Members of a task force proposing regulations for recreational marijuana in Colorado approved recommendations Tuesday that would allow for marijuana tourism but block out-of-state pot shop owners.
The Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force voted to allow people from outside of Colorado to shop in forthcoming retail marijuana stores, though the amount they could purchase at any one store would be limited.
The surge of medical marijuana use in Colorado has started another debate in the state Legislature: What constitutes driving while high?
Lawmakers are considering setting a DUI blood-content threshold for marijuana that would make Colorado one of three states with such a provision in statute - and one of the most liberal, according to Rep. Claire Levy, one of the bill's sponsors.
Under the proposal, drivers who test positive for 5 nanograms or more of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, would be considered too impaired to drive if the substance is present in their blood at the time they're pulled over or within two hours.
Levy, a Democrat from Boulder, said she's gotten resistance from medical marijuana advocates who fear it will restrict patients from using the drug.
"What I've tried to assure the patient advocates is that we're not talking about sobriety checkpoints, we're not talking about dragnets and massive stops," she said. "They're not going to be stopped if they're driving appropriately."
While it's already illegal to drive while impaired by drugs, states have taken different approaches to the issue. Twelve states, including Arizona, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and Rhode Island, have a zero-tolerance policy for driving with any presence of an illegal substance, said Anne Teigen, policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minnesota has the same policy but exempts marijuana.
Chris Bartkowicz is a state licensed medical marijuana care-giver that was raided and arrested on the order of a Denver area DEA agent after accepting an invitation by 9NEWS to do an interview about being a Colorado medical marijuana care-giver.
A Colorado pot grower trying a first-in-the-nation drug defense based on Obama administration memos about marijuana saw his case take a serious blow Wednesday when a federal judge felled the effort.
Christopher Bartkowicz wanted to argue he shouldn't face federal marijuana cultivation charges because he started his basement pot-growing business after seeing memos from Department of Justice officials indicating the U.S. government wouldn't pursue pot cases in states that allow medical marijuana.
But U.S. District Judge Philip A. Brimmer sided with federal prosecutors who argued the memos aren't the same as making marijuana legal under federal law.
A version of Amsterdam's “Cannabis Cup” is coming to Aspen, in which medical marijuana growers, providers, patients and others in the industry will convene over one weekend in April.
The First Annual Western Slope Cannabis Crown, organized by Glenwood Springs resident Bobby Scurlock and the owners of High Country Caregivers, will be held April 17-18 at The Gant.
The conference is open to the public and will include speakers, live music, information booths, and most notably, a competition among providers that showcases their best strains. Growers and providers will vie for the “cannabis crown.”
Scurlock said he hopes to draw about 50 dispensaries from around Colorado and their strains will be tested by Denver-based Full Spectrum Laboratories. The marijuana strains will be diagnostically tested for their THC levels and how it matches up with patients' ailments.
There also will be a “people's choice” award for those who are on the state registry for medical marijuana and have received a “golden ticket” from one of the organizers. The people's choice will narrow down the field for the crown but the ultimate winner will be based on the diagnostic test, Scurlock said.
The woman gracing Kush Colorado's centerfold is long-limbed and lovely, but the new magazine's real star is the marijuana plant she clutches to her breast.
Billed as the "premier cannabis lifestyle magazine," the slick glossy debuted in Colorado last month, one more sign of galloping growth in the state's medical-marijuana business.
The city of Denver has more than 300 medical-marijuana dispensaries, the highest number in the nation outside California.
The pace of growth in the industry prompted the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws to recently name Denver "America's cannabis capital." While Los Angeles has more than 1,000 dispensaries, Denver outstrips the City of Angels on a per-capita basis, with more storefronts selling pot than Starbucks shops peddling coffee.
The Denver City Council will hold the Final Hearing and Public Comment on
Council Bill 34: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Regulation.
The most onerous and burdensome provisions of the ordinance still remain in
the final draft, and many are blatantly unconstitutional This ordinance
will restrict a patient’s Constitutional right to have safe access to their
medicine and to decide who may be their caregiver. The ordinance allows
searches without warrant or even probable cause, in violation of the Fourth
Amendment. The ex post facto nature of the law (making previous legal
activities illegal) undermines the Constitution from yet another angle.
