Author Kate Simmons

Over the past decade, Colorado’s cannabis industry has grown far beyond stoner stereotypes to include cancer survivors, moms and mainstream business types. Ever since Jane West started her wellness-products business, she’s been vocal about what it’s like to be a cannabis consumer, a business leader and, yes, a parent.

We recently sat down with West to find out what this pot pioneer carries every day and will be taking with her on 4/20. Here’s what’s in her bag:

Colorado might have been the first state to sell recreational marijuana, but we’re not nearly finished updating our cannabis laws. Lawmakers have introduced seventeen bills during this legislative session, most of them aimed at tightening the rules for marijuana sale and production, as well as helping to regulate the hemp industry.

This week, Governor John Hickenlooper will sign a bill that will limit marijuana home grows to twelve plants (that’s already the limit in Denver). Hickenlooper himself suggested implementing this restriction last year; according to the governor, Colorado’s original plant quotas —which were tied to individuals instead of to residences — prevented law enforcement from easily distinguishing between legal and illegal grows, which enabled the black market to operate.

Amy Diiullo has been playing sports and working out since high school…and she’s been smoking marijuana about that long, as well. She studied exercise science in college, and as she learned the technical aspects of working out and being healthy, she realized that cannabis could help her achieve her fitness goals.

Now she’s running the Fit for 420 program in Denver. We recently sat down with her to learn more about how to work out with marijuana.

Westword: How did you first start using cannabis in your workouts?

Amy Diiullo: I’ve always been very active. I was an athlete in high school and ran track, cross-country and did tennis and a whole bunch of other sports, and I also used cannabis recreationally. I don’t think when you’re younger that there might be some synergistic effects there — that you might be using cannabis because you’re sore or having trouble sleeping, or that it could be related to activity. I got more involved with it in college on the science side — a very physiology-based practicum of learning how exercise affects your body, which then translates to how cannabis can affect your body. So when we talk about cannabis or THC being a bronchodilator, what that means is it opens up the blood vessels in your lungs to receive potentially more oxygen. So there’s a direct correlation between understanding some of the physiological effects of exercise and the physiological effects of cannabis in the body and the different receptors.

For me, it just became a natural marriage. If you’re sore, using topicals or a hash bath is a really easy solution, but it also translated to asking: How can this affect my workout itself?

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.

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.

States with legal medical marijuana have fewer opiod-related hospitalizations per capita, according to new research published early this month in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence. At the same time, those states did not see an increase in hospitalizations related to the consumption of cannabis, the study determined.

Yuyan Shi, the lead author of the study, is an assistant professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California in San Diego. Using the State Inpatient Database, Shi looked at hospital records in 27 states between 1997 and 2014. Over that time, she found that marijuana and opiate hospitalizations increased by an average of 300 percent. (Over 50,000 people died in this country last year from drug overdoses.)

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.

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.

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