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image2Courtesy of Colorado Springs Airport

Even when leaving Colorado, most airline passengers know they’re not allowed to bring marijuana onto their flight. But for those who still try or simply forget what’s inside their luggage, some Colorado airports have amnesty boxes for marijuana disposal before going through security.

Although Denver International Airport doesn’t have such boxes, the next largest airport in the state does. According to Colorado Springs Municipal Airport officials, marijuana amnesty boxes debuted at the airport in 2014, and have collected a total of 17,003 grams of marijuana through the end of 2019.

beerweedWestword

With the year of hard seltzer still fresh in our minds and younger generations of consumers moving away from alcohol, craft breweries are scrambling to expand their portfolios. Some are moving to cannabis, while others are making non-alcoholic drinks. One brewery has decided to focus on both, without the alcohol.

After Keith Villa left MolsonCoors in 2018, the creator of Blue Moon’s famous Belgian-white ale founded a cannabis-infused brewing company with his wife, Jodi. The two have planted their flag on the niche market in just over a year, releasing a Belgian-white, IPA and lager infused with THC, with the alcohol removed from the beers after the brewing process.

_erb_art_and_drink_collins20190127_012 (1)Jacqueline Collins

Amendment 64, the ballot initiative that voters approved in 2012 to legalize recreational weed in Colorado, says that “marijuana should be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol,” but that hasn’t made the plant equal to alcohol in the eyes of many employers. At companies across Colorado, testing positive for marijuana is still legal grounds for dismissal, even if your employer acknowledges that you weren’t high on the job.

Over seven years after Coloradans legalized marijuana, state lawmakers may finally be ready to address the issue this year. Introduced by Representative Jovan Melton (D- Aurora), House Bill 1089 “prohibits an employer from terminating an employee” for “lawful off-duty activities,” even if those activities are illegal under federal law.

bluemoongrandopening029Danielle Lirette

Colorado cannabis brewery Ceria Brewing Company has added to its lineup of pot-infused barley pops with a new IPA.

Founded by Blue Moon creator Keith Villa in 2018, Ceria debuted in Colorado dispensaries with a Belgian-style white ale and followed it up with an American lager. The newest offering, Indiewave, provides a more hoppy kick for craft-beer fans looking for an alternative to alcohol, according to Villa.

screen_shot_2020-01-06_at_6.18.55_pmGoogle Maps screenshot

Another Denver marijuana dispensary was recently held up at gunpoint, adding to a list of unsolved pot shop robberies in the city.

Ascend Cannabis Company, located at 3555 South Yosemite Street, was robbed at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Friday, January 3, by a group of men with rifles, according to the Denver Police Department. It is the seventh reported robbery attempt at a Denver area dispensary since November, with stores owned by Native Roots, A Cut Above, Frosted Leaf, Green Man Cannabis, Green Heart (Aurora) and Cherry Peak (Glendale) all reporting robberies or attempts.

studio_420_xmas_collins20191214_025 (1)Jacqueline Collins

The seventh year of recreational marijuana sales in Colorado promises to be an interesting one, with new laws allowing social consumption establishments and weed delivery, as well as new industry rules mandating more product testing while restricting vaping ingredients.

Here are the six biggest rule changes that will take effect on Colorado’s marijuana landscape in 2020.

opener_hempJay Vollmar

Eric Jensen feels trapped. By now, the 43-year-old thought he’d be able to travel from his home in southeastern Colorado to see his son play college ball in the Midwest. But instead, he can’t cross the border into Kansas. He’s stuck hanging around his home town, where most of the residents have turned their backs on him, believing that he’s a hardened drug dealer. Instead, he’s facing criminal charges for something that’s completely legal in Colorado: hemp.

Eric and his brother, 39-year-old Ryan Jensen, grew up in the town of Holly, ten miles from the Kansas border. Early on, they started working on the family farm, the fourth generation to do so, and by 2007, they’d taken over for their father, Robert. They grew wheat and corn and onions and cabbage, which was harvested and shipped to grocery stores across the country. But their biggest crop was cantaloupe.

the_green_solution_collins20171215_008 (3)Jacqueline Collins

Colorado has somehow managed to survive six years of recreational cannabis sales without burning down. But even so, there were plenty of hot, skunky issues to cover in 2019.

This year, the Colorado Legislature further established this state as an epicenter of cannabis, passing laws that expanded medical marijuana access and legalized social use businesses, such as pot cafes and smoking lounges. The state also continued in its role as a guinea pig of regulation and cannabis culture, dealing with challenges ranging from moldy pot to equitable industry participation.

After trimming our way through the year’s stories, we landed on these as the ten biggest in 2019:

the_coffee_joint_ice_cream_collins20180705_017Jacqueline Collins

The Coffee Joint, the first establishment to hold a cannabis consumption license in Denver, is now the second pot lounge business to apply for a state social consumption license.

Colorado Springs social lounge Studio A64 successfully applied for a social consumption license at the state Marijuana Enforcement Division office three hours before Coffee Joint owners Rita Tsalyuk and Kirill Merkulov could beat them to it.

Studio A64 could not be reached for comment, but Tsalyuk and Merkulov say the opportunity to apply for a state license is a big step for all cannabis businesses. “This is bigger than us. It’s just a bigger step in the industry,” Tsalyuk explains. “It opens the door to do something different and plan ahead for the next year.”

screen_shot_2019-12-18_at_11.12.28_amDenver Police Department

A string of armed robberies at Denver-area marijuana dispensaries over the past two months continued into this week, according to the Denver Police Department, with the latest stickup taking place at one of Colorado’s largest dispensary chains.

Armed robbers barged into a Native Roots location near Denver International Airport on North Tower Road on Monday, December 16, demanding cash from an employee, according to the DPD and Native Roots. Police officials say it’s the sixth armed-robbery attempt at a Denver-area dispensary since early November, and they believe the crimes are connected to the same group of suspects.

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