Colorado House votes to bar cops from helping with federal marijuana crackdown

DENVER — Colorado may prohibit law enforcement officers from assisting in a potential federal marijuana crackdown.

The state House voted 56-7 Wednesday to bar public employees from assisting federal agents in “arresting a Colorado citizen for committing an act that is a Colorado constitutional right.”

The Colorado bill doesn’t specifically mention marijuana. But sponsors say it is inspired by threats that federal authorities may try cracking down on the marijuana industry. Federal…

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Colorado Supreme Court sides with Northglenn on local controls for marijuana licensing

Northglenn City Council—had the right to deny a medical marijuana license because the new dispensary was deemed superfluous, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The state’s highest court ruled that Northglenn’s code—language listing criteria such as “number, type, and availability” of existing medical marijuana centers when considering new applications was not “unconstitutionally vague.”

Read the rest of this story at The Cannabist.

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Denver marijuana shops get green light to stay open until 10 p.m.

Denver marijuana licensees on Monday received permission from the city to keep their stores open until 10 p.m. — a move the industry says will help it compete with businesses in some neighboring cities.

Stores that offer recreational or medical marijuana sales (or both) will get the option to adjust their hours beginning May 1. Denver has 218 storefronts, making up the lion’s share of stores in the metro area.

The City Council approved a change to the city’s allowed sales hours —…

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The Cannabist honored with journalism awards for health, business coverage

There are scores of stories to be told about the evolution of marijuana legalization in America, and cannabis journalism is receiving mainstream recognition.

The Cannabist’s Alicia Wallace, who covers national business and policy matters along with Colorado-based topics, has received multiple honors for her in-depth reporting in the past year. The Denver Post, which oversees The Cannabist, also picked up a number of awards for topical marijuana coverage.

Wallace, who worked on The Denver…

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Mayor Hancock: Denver to review 4/20 event that left Civic Center in “disrespectful state”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Monday ordered a city review into rampant fence-hopping, public pot-smoking and slow trash cleanup that left Civic Center in a “disrespectful state” during and after last week’s 4/20 celebration.

Delivering his most forceful critique of the annual event, Hancock said the city’s inquiry could yield penalties for organizers and affect how the event unfolds in future years.

“Our parks and public spaces are held in the public trust. … When you leave…

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Videos from Civic Center show park was left a mess overnight after 4/20 event

Videos recorded by city security cameras in Civic Center show that cleanup activities following the large 4/20 celebration late Thursday night left plenty of trash strewn about the park.

The clips, provided to The Denver Post by police in response to a public records request, show that organizers, volunteers and a hired cleanup crew didn’t make much headway after the pro-marijuana event ended around 8 p.m. and vendors cleared out of the park in the hours afterward.

In a few locations,…

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Denver cannabis church’s debut doesn’t go exactly as planned

A musky marijuana bouquet wafted into a south Denver neighborhood as 4:20 p.m. approached on 4/20.

The International Church of Cannabis, which claims marijuana as its primary sacrament, officially opened for services at 3 p.m. Thursday in a 113-year-old house of worship at 400 S. Logan St. in the West Washington Park neighborhood.

At 4:20 p.m., Elevation Ministries leader Steve Berke called on the approximately 70 congregants in the main sanctuary to join him in silence with their sacrament….

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Two arrested after gunfire near Denver’s 4/20 celebration; no one hurt

A brief gunfire incident occurred early Thursday evening near the annual 4/20 cannabis celebration in downtown Denver.

Police said nobody was hurt, and officers arrested two people soon after at least one shot rang out near 15th Street and Cleveland Place. It was unclear whether the incident was related to the 4/20 festival.

In all, five people were arrested at the Civic Center event and 20 people were written up with civil citations, police said.

Long lines, some over an hour, greeted…

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Colorado PTSD marijuana bill advances to House vote, gains amendments focused on children

Colorado doctors should be allowed to recommend medical marijuana in treating PTSD symptoms of adults, but there should be additional guardrails when it comes to children, state lawmakers decided Thursday.

An amended Senate Bill 17, which would add post-traumatic stress disorder to Colorado’s list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, passed a second reading Thursday in the state House.

“On this auspicious day, we’ve got a serious bill,” bill co-sponsor Sen. Jonathan Singer,…

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Colorado House rejects late attempt to bar pot use in churches

The Colorado House on Thursday rejected a last minute attempt to ban pot use in churches, an amendment that was introduced on the same day the controversial International Church of Cannabis opened in Denver.

Proposed by state Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, the amendment to a broader bill on pot use would have barred pot use in churches, while still allowing exceptions for religious purposes. Pabon argued it was needed to protect Colorado’s reputation, after the International Church of…

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Denver 4/20 in the Trump era: Marijuana celebration or political rally?

