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veritas_farm_collins20190807_011Jacqueline Collins

Many American farmers were handed seeds of opportunity in October, when the United States Department of Agriculture released its much-anticipated regulations for farming hemp. The new federal rules came nearly a year after Congress legalized hemp farming, and almost half a decade after the Colorado Department of Agriculture established its own program for farming hemp. And this state’s rules don’t exactly line up with the ones just announced by the feds.

Two years after voters approved Amendment 64, legalizing recreational marijuana, Colorado decided to opt into the 2014 Farm Bill, a federal law that allowed states to create pilot programs for hemp licensing. As a result, Colorado is now one of the largest producers of hemp in the country. While every Colorado farmer growing hemp will probably have to change a few things once the federal regulations take hold, those same regulations also bring credibility to an industry essentially stuck in a federal gray area, according to Corey Cox, an attorney with Vicente Sederberg who represents clients in Colorado’s hemp industry.

cbd-sign-aurora-petrovic-2019Nina Petrovic

Driving around the residential streets of Colorado, you might see signs that look like they’re about to announce a garage sale but instead are advertising hemp or CBD oil. Like the homemade one pictured here, on Iliff Avenue in Aurora, hawking 1,444 milligrams of CBD oil for $60.

“There’s a lot of concern, or growing concern, as we see a lot of the CBD market grow and grow,” says Hollis Glenn, director of the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s inspection and consumer services. “You see CBD being sold in places like gas stations, and the industry is so new that there’s no directive on how it should be manufactured.”

honey_pot_lounge_collins20190407_033 (1)Jacqueline Collins

Colorado dispensaries will almost certainly break another annual sales record for the fifth straight year since recreational weed stores first opened for business on January 1, 2014.

According to data from the state Department of Revenue, Colorado dispensaries accounted for just under $150.5 million in sales in October. Recreational pot sales came in just over $121.2 million, while medical marijuana accounted for approximately $29.2 million.

While that figure is lower than the month before, it reflects what’s become a standard seasonal decline in pot sales. It also all but locks up 2019’s rise past 2018 to tally the most marijuana sales dollars in a calendar year.

incredibles_collins20180814_064 (1)Jacqueline Collins

As chemists try to attain precise effects, cannabis has been modified into specified chemical structures. Some of these forms of THC, the main compound responsible for marijuana’s intoxicating effects, aren’t even produced naturally in the plant.

THC acetate ester (also known as THC-O-acetate and THC-O) is one of them. THC-O is reportedly much more potent than natural THC, and produces more sedating effects. It was identified by federal authorities decades ago as an illegal form of THC made in a lab; some say it’s still not recognizable through standard drug-identifying procedures.

There are abundant examples of celebrities trying to profit off legal cannabis while the less famous sit behind bars, but some of the OGs of cannabis culture are putting their money where their mouths are. Eric Rachmany, guitarist and singer for Rebelution, is using his national solo tour as a way to raise awareness and money for those imprisoned for cannabis charges.

Proceeds from Rachmany’s concert at Summit Music Hall on Friday, November 29, will benefit the Last Prisoner Project, a nonprofit that helps cannabis offenders apply for clemency, clear their records and re-enter society — sometimes as members of the pot industry. We caught up with Rachmany to learn more about the cause, his connection to cannabis and some of his own close calls while touring.

ibakeCourtesy of iBake

Colorado’s cannabis community was surprised when iBake Denver, one of the state’s longest-running consumption clubs, announced that it would close at the end of the year because it would not be ready to comply with a new state law that licenses social pot use. Open since 2013, the club started as an Internet radio show hosted by Thurlow “T.L.” Weed, but slowly transformed into a cannabis club under Weed and his wife, LittleTree Oppy, whom he met when she was a weekly caller to his radio show.

Weed and Oppy both fought back tears earlier this month as they announced the impending closure of iBake, which will shut its doors on January 1, 2020. To learn more about iBake’s story, we caught up with the couple behind the club.

den_011217_veritas_grow_scottlentz001 (1)Scott Lentz

The Colorado Supreme Court has overruled a district court decision that upheld a county court ruling requiring a doctor’s testimony for medical marijuana patients who want to use their medication while on probation. The Colorado Supreme Court decision, handed down November 18, weakens the restrictions and burdens of proof that Colorado judges can place on medical marijuana patients.

In their decision, the justices said that unless a probationer’s medical marijuana use conflicts with the specified goals of sentencing, cannabis use should be allowed.

smoking-pot-marijuana-420-civic-center-2019-collinJacqueline Collins

Colorado’s legal marijuana sales finally took a fall in September, according to data from the state Department of Revenue, and past trends indicate that this dip is likely to continue until next spring. However, 2019 is still very much on pace to become the highest-selling year ever for the state’s legal pot industry.

Colorado dispensaries racked up over $155.4 million in sales in September, DOR data shows. That’s a drop of over 10 percent from August — but still rises almost 13 percent over the same month in 2018. Recreational sales accounted for more than $126.8 million in September 2019, according to the figures, while medical sales came in at $28.6 million; they’ve been on a $25-to-$30 million plateau for over a year now.

pot_zero_grow-buds-marijuana-holschuc-2018Jake Holschuh

In a random assessment conducted by the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment in September, Denver dispensaries failed health inspections for mold and yeast. Westword studied reports for tests conducted at 25 dispensaries over a two-day period, and at twenty of them, some form of cannabis tested over the state’s limit for total mold and yeast. That’s an 80 percent failure rate. Many of the failing products came from outside growers whose marijuana had already passed state tests.

The results of the assessment and what they might mean for city and state pot programs are still under review by the DDPHE, which won’t publish its report on the study for some time. But the department acknowledges that concerns over contaminated cannabis inspired the test. In 2019 alone, Colorado has seen a handful of commercial pot recalls over mold concerns. Rumors of shady practices to pass mold testing abound, and industry insiders also gripe about the state’s testing process for mold, as well as the lack of context that most testing labs provide for mold and yeast specificity.

img_1171Westword

The Green Solution, one of Colorado’s largest marijuana dispensary chains, announced today, November 5, that it has been purchased by a publicly traded cannabis corporation.

According to the Green Solution’s representatives, Columbia Care Inc. has agreed to buy the Green Solution and its twenty dispensaries across Colorado for approximately $140 million. The deal also includes the Green Solution’s growing facilities and infused-product brands — of which there are many — as well as three more dispensaries that haven’t opened.

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