Legalizing medical and recreational marijuana may have seemed like the end of a long journey for consumers, but it was just the beginning of a vigorous regulatory obstacle course for advocates, lobbyists and industry members. As state and local governments continue to “build a plane as we fly it,” to quote former Colorado marijuana czar Andrew Freedman, Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division wants your input during its next round of stakeholder meetings – but only if you know your shit.
Author Toke of the Town
A common gripe about millennials is that we’re unable to appreciate classic music. We’re more likely to associate timeless R&B hooks with hip-hop beats that sample them instead of the originals themselves, while Guitar Hero has bastardized an entire generation’s knowledge of classic rock. You can definitely lump me in with the rest of the tasteless turds, because I had no idea who Lucinda Williams was until I smoked a bowl of her.
Initially content with viewing the commercial cannabis experiment from the sidelines, the City of Thornton banned dispensaries back in 2010. That all changed last August, though, when the Thornton City Council lifted the ban and began considering applications for recreational pot shops.
A town of more than 136,000 people, according to U.S. Census estimates, Thornton has approached its burgeoning cannabis sector with more trepidation than Denver did, allowing just one dispensary in each of the city’s four geographical quadrants. The council approved its fourth and final applicant in April, setting the stage for open recreational dispensaries as early as late summer.
The recent arrests and legal actions against a former Marijuana Enforcement Division official and several marijuana industry license-holders here in Colorado has been touted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions as an example of why this industry is not working. In a letter to congressional leaders on May 1, he also suggested that in some way the regulated marijuana industry contributes to more illegal marijuana trafficking. In actuality, a regulated system like the one in Colorado has created a boom for us in the areas of job creation, revenue generation and increased law enforcement support, and the list goes on.
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.
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.
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.
The City of Denver appears to be continuing its public-relations battle against the Denver 420 Rally, which is appealing a three-year permit ban, by contrasting the trashy condition of Civic Center Park the morning after the April 20 event with the much tidier look of the location following this past weekend’s PrideFest celebration. Meanwhile, an attorney for the rally charges Denver with using a double standard by pointing out that a dispensary was allowed to display its logo at PrideFest, as seen in a video below, even though such businesses have been forbidden to do so at the Denver 420 Rally.
PrideFest is certainly doing all it can to show that it appreciates its own permit with the city. Pushkin Public Relations, which represents the fest, shared the June 19 photo at the top of this post along with a note that reads in part, “PrideFest takes a lot of pride in being a professional festival, working well with the City and leaving the park in great shape. While some festivals don’t have a great reputation for this, PrideFest works hard be a good steward of Civic Center Park.”