There was a time — before the vendor booths, before the concerts with famous headliners, before the documentary crews and before the cannabis tour groups — when 4/20 in Denver meant a simple protest rally.

Eleven years ago, only a couple thousand people gathered in Civic Center park for the annual marijuana smokeout in defiance of state and federal laws. The rally planned for Thursday could hardly look different — 250 vendor booths, tens of thousands expected to attend and the…

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How to score free and discounted Lyft and Uber rides during Denver 420 festivities

Rideshare apps Lyft and Uber want to make sure Coloradans celebrating 4/20 don’t drive high.

The respective rideshare juggernauts announced separate promotions to provide discounted and even free rides to and from festivities surrounding April 20, the unofficial annual marijuana holiday.

Related: Colorado marijuana DUIs down 33 percent from first three months of last year

Lyft will expand their existing “320 Movement” partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation to offer free…

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Marijuana DUIs drop 33 percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared with last year, but officials still concerned

The number of citations for driving while under the influence of marijuana dropped by 33.2 percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the same period last year, but the number of people using marijuana and then driving continues to be a concern for Colorado officials.

“We’re still troubled by the fact that marijuana users are still telling us they routinely drive high,” Colorado Department of Transportation spokesman Sam Cole said Monday. “We’re pleased with the…

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Colorado lawmakers pass measure allowing counties to levy, collect marijuana taxes

State lawmakers approved a bill Monday that would allow counties to levy and collect sales tax on recreational marijuana, a move inspired by a standoff between Adams County and three of its cities that could wind up in the state Supreme Court.

The measure, if signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper, would allow counties to impose a pot tax in unincorporated areas without challenge but would have to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with cities and towns to tax weed there.

Adams…

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Wanted: cannabis tracking system for billion dollar market

DENVER — Washington state regulators have begun accepting bids for a new seed-to-sale tracking system to keep tabs on marijuana commerce, a deal with an initial value of about $3 million.

The competition likely will be fierce, given that the contract involves one of the nation’s largest cannabis markets.

But businesses won’t be squaring off against the provider of the state’s current seed-to-sale system, BioTrackTHC. The company said it has no plans to bid for the new contract, saying it is…

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Jared Polis: Leave cannabis regulation to the states, President Trump

Editor’s note: The Denver Post opinion pages solicited commentary from various marijuana policy and industry leaders, as well as the public, for a special cannabis-themed edition of the Sunday Perspective section the weekend before 4/20. The Cannabist will be presenting these op-eds throughout the week.


It turns out we are more the rule than the exception here in Colorado: A majority of Americans now live in an area that allows legal access to recreational or medical marijuana. You only…

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Colorado ends plans for pot clubs over Trump uncertainty

By KRISTEN WYATT

DENVER (AP) — Colorado lawmakers on Thursday backed off plans to become the first U.S. state to regulate marijuana clubs, saying approval of Amsterdam-style pot clubs could invite a federal crackdown.

It was perhaps the starkest display yet of legal pot states’ uncertainty on how to regulate the drug under President Donald Trump. Alaska marijuana regulators recently delayed planned rules for on-site pot consumption at dispensaries.

Colorado’s measure, which would have…

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This new cannabis church pushes limits of Denver’s social-use pot law

A 113-year-old church in Denver has found a higher calling.

The International Church of Cannabis opens its doors on April 20, the unofficial annual marijuana holiday. The renovated church at 400 S. Logan St. is the headquarters of Elevation Ministries, a newly formed Colorado nonprofit religious organization that claims cannabis as its primary sacrament.

This is a unique community for those who consume cannabis as a means to achieving self-discovery, founding member Steve Berke told The…

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Colorado cannabis sales top $126M in February 2017 amid federal uncertainty

In a month when the phrase “greater enforcement” was uttered by the Trump administration in relation to marijuana, Colorado’s cannabis sales continued their surge.

In February, licensed shops brought in nearly $126.1 million in sales, with more than $86.4 million in recreational revenue and $39.6 million in medical marijuana revenue. It’s the third-highest monthly sales total in Colorado’s recreational marijuana era, according to The Cannabist’s calculations of Colorado Department of Revenue…

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Colorado set to prohibit marijuana co-op growing operations

DENVER — Colorado was set Monday to outlaw marijuana growing co-ops soon after the state Senate unanimously approved a bill making it a crime to for people to cultivate recreational pot for other people.

The bill supported by the office Gov. John Hickenlooper passed 35-0 but it was unclear when he would sign it.

