To help remedy its well-publicized affordable-housing shortage, Mayor Michael Hancock wants to use a lifeline that mayors of most major cities don’t have: pot. On April 16, the city floated the idea of using $105 million in bonds from the Denver Housing Authority — a quasi-municipal corporation that provides housing for middle- and low-income families and individuals — to help cover a proposed $105 million surge in funding for affordable housing over the next five years.
Hot on the heels of a groundbreaking lawsuit over Salmonella-tainted kratom that targeted a Colorado Springs store, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has announced the recall of assorted products made from the popular but controversial pain-relieving herb. But while the ostensible reason for the recall involves the fear of Salmonella contamination, the CDPHE acknowledges that no illnesses have been reported in connection with the lot numbers in question, and the Food and Drug Administration statement highlighted in the CDPHE announcement focuses on the dangers of kratom in general, suggesting the possibility that broader seizures of the product might be in the offing.
Colorado wound up in the center of the kratom story last October, when the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment prohibited its sale for human consumption. A few months later, the federal Centers for Disease Control and the FDA warned about a “multi-state outbreak of Salmonella infections” that had sickened 28 people across twenty states nationwide.
Last August, when veteran reporter Peter Marcus announced that he was leaving the ambitious ColoradoPolitics.com project he’d helped launch the previous year in favor of a communications-director position with the rapidly growing marijuana dispensary chain Terrapin Care Station, he stressed that he wasn’t leaving journalism behind, and that he planned to start a website that would mix original stories with posts intended to counter misinformation being spewed by pot enemies.
That site, TheNewsStation.com, is now live, and included among offerings that Marcus says “promote the positive business and economic impact of the cannabis industry” is a section in which he tears apart what he sees as marijuana “fake news.”
After years of gaining little ground in Colorado, social cannabis consumption is finally making progress. On the same day a bill was introduced in the Colorado Legislature that would allow dispensary tasting rooms, and less than a week after a members-only pot lounge successfully opened in RiNo, the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses approved the Coffee Joint’s Cannabis Consumption Establishment license — making it the first establishment to ever hold a pot consumption license in Denver.
Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen announced with fanfare in August that he could squeeze $1.5 million in taxes from medical cannabis firms in 2017 by enforcing the law.
So far, the amount collected from dispensaries, cultivation facilities, and certification clinics has fallen short of estimate, and it’s still unclear just how much the county will take in. Phoenix New Times has the story.
New sales revenue data from the Colorado Department of Revenue shows that the state’s legal cannabis industry collected over $1.5 billion in 2017 and accounted for nearly $4.5 billion in sales since recreational stores first opened on January 1, 2014.
Overall dispensary sales rose in December for the first time since August 2017, according to DOR data, with revenue increasing over 7 percent from November ($119.56 million) to December ($128.27 million). Recreational sales in December accounted for around $96.34 million, while the medical side collected $31.92 million.
Banking and general financial services have been a great white whale for the cannabis industry, as financial institutions continue to be wary of the plant’s illegal status with the feds. But a recent settlement between a Colorado credit union and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City may help reel in a solution.
In a letter sent to Fourth Corner Credit Union on February 2, the Federal Reserve Bank agreed to give the Denver-based credit union a master account, which is necessary for such bank-to-bank relations as cashing checks and transferring money. Fourth Corner had sued the Federal Reserve in 2015 over its refusal to issue the credit union an account and lost in district court, but that decision was overturned in June 2017 by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Denver’s status as the country’s legal cannabis capital is in jeopardy now that California has started recreational sales, but one study shows that the Mile High City wouldn’t just take a step back if the rest of the world followed suit — it would become irrelevant. There are some questions about how the study’s figures apply to Denver, though.
A new survey maintains that nearly half of all marijuana users in legal cannabis states such as Colorado have gone to work high, and of those who’ve done so, 39 percent of them are stoned on the job at least once a week. But the unscientific poll can hardly be seen as the definitive word on a subject that’s stirred controversy here for years.
A national cannabis trade organization with strong ties to Denver has proposed new packaging standards for its members. Those standards, which are similar to the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division’s packaging regulations, will be the first of many to be adopted by members of the National Association of Cannabis Businesses, according to an announcement from the organization.