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img_8197_1_Kate Simmons | Toke of the Town

The NoCo Hemp Expo is one of the largest gatherings of hemp companies in the world. Now in its fourth year, the expo features more than 130 exhibitors and more than 60 industry speakers. The expo held an industry-only day on March 31; today at 10 a.m., it opens to the public at the Ranch in Loveland. In the meantime, here are ten hemp businesses we couldn’t wait to write home about.

den_20151124_headquarters_boulder_slentz_04Scott Lentz

Denver has come a step closer to allowing late-night dispensaries.

Under state law, dispensaries can stay open until midnight, as they do in Edgewater and Glendale. For the last several months, Denver City Council’s special marijuana committee has discussed extending those hours. At a meeting on April 3, councilmembers settled on 10 p.m. as a closing time, which mirrors Aurora rules, and moved the proposal to the full council.

2.chainz.la.weeklyTimothy Norris for LA Weekly

Following a 2016 event that was postponed because of a snowstorm and finally staged a month later, the 2017 Denver 4/20 Rally is scheduled to take place on the actual date of April 20 for the first time in four years. That means it should happen on a Thursday instead of a weekend, but this timing hasn’t caused promoter Santino Walter of Civic Center Park Productions to lower his expectations for the gathering, which is centered around a free concert headlined by 2 Chainz.

“I think it’s going to be huge,” Walter says. “Denver is still the biggest destination to travel to and legally buy and consume retail cannabis for 4/20. You can see it in the way the hotels are already booked out, the cost of flights out here, how flights are booked up, the amount of superstar celebrities who will be in our city the four or five days of 4/20 weekend. So I think we’re probably going to have the largest event we’ve ever had.”

katephotoofamericaKate Simmons | Toke of the Town

After the passage of Amendment 64 in November 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper, who had not endorsed the measure, reminded supporters of the proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in Colorado that “federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or [Goldfish] too quickly.

Today, governors of the four states that were first to legalize recreational marijuana —  Hickenlooper in Colorado, Jay Inslee in Washington, Kate Brown in Oregon and Bill Walker in Alaska— sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, urging them to respect the rights of the states to pass such measures, and to consult with the states that have been operating under 2013’s Cole Memorandum before making any enforcement changes. Here’s the letter:

john.oliver.colorado.marijuanaHBO via YouTube17

HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, which has become the go-to spot for what is essentially investigative comedy, devoted the lion’s share of its latest episode to a shredding of current federal marijuana laws. And among the stories Oliver used to illustrate his points were several from Colorado.

Central to Oliver’s thesis was the tale of Brandon Coats, whom we first introduced you to back in 2012. That year, as we’ve reported, Coats, a paralyzed medical marijuana patient fired by DISH for failing a drug test, filed a complaint over the issue in Arapahoe District Court. When he lost there, attorney Michael Evans took the case to the Colorado Court of Appeals, where jurists also rejected Coats’s argument. Evans, though, wasn’t ready to give up. He subsequently submitted what he described to us as a final document in an effort to get the Colorado Supreme Court to take on the matter — and in January 2014, the jurists agreed to do so.

coloradocultivarsKate Simmons | Toke of the Town

The fourth annual NoCo Hemp Expo this past weekend featured more than 130 vendors and 60 speakers, all sharing information about this amazing plant. Here are ten things we learned about hemp, from its history to its modern-day applications.

1. Hemp enriches the soil where it’s grown.

Hemp has such deep roots that it can easily grow in many different types of soil and terrains. It even holds the soil together, and increases its microbial content. Once the plant is harvested, the stem and leaves are so nutrient-filled that many farmers put what they don’t use back in the soil, which rejuvenates it and results in an even bigger yield the next year.

mjBrett Levin

Five measures concerning marijuana were introduced in Congress on March 30. Three came from Oregon lawmakers regarding taxes, baking restrictions and descheduling marijuana; Representative Jared Polis reintroduced his 2015 legislation that would essentially regulate marijuana like alcohol, and another bill that would give people in states with legalized marijuana extra protections from federal prosecution.

Here are the most significant provisions of those proposals, for both the cannabis industry and consumers.

img_8184_1_Kate Simmons | Toke of the Town

On March 30, Representative Jared Polis reintroduced the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, as colleagues introduced four other measures in the U.S. House of Representatives that would protect states with legal marijuana from threatened action by the Trump administration.

Under the Obama administration, the Department of Justice followed the 2013 Cole Memo, which essentially protected states with legalized medical or recreational marijuana from federal interference. When Polis originally introduced the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act in 2015, it did not pass — perhaps in part because states with legal marijuana did not feel threatened.

homegrowMark Eggrole

In an effort to curb the illegal marijuana market in Colorado, the Colorado Senate approved HB 1220 on March 29 by a unanimous vote; the measure would set a new, lower limit for the number of plants a medical patient or caregiver may raise in a residential area. Senator Bob Gardner sponsored the bill to change the statewide cap in an attempt to cut down on outsized grows that could become tools of cartels.

Amendment 64 permitted Coloradans to have six plants for recreational purposes, but medical patients and registered caregivers were allowed up to 99 plants unless local rules called for lower limits. New Mexico has the next highest limit: twelve immature and four mature plants.

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