There are no state estimates on how many collective recreational marijuana growing operations exist in Colorado, though they are popular among users who share the cost of…

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Denver council advances 10 p.m. closing time for marijuana stores

A measure that would extend Denver’s marijuana shop sales to midnight was pared back to 10 p.m. before a committee on Monday sent it to the full City Council.

The momentum of the revised proposal gave hope to marijuana industry representatives who have pushed for a later closing time to compete with neighboring cities. But the council also has heard push-back in recent weeks from some dispensary neighbors and others concerned about the change.

Denver allows its 216 medical and…

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Summit County ganja-preneur wants to expand cannabis, food and wine tours beyond Colorado

Philip Wolf, the founder of Cultivating Spirits, speaking at a cannabis, food and wine event. Wolf found that different terpene strains in marijuana affect mood.

Courtesy Cultivating Spirits

Philip Wolf, the founder of Cultivating Spirits, speaking at a cannabis, food and wine event. Wolf found that different terpene strains in marijuana affect mood.

Now Wolf and his new business partner Branden Nadon want to expand the business into California and Nevada, which also has legalized recreational marijuana. They also want to expand into other Colorado locations.

Wolf’s idea to blend marijuana with a wine pairing experience came to him while he was…

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Exclusive: Here’s how Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper really feels about marijuana

In 2012, when Colorado voters wanted their state to legalize weed for adult recreational use, Gov. John Hickenlooper was thrust into an interesting predicament.

The moderate Democrat had stood in opposition to Amendment 64, a measure he felt would send the wrong message to kids, create public health risks, detract from Colorado’s desirability, and, not to mention, stoke the ire of the feds.

But voters’ will spoke and Hickenlooper became an extremely reluctant figurehead and participant in…

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Colorado Rep. Jared Polis introduces bill to decriminalize marijuana and regulate like alcohol

Colorado Rep. Jared Polis’ has introduced a bill that would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and regulate it like alcohol.

U.S. Rep. Polis, D-Colorado, on Thursday reintroduced the Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act, a bill that would allow for the federally legal existence of state-based marijuana legalization programs without opening the door for interstate commerce.

The bill — similar in format to Polis’ Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act introduced in 2015 — is part…

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Colorado has strategy for recreational marijuana industry if feds crack down

DENVER — Colorado is considering an unusual strategy to protect its nascent marijuana industry from a potential federal crackdown, even at the expense of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax collections.

A bill pending in the Legislature would allow pot growers and retailers to reclassify their recreational pot as medical pot if a change in federal law or enforcement occurs.

It’s the boldest attempt yet by a U.S. marijuana state to avoid federal intervention in its weed market.

The bill…

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Eight of 16 people indicted in Colorado marijuana trafficking operation listed as having state pot licenses

Eight of the 16 people indicted on charges they ran a massive illicit marijuana operation that sold and shipped weed out of state are listed in Colorado records as having active or expired licenses to work in the legal pot business.

Michael Alan Stonehouse, the alleged ringleader, has an active “key” license — for operating a marijuana business — that is valid until November 2018, Marijuana Enforcement Division records show. That’s despite a past felony conviction and state…

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Colorado countdown to 4/20: Your guide to what’s happening when

We’re just a few short weeks away from 4/20, a.k.a. the stoner’s rite of spring.

Here in Colorado, 4/20 has been a big deal since well before the state legalized adult-use cannabis three years ago. And given that this year’s 4/20 happens on a Thursday — two days after the federal income tax deadline and two days ahead of Earth Day — there should be all sorts of reasons to celebrate.

Trivia time: “420” reportedly became slang for cannabis-related activities decades ago, when a group of high…

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Longmont considers marijuana home-grow limits

Longmont’s City Council will hold a Tuesday night public hearing on an ordinance that would regulate and limit the growing of marijuana inside homes for residents’ medical or recreational use.

The council’s consideration of the residential home-grow ordinance and the sewer and water tap agreements for the marijuana cultivation business come amid continuing uncertainty about how rigorously U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in states like…

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EPA fines Colorado hydroponics shop for sale of unlabeled pesticides

A Colorado grow-supply business is paying a federal fine because of its pesticide packaging.

Grow Depot, a Northglenn hydroponics and indoor gardening store at 970 W. 104th Ave., was cited and fined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for allegedly repacking and selling unlabeled pesticides, the agency announced Monday.

It’s the first time the EPA has penalized a Colorado grow shop for unlabeled pesticides, officials say.

Grow Depot agreed to pay a $27,500 penalty and stop the sale…

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Denver council faces pushback against midnight closing time for marijuana shops

Some neighbors of marijuana shops and a group that advocates for tighter restrictions on legal cannabis have begun pushing back against a proposal that would extend Denver’s cutoff for sales to midnight.

