United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified in front of a House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, November 14, for more than four hours, answering questions about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, Planned Parenthood and his department’s investigation of black extremist groups. Sessions’s comments in response to those queries all created headlines, but there was one more hot-button issue he couldn’t avoid: pot.
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As the clock hit 6 p.m. on Monday, November 6, at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Denver, some of Colorado’s most prominent advocates of recreational cannabis legalization celebrated the fifth anniversary of Amendment 64’s passage. Members of the Marijuana Policy Project, one of the country’s biggest proponents for legalizing cannabis, enjoyed the night as they spoke about their past victories and the challenges to come both in Colorado and elsewhere.
The headline of a post published in this space last year posed the question, “Is Pueblo the Drug Bust Capital of Colorado?” And in recent months, law enforcement in the community has answered this question with a resounding “Yes,” particularly when it comes to marijuana crimes with an international flavor. In a series of raids over the past four months, the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office, working in conjunction with other agencies, has seized more than 8,000 cannabis plants at allegedly illegal grows associated with foreign nationals. Among those arrested as part of the operations were eight men from Mexico and four from Cuba.
One of the country’s most well-known think tanks is calling out United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his repressive attitude toward cannabis, particularly medical marijuana. On October 25, the Brookings Institution published an essay criticizing Sessions for his “biases on the issue, a division of opinion between him and the president he serves, and a federal government effort to stand in the way of the free conduct of research” with regard to growing medical marijuana for research purposes.
One of the challenges of the campaign to legalize cannabis across the country is the lack of benchmark data that compares social-health issues before and after states legalize pot. Now the University of Colorado hopes to fill in some of those gaps with a long-term study on groups of test subjects with very similar makeups: twins.
Public opinion of cannabis has shifted rapidly over the past five years; since Coloradans voted to legalize recreational marijuana in November 2012, seven other states and Washington, D.C., have also voted to legalize cannabis for adult use. And the rest of the country apparently approves, according to a new Gallup poll that shows Americans favor legalization at a higher rate than ever before.
The effects of legalized cannabis on Colorado are still being debated, but the state’s top health official believes that we’ve been pretty responsible about this pot thing. Dr. Larry Wolk has been the chief medical officer and executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment since 2013, a period that includes the state’s implementation of regulated adult-use cannabis in 2014, and he’s confident enough about the process that he’s telling other states and even countries that not only has the sky not fallen in Colorado, but we’re actually doing all right.
Colorado marijuana sales continue to hit new milestones, surpassing $1 billion in sales two months earlier in 2017 than they did in 2016, according to tax-revenue data from the Colorado Department of Revenue. Totaling retail and medical marijuana sales tax from sales largely made through August 2017, Westword‘s calculations show that Colorado’s cannabis industry had made over $1.02 billion in sales…with four months left to go.
April 4, 2016, was a big day for Matt Hobson — and it was very nearly a big day for Colorado’s cannabis industry.
That was the day that 29-year-old Hobson and other employees at Pueblo West Organics, a medical and recreational marijuana dispensary in Pueblo West, a municipal district just outside of Pueblo, presented their manager with a request for collective bargaining at their morning staff meeting.
As seen in the photo above, Keith Hammock was once the driver for the Rasta Bus, a service that won a Best of Denver award in 2006. But if this recognition was a high point for him, yesterday marked an all-time low. On October 4, Hammock was sentenced to eighty years in prison for a 2016 shooting of two teens who invaded his home marijuana grow. One of the teens died in the incident.