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In an effort to curb the illegal marijuana market in Colorado, the Colorado Senate approved HB 1220 on March 29 by a unanimous vote; the measure would set a new, lower limit for the number of plants a medical patient or caregiver may raise in a residential area. Senator Bob Gardner sponsored the bill to change the statewide cap in an attempt to cut down on outsized grows that could become tools of cartels.

Amendment 64 permitted Coloradans to have six plants for recreational purposes, but medical patients and registered caregivers were allowed up to 99 plants unless local rules called for lower limits. New Mexico has the next highest limit: twelve immature and four mature plants.

President Donald Trump has a plan to stop the opioid epidemic, and (surprise!) it doesn’t involve cannabis.

The president’s latest executive order lays out a blueprint for a commission that will address the nation’s opioid epidemic. Drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in this country: The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) reports that there were 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015, and 2 million people had a prescription pain-abuse disorder.

Cannabis has been widely discussed as an alternative for opioids, but there’s no indication that the commission will consider its medical benefits. In fact, marijuana-hater Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, has been chosen to chair the commission. Others on the panel include Attorney General Jeff Sessions, another staunch critic of cannabis, as well as Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and Defense Secretary James Mattis, the Washington Post reports.

Shulkin, a physician who also worked with the Obama administration, is the first non-veteran to lead the VA. Despite marijuana’s federal prohibition, he’s said he’s open to discussing whether veterans can participate in state-run marijuana programs.

As industry advocates gear up to celebrate 4/20, the city’s Social Consumption Advisory Committee is starting to wrap up its work, which means that Denver could soon see legal public consumption every day of the year.

Although the committee meeting on March 24 saw some dispute over the image of the places where public consumption will be allowed under Initiative 300, which voters approved last fall, there was consensus on other issues. For example, members agreed that public hearings over licenses should not be places for people to vent about legalization or the implementation of social use; those are realities that Denverites are just going to have to deal with.

The details of special-event permitting sparked more discussion, though, particularly events allowing dual consumption: alcohol and cannabis.

If you want to keep a marijuana meeting going smoothly, don’t mention Reefer Madness.

The second-to-last meeting of Denver’s Social Consumption Advisory Committee took an interesting turn on March 24 when Dan Landes, the group’s business representative and owner of City, O’ City and the soon-to-reopen Campus Lounge, used that term — and offended some members of the committee.

Concerned that the committee was making requirements for social-use applications too complicated, Landes said he was worried that many small businesses would be barred from applying. “I wonder when everybody imagines what this marijuana social consumption area looks like, what they have in their head?” Landes asked. Most of the people he’d heard from — either personally or when they reached out to the committee — with ideas about implementing social consumption under the provisions of Initiative 300 are not bar owners or coffee shop proprietors, Landes pointed out; they’re entrepreneurs hoping to add cannabis into an already established business or recreational activity.

On March 18, a report on a research study linking marijuana use to strokes and heart failure will be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 66th Annual Scientific Session in Washington, D.C. According to outcomes presented in the data, cannabis users have a slightly higher risk for heart problems — and the research shows that there are even cannabis receptors in heart cells.

Using data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), a database of information from more than 1,000 hospitals around the country, researchers compiled records from patients 18 to 55 years of age who were discharged in 2009 and 2010. Hospitals in forty-four states and Washington, D.C., contributed data to the NIS database, according to lead researcher Dr. Aditi Kalla.

Charles Smith grew up in a tough part of Los Angeles, and by the time he was fourteen, he was already involved in dealing marijuana for one of the city’s most prominent gangs: the Inglewood Family Gangster Bloods. To keep him from getting in deeper, when he was fifteen his mother sent him to live with his father, an Army vet, in Colorado.

But that didn’t keep him out of trouble. At the age of seventeen, Smith was arrested in Denver for possession and distribution of marijuana. A year after he was released from prison, at the age of 23, he was arrested again, this time for armed robbery. Sentenced to 64 years in prison, he was sent to Colorado State Penitentiary in 1998. Five years later, he was moved to Fremont Correctional Facility.

When he first went to prison, Smith was angry, violent, mad at the world. But then he found both God and Stephen R. Covey.

A Denver City Council committee met on March 13 to consider a presentation by the Marijuana Industry Group, which made a case for extending the hours of operation for dispensaries in the city. If approved, dispensaries would be able to stay open until midnight instead of 7 p.m.

Every municipality in Colorado that allows recreational marijuana sales has later hours than Denver, according to Kristi Kelly, MIG’s executive director, who also serves on Denver’s Social Consumption Advisory Committee. Dispensaries in Boulder and Aurora are open until 10 p.m., and dispensaries in neighboring Edgewater and Glendale are open until midnight.

For the first time in recent years, all three Colorado chapters of NORML came together to lobby for cannabis on the state level. Denver NORML, Southern Colorado NORML and Colorado NORML joined forces on Tuesday, March 7, to educate state lawmakers on some key cannabis measures, including SB17-184, the Private Marijuana Clubs Open and Public Use bill.

“It was a first,” says Jordan Person, executive director of Denver NORML, who also notes that for the first time, women are running each of the three chapters.

Four months after opening up the application process, the Aurora Marijuana Enforcement Division awarded the city’s 24th and last retail store license to the Green Solution.

“The Green Solution is a professional corporate organization that is focused on security, compliance and interested in being a partner with the City of Aurora and its officials and citizens,” says Robin Peterson, manager of the Aurora Marijuana Enforcement Division, who notified all applicants of the decision via e-mail on February 27.

Dear Stoner: I’m confused about the plant count for cannabis home grows in Denver. Are they different from the State of Colorado’s limits?
Pat S.

Dear Pat: Many towns and municipalities throughout Colorado, including Denver, have plant limits that differ from the state’s. For a definitive answer on Denver, I reached out to Dan Rowland, citywide communications advisor for Denver’s Office of Marijuana Policy, who says this: “The answer is yes, they are different and can vary from city to city. In Denver, adults may grow up to six plants, but it is illegal for there to be more than twelve plants in any residence, regardless of how many people live there and regardless of their medical patient/caregiver status and/or individual plant-count allowances. For growing in non-residential-zone lots (and not in licensed cultivation businesses), adults may grow up to six plants, but it’s illegal to have more than 36 plants per zone lot, regardless of how many people are growing there.”

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