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Scott Lentz

Colorado is used to seeing marijuana sales tax dollars spike in April, thanks to the 4/20 holiday on April 20, but that wasn’t the case this year, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.

Sales tax data from the regulatory agency responsible for overseeing the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division shows that Colorado’s 10 percent retail marijuana sales tax brought in slightly over $8.1 million statewide in April 2017, over $1 million more than the $6.94 million collected in April 2016 — but $2 million-plus less than what March brought in this year.

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Only days after the release of a study saying that collision claim frequencies in Colorado are about 3 percent higher overall than would have been expected without marijuana legalization comes a competing report stating that the crash fatality rates haven’t changed significantly. These seemingly contradictory findings leave one marijuana reformer confused but certain that the sky isn’t falling.

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Members of the Justice Department’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety have been ordered to “undertake a review of existing policies” regarding federal marijuana law enforcement, among other things. Their report is due on or before July 27, and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws believes the document may use as its template a list by a fellow at the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation of eleven ways the administration of President Donald Trump can shut down legal cannabis.

The tactics, shared below, include employing the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), as was just allowed via a ruling in a potentially groundbreaking marijuana-smell lawsuit in Colorado earlier this month.

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Days after a letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions surfaced, asking congressional leaders to revoke federal protections for medical marijuana, senators have introduced a bill that would protect medical marijuana patients in states where it’s legal while also removing cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act and expanding research on marijuana.
Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Al Franken (D-Minnesota) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Arkansas) introduced the Compassionate Access Research and Respect the States (CARERS) Act on June 15. The bill would protect medical marijuana users from federal prosecution, allow Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans, and loosen multiple restrictions on cannabis research and medical compounds.

Danielle Lirette

The stereotype of the bleary-eyed, long-haired stoner gazing through a cloud of smoke is on its way out, replaced by a picture of happy, business-clad partners sharing a joint after returning home from the office. A landmark new study conducted by BDS Analytics reveals that cannabis users in Colorado and California are some of the happiest, most successful and well-adjusted adults around.

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The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is sending a clear signal to the administration of President Donald Trump following the latest negative words and deeds aimed at legal marijuana in Colorado and beyond by Justice Department officials Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein. In the words of NORML policy director Justin Strekal, “Should the Department of Justice decide to throw out the Tenth Amendment and respect for states’ rights as they govern their own intrastate commerce, they’re going to have a fight on their hands.”

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Fox News, which has a history of portraying Colorado pot smokers as apathetic morons, recently ran a piece suggesting that the Western Slope community of Durango has been overtaken by panhandlers in the wake of recreational cannabis legalization. The head of a business organization that created a Facebook video ripping the article as false says the Fox News reporter with whom he spoke seemed disinterested in any information that contradicted his conclusion that weed had put the town on the fast road to hell even though the supposed link between homelessness and cannabis has been widely discredited.

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Most users consider marijuana addiction a myth, but Colorado State University’s psychology department takes it seriously…so much so that it’s focusing on marijuana in  its new master’s program on addiction counseling.

“Historically speaking, people thought you couldn’t get addicted to marijuana. We know that’s not true in the scientific community, but that hasn’t penetrated public opinion yet,” says Bradley Conner, associate professor and director of addiction counseling at CSU.

According to Conner, a shortage of certified addiction specialists and a rise in drug addiction have created a gap in accessible treatment. With his team’s undergraduate and master’s programs at CSU, he hopes to fill that void while teaching students counseling methods tailored for marijuana abusers. That’s something that hasn’t been covered enough since Colorado’s legalized marijuana industry started in 2014, Conner adds.

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As our Ask a Stoner columnist noted this week, flying with marijuana is still not okay despite a TSA glitch that briefly suggested otherwise. But a new survey suggests that it’s happening a lot anyway. The report from MissTravel.com, which calls itself “the world’s first travel dating website,” shows that more than half the respondents have taken cannabis with them on a domestic flight. But that number tumbles for people traveling internationally.

Flying with marijuana has long been a hot topic among Westword readers. But the subject flared up nationally earlier this month, when the Marijuana Majority’s Tom Angell, a frequent interviewee in this space, tweeted the following: “Trump TSA marks marijuana as less restrictive on planes than alcohol over 140 proof, bottled water, corkscrews & recreational oxygen.”

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