During its meeting at 3 p.m. Monday, the Denver City Council’s special-issue marijuana committee is set to consider the proposal that would allow shops to extend their hours beyond the city’s current 7 p.m. mandatory closing time. Councilwoman Kendra Black, the panel’s chair, is…

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Citing organized crime, Colorado House OKs efforts to limit marijuana grows

In a bid to crack down on drug trafficking, the Colorado House on Monday voted to put new limits on home-grown marijuana that would dramatically reduce the number of plants people can legally grow in residential areas.

The bill would impose a blanket 16-plant per home limit — whether the pot’s grown for medical or recreational purposes.

That represents a significant reduction from the current cap, which goes as high as 99 plants for medical marijuana patients and caregivers — a…

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The latest on Colorado marijuana plant limit: House approves 16 plants per residence

Read the story on The Cannabist: Colorado House gives prelim OK to lower limit: 16 marijuana plants per residence

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Denver FBI honors youth program partly funded by pot taxes

The Denver FBI honored a youth dropout prevention group Thursday, apparently without realizing it is partially funded with taxes from the marijuana industry.

The U.S. Justice Department, the FBI’s parent agency, considers the marijuana industry operating in Colorado and other states illegal, and new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has indicated he wants stronger enforcement of federal law.

But Thursday’s episode reaffirmed that revenue from sales of the drug has gotten so widely…

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Midnight closing time for Denver marijuana shops? New council proposal floats idea

Denver may be ready to match some neighboring cities’ late-night closing times for marijuana stores.

A first-stab proposal set to be considered in a City Council committee Monday would extend the cutoff for sales from 7 p.m. to midnight. That’s the latest closing time that both Edgewater and Glendale allow for their pot shops.

Councilwoman Kendra Black says she is optimistic about the measure’s chances to get to the council floor, but it’s possible the members will settle on…

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What is the Supremacy Clause and what does it mean for states’ rights to legalize marijuana?

When it comes to laying down the law on marijuana, it’s a convoluted dispute.

Amid the renewed attention on state legalization by new Department of Justice leader Jeff Sessions, here’s a refresher.


Marijuana in the age of Trump: A Cannabist special report

Part 1 | ‘Something’s going to have to give’: An untenable conflict between feds, states

Part 2 | Federal marijuana law enforcement: What you need to know


The idea of federal preemption of state law is based on the U.S. Constitution’s…

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Colorado legislature looks to address the “wild west” of pot clubs

The legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado nearly five years ago opened a vast landscape of unknowns, and now the state is looking to settle one of the last frontiers.

The General Assembly is advancing bipartisan legislation to make Colorado the first state to allow pot clubs — an issue once considered taboo but one the industry says is overdue.

“What we are lacking as an industry and as consumers is a place to consume,” said Jordan Person at Denver NORML, the local…

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Colorado committee votes to greatly reduce number of marijuana plants allowed in home grows

Colorado is moving toward limiting growing marijuana at home under a bill that sets a max of 12 plants per residential property.

A House committee voted 11-2 Monday to curb the nation’s most generous allowances for growing pot at home.

Colorado currently allows medical pot patients to grow up to 99 plants, far beyond other marijuana states, and it also allows recreational users to group their allotted six plants into massive co-ops, entire greenhouses of pot that aren’t tracked or taxed.

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Colorado looks at ban on co-op growing to stop black market

Colorado may ban collective marijuana growing under a bill that calls some patient-owned marijuana grows a “public nuisance.”

A bill up for its first hearing in a House committee Monday would ban co-op pot growing by setting a statewide limit of 12 marijuana plants per residential property.

The change would effectively force some medical marijuana patients to buy from a licensed grower instead of growing their own plants.

Supporters including Gov. John Hickenlooper say the change is needed…

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Marijuana in the age of Trump: An untenable conflict between feds, legalized states

Legal weed is at a crossroads.

While some cannabis legalization proponents claim their movement has grown too big to fail, it has also proved too significant for the federal government to ignore.

The Trump administration is mulling its approach to the state-regulated systems that conflict with federal law. On Capitol Hill, conversations about legal cannabis have picked up steam.

Amid a time of unknowns surrounding federal marijuana policy, one thing is certain: The status quo is no longer…

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Final available recreational pot license issued in Aurora

Aurora this week awarded the city’s 24th — and final — recreational pot license to The Green Solution after spending several weeks evaluating and scoring four candidate businesses.

The store will be located at 19370 E. Quincy Ave.