Anne Gamet poses with her pipe filled with marijuana at her Greeley home. She is undergoing chemotherapy to fight cancer and uses the drug legally after receiving her medical marijuana certificate from the state this year. Credit: Eric Bellamy
Anne Gamet doesn't know how much longer she has to live, but all that matters to the 45-year-old Greeley woman is she's living, and she's going to keep fighting as long as she can.
She has a lot to live for — her 28-year marriage to Charlie, her 27-year-old daughter Miranda, and her son 24-year-old Cody, who will not come second to any stares, stigmas or attitudes people may have when they find out how she gets out of bed each morning and how she falls asleep each night.
Because for Gamet, if it wasn't for the legalization of medical marijuana in Colorado, she wouldn't be living at all.
“When I first decided to do this, I told my husband I'm not going to do pictures,” she said of telling her story about what the medicine has done for her. “But then when I thought about it, I thought, ‘If I expect to put a new face on this thing, I sure as the heck can't hide my face.' ”
Gamet lives every day of her life thankful for the little pipe that sits on her living room table and the marijuana she legally buys to put into it.
I well remember the citywide excitement the first time “cannabis clubs” suddenly opened up throughout Hollywood where I was eking out a living as a lowly screenwriter and journalist. Then, just as suddenly, the marijuana dispensaries vanished.
Though California’s populace roundly supported the sale of medical marijuana to needy patients, the trouble—in the eyes of the federal government—ran the gamut from organized crime to allegations that nonprofit dispensaries were secretly earning money for themselves. It became a matter of the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution (“Leave everything else to the states, please”) versus the 14th (“Sorry, folks, you’re American citizens first and foremost, and that means we’re in charge”).
Colorado voters approved medical marijuana in 2000, but a storm of municipal concern and debate started only recently—more specifically, after President Obama announced he would stop raids on medical marijuana businesses—when pot shops sprouted up in numerous Colorado cities, including Boulder, Longmont and Fort Collins. Numerous cities have responded with moratoriums, giving themselves time to regulate dispensaries. While cities are still struggling (and will continue to struggle) with how to regulate the onslaught of medical marijuana dispensaries, it’s expected to be an issue at the state level as well.
Denver has more marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks, public schools or liquor stores, city and corporate records show.
The Denver City Council has moved to regulate the medical marijuana industry and where dispensaries may locate, which has created an increase in sales-tax license applications. The city, as of last week, had issued more than 300 sales-tax licenses for marijuana dispensaries, The Denver Post reported Sunday.
Already Four States Have Marijuana Legalization Bills In Play; Californians To Vote On Legalization in 2010
It can readily be said that 2009 was one of the busiest and most productive years in cannabis law reform since NORML’s founding in 1970. However, it appears as if 2010 is going to be an even busier year–notably marked by the increasing number of actual state legalization bills and a voter initiative in America’s most important state.
Currently, there is legalization legislation pending in California, Massachusetts, Vermont, and a legalization bill was just introduced this week in Washington. Frankly, most of these bills do not have a strong prospect in passing this time out, however the immense public discussion that is generated is crucial for overall reform efforts.
The formula is simple: No public discussion or debate about legalization, obviously equates to no substantive law reforms. This is what regrettably happened in the United States, Canada and Europe from 1980-2000, buttressed by extreme federal anti-marijuanism in the form of the DARE program in the public school, the blitzkrieg of Partnership for a Drug-Free America ads polluting media airwaves and omnibus federal crime bills overloaded with severe and costly penalties (i.e., mandatory minimum sentencing, civil forfeiture, mass drug testing, etc…). However, since the turn of the century, there have been ever-increasing public discussions and debates about marijuana prohibition–principally driven by the creation and implementation of medical cannabis laws in thirteen states–which is leading to greater public support for reform.
A new restaurant on Broadway in downtown Denver claims it is the first of its kind... anywhere. Ganja Gourmet serves food items laced with marijuana. And not just brownies. This place has all kinds of different dishes made with pot sprinkled in.
When voters legalized medical marijuana in Colorado in 2008, it's not certain if this is exactly what they had in mind.
Ganja Gourmet claims to be the first of it's kind, serving up more than just brownies. Dishes include lasagna, gourmet pizza, jambalaya, paella, even chocolate mousse and cheesecakes.