Colorado Recreational Marijuana Laws Enter Second Phase

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A big change went into effect for Colorado marijuana businesses yesterday. Effective July 1, 2014, recreational marijuana business licenses are no longer restricted to those with existing medical marijuana licenses. Now, if you are a Colorado resident and meet the other requirements, you can apply for a recreational marijuana business license. Even better, you don’t have to grow in order to be licensed to sell, and vice-versa. As the Denver Post reports:

[W]hen these new businesses begin opening in October, all recreational marijuana companies will be allowed to specialize — as wholesale growers without a storefront, for instance, or as stand-alone stores that don’t grow their supply. The only requirement is that owners be Colorado residents.

Legal recreational marijuana is now at the 6 month mark. It contributed $11 million in retail sales taxes to the state’s coffers in the first four months. According to a study by the Drug Policy Alliance,

According to the state’s department of revenue, the
first four months of legal marijuana sales have resulted
in $10.8 million in taxes. Governor Hickenlooper
estimated sales in all marijuana stores will approach
$1 billion for the 2014 fiscal year. Retail store sales are
estimated to account for more than $600 million of
that, more than 50 percent higher than initially
projected

The industry has provided an estimated 10,000 jobs. Even our Governor is pleased. He is quoted in the Drug Policy Alliance report as saying:

“While the rest of the country’s economy is slowly picking back up, we’re thriving here in Colorado.”

Two other benefits: Violent crime is down 5.2 % in Denver, which is home to most of the businesses. And, by the end of 2014, the state will have reaped savings of $12 million to $40 million in law enforcement associated expenses which would have been spent had the old laws criminalizing marijuana still been in effect.

What about the children? Another fear that hasn’t panned out. When the Marijuana Enforcement Division recently conducted undercover operations to see if retailers would sell to minors, they didn’t get a single taker.

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Uruguay Releases Guidelines for Legal Marijuana Market

Uruguay is the first country to legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana. It released the new rules today. A copy in Spanish is here.

The government will control every facet — including setting the price. Pot will initially cost around $1.00 per gram, in an effort to freeze out the black market. The government agency calling the shots is called the Institute for Regulation and Control.

Today we know that trying to eliminate marijuana has not been an effective measure and has only caused more problems. The marijuana market already exists and is controlled by drug trafficking.

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Obama: Pot No More Dangerous Than Alcohol

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[photo from the Weed Blog]

The New Yorker has an extensive interview with President Obama, on a variety of topics.

On marijuana:

“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

Is it less dangerous? I asked. Less dangerous, he said, “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer. It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.”

On Colorado and Washington’s legalization laws: He said it’s important “they go forward.” [More...] Continue reading

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Ms. (Dis) Grace: Misinformed on Marijuana

If there were a cabinet position of Minister of Disinformation, my vote would go to Nancy Grace. Her latest: In a news interview about marijuana legalization in Colorado which you can view above or here, and on her own show here, after claiming she has “read every shred of scientific and research data out there” [sic], she misstates facts and misrepresents scientific research.

Her comments on her own show are far and away the more outrageous. But I don’t want to spend any more time on her than necessary, so I’m doing a single recap. [More...] Continue reading

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New York To Allow Limited Medical Marijuana

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will announce this week that he is issuing an executive order which will allow seriously ill patients to receive medical marijuana from hospitals.

The policy is intended for patients with serious diseases like cancer and glaucoma.

In light of how far the rest of the country has come, this seems like very small potatoes. But at least it’s a step in the right direction.

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Pot Shops Facing Dwindling Supply of Goods

Demand was so brisk at Colorado’s new retail marijuana stores the first two days, that store owners are already worrying about how they will replenish their inventory.

Toni Fox, owner of  3D Cannabis Center in Denver, says she thought she had enough to last until February, but demand has been so high, she is going to run out.  As a medical marijuana dispensary, her store averaged 25 sales a day.  On Wednesday, the store accommodated 450 buyers, and had to turn 60 away..
Fox says other store owners share her predicament.

Now, she said, marijuana store owners will all be scrambling to find wholesale distributors, especially on marijuana-infused products like edibles and beverages.

Replenishing isn’t a simple matter — you can’t grow  marijuana in one  day.  But fortunately for Fox and other store owners, someone had the foresight to  anticipate the need for temporary labor and started a temp agency called Hemp Temps:

Fox has a harvest ready to be trimmed, she said. And she will hire temporary staffers from Hemp Temps, a Denver based staffing company that specializes in growing, trimming and bud-tending.

On their website, Hemp Temps says:

We are the original, first, and only cannabis industry full-staffing company that focuses on meeting *all* staffing needs. Here at Hemp Temps, we combine years of experience and knowledge into a comprehensive understanding of the ins and outs of the MMJ industry. ….We are a Colorado company, based in Denver. We match dispensaries and grow facilities with top notch Hemp Temps to assist with their growing, trimming, bud-tending, and general industry needs.

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From Denver to Telluride, Colorado Makes History

Colorado made history yesterday, becoming the first government to allow marijuana to be purchased by adults for recreational use.

From Denver to Telluride, the lines were long. Here’s a look at the day in photos.

The stores are projected to generate a lot of income, as well as jobs.

Colorado projects $578.1 million a year in combined wholesale and retail marijuana sales to yield $67 million in tax revenue, according to the Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly.

This is a new blog I’ve set up to keep track of emerging marijuana legal and policy issues, both federal and state.  Take a look around. (It also looks good on mobile devices.)

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Colorado: What’s Allowed, What’s Still Illegal

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When retail marijuana stores and bakeries open on January 1, 2014, here’s what Colorado NORML says you should know.Legal: Stores can sell marijuana and marijuana-infused products to adults for recreational use.

  • Age Limit: Adults 21 and older can possess and purchase up to one ounce of marijuana as well as marijuana-infused products at retail marijuana stores.
  • Quantity Limits: Colorado residents can purchase up to one ounce of marijuana at retail marijuana stores. Non-residents can purchase up to a quarter ounce.
  • Stores Require: Valid Photo ID. Many will only accept cash.

Still Illegal:

  • No Resale: You can give away up to one ounce of marijuana but you cannot resell it unless you have a marijuana business license.
  • No Public Use: It is illegal to consume marijuana in public.
  • No Driving: It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana
  • No Travel: It is illegal to take marijuana outside of Colorado.
  • No Underage Sharing: It is illegal to provide marijuana to or use marijuana with anyone under 21.

Colorado NORML has an informative new webpage  devoted to the state’s recreational marijuana law. It’s filled with practical and legal information.  I highly recommend bookmarking it.

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Denver Airport Bans Pot Possession

The Denver Post reports that Denver International Airport has announced it will ban marijuana possession throughout the facility.

Amendment 64 which legalized recreational marijuana use in Colorado, gives property owners the right to prohibit marijuana use.

The law specifically allows any entity “who occupies, owns or controls a property” to set its own marijuana rules at that property.

Penalties are steep:  a $999 administrative fine.

TSA and the cops won’t be searching for drugs, and you shouldn’t see drug dogs on patrol throughout the airport, but if you are stopped for some other reason and searched, or go through security and it turns up, airport police will be contacted.

So whether you are flying, dropping someone off or picking someone up, leave your pot outside the terminal.

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