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Longmont to consider partial repeal of medical, recreational pot sales ban

Later this year, Longmont’s city staff is expected to present the City Council with a report about its options if it wants to partially repeal the city’s ban on shops selling medical and recreational marijuana inside the city limits.

At least some council members indicated during meetings last year that they’d be willing to consider revising or ending Longmont’s prohibitions against pot shops.

The issue resurfaced on Tuesday night, when Mayor Dennis Coombs floated a motion to have…

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Colorado AG says she has invited Jeff Sessions’ staff to see the state’s recreational marijuana system

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said she has invited U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions — a  vocal marijuana opponent — and his staff to come and see the state’s recreational pot industry.

Coffman told The Denver Post that the invitation was extended during a meeting Wednesday morning in Washington with Sessions’ top staffers.

“I had a meeting there this morning and told them that I thought it was important to come to the states that have legalized marijuana,…

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Longmont to use $600K marijuana grant to keep kids off pot

By John Fryar, The Longmont-Times Call

Longmont’s City Council approved a contract Tuesday night with the state for a $567,640 state marijuana impact grant that the city plans to prevent, intervene and suppress youths’ pot use.

The money is part of nearly $1 million in state grants being given to local governments that do not allow retail marijuana sales in their jurisdictions but that have experienced the impacts of the sale, transfer, cultivation or processing of retail marijuana —…

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Donald Trump won’t “turn his back” on Colorado when it comes to legal marijuana, GOP lawmaker says

A top Republican lawmaker in Colorado is casting doubt on whether Donald Trump’s administration will crack down on the legalization of marijuana, saying the new president wouldn’t “turn his back” on states’ rights.

Colorado Senate President Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg, the chamber’s No. 2 Republican and a Trump supporter, reacted after the statement from White House spokesman Sean Spicer that recreational pot will face “greater enforcement.”

“I’m not sure I’d put too much…

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Hickenlooper: It’s unclear whether Trump could stop legal marijuana

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, as a guest on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, downplayed the possibility that the Trump administration would take aim at Colorado’s recreational marijuana industry, saying legalization’s inclusion in the state Constitution makes it unclear whether the federal government could shut it down.

“Our voters passed it 55-45. It’s in our constitution,” Hickenlooper told “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd on Sunday.

“You don’t think…

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Arvada man who used post office to distribute marijuana edibles sentenced to a year and a day

An Arvada man who sent boxes of illegal marijuana edibles through the U.S. Postal Service to buyers in New York City, Maryland and Texas was sentenced Wednesday to a year and one day in federal prison.

Stephen Paul Anderson, a.k.a. “the healthnut,” was also sentenced to serve three years of community supervised release after his prison term.

“Oh boy, you thought this was going to be an easy way to make money, and it is going to cost you your freedom,” U.S. District Judge Christine…

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Jefferson County man shot after marijuana deal goes bad

Deputies are searching for two suspects after one of them shot a man following a dispute over marijuana late Tuesday night in south Jefferson County, authorities say.

“This was a marijuana deal gone bad. I don’t know if they were haggling over price and it went south,” said Mark Techmeyer, spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

Investigators are searching for two men who were driving a car with Ohio license plates, one of whom had a lightning bolt shaved into his…

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America’s marijuana industry headed for $24 billion by 2025, report says

The latest gaze into the crystal ball puts the U.S. marijuana industry north of $24 billion by 2025.

New Frontier Data, a cannabis market research and analytics firm, gave The Cannabist a first look at its 2017 annual report, which aims to track the long-term potential for the industry. The report acknowledges external factors such as federal rescheduling or a full-scale crackdown could shake up the near-term.

By mapping out state-by-state sales to $24.5 billion in 2025 and projecting that…

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Aspen leaders poised to reconsider marijuana clubs

Aspen city leaders could give private pot clubs another whiff of consideration, but they first want to see how regulations are addressed by Denver and the state of Colorado.

“I’m open to having the conversation,” Mayor Steve Skadron said Monday, noting he is watching the state capital to see if it creates any regulatory model for private cannabis clubs that Aspen could mimic. “I know Denver is making some progress on bring-your-own pot clubs, and perhaps that could weigh into our…

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Colorado mountain town approves first drive-through marijuana shop

The Tumbleweed Express in Parachute will be the first drive-thru marijuana dispensary in the state.

Alex Zorn, Post Independent

The Tumbleweed Express in Parachute will be the first drive-thru marijuana dispensary in the state.

The western Colorado town of Parachute is getting a drive-through marijuana shop, believed to be the first in the state.

The Parachute Board of Trustees approved a business license for Tumbleweed Express last week, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported Saturday.

“As far as I can tell, we are not aware of this business model ever coming up before,” said…

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