.

      Advocates of marijuana legalization have not argued for nullification. So far the Justice Department, and now the Supreme Court, have sidestepped the question of whether nullification has occurred. But marijuana legalization laws such as Oregon’s can’t be squared with the federal Controlled Substances Act, and as a practical matter, the state laws have been allowed to prevail. Someone, somewhere, is bound to point to this as establishing a precedent for states’ right to set aside other federal laws.

      If Oregon can legalize marijuana in defiance of federal law, why can’t other states make their own rules regarding health care, the environment or civil rights? It’s regrettable that the Supreme Court decided against hearing a case that raised such questions, because they are inherent in any state law legalizing marijuana — and, perhaps soon, in other state laws that openly conflict with federal law.

      CONTINUE READING…