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A bizarre story out of Ohio in which a woman burned off her fingerprints to hide her identity has a Colorado connection — one that appears to pertain to Ann Marie Miller, a onetime medical marijuana caregiver charged with assorted crimes who has been written about in other capacities in the past.
The name’s the same and many of the details are extremely similar in a story that’s strange and getting stranger. Denver Westword has more.

Joe Mabel
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes speaking at the 2012 Seattle Hemp Festival.

Legal sales of limited amounts of cannabis to adults 21 and up began in Washington state yesterday, with long lines an high prices the theme of the day ($160 quarters?!).
But those issues aside, it was also a monumental day as the state became the second in the nation with open, recreational pot shops. It was one that Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes personally wanted to celebrate, so he stood in line and bought some pot.

Additional photos and more below.

Today marks six months since recreational marijuana sales began in Colorado, still the only state where such purchases can be made. (The first licensed retail shops in Washington are expected to open on July 7.) By the January 1 launch, eighteen stores had been licensed in Denver, and since then, the total has grown steadily. Some outlets have come and some have gone, but the latest total, as vetted by Westword‘s Amber Taufen, stands at a whopping 88 — fifteen more than our previous update in April.
All the licensed shops are included here, along with photos, videos, links and excerpts from reviews of the ones visited by Westword marijuana critic (your’s truly) William Breathes. See the countdown thanks to Michael Roberts below.


So, the new Pope isn’t down with pot. What a shocker.
After riding an almost unprecedented wave of mainstream popularity, Pope Francis somehow surprised a whole lot of stoners last week by officially condemning cannabis use, as well as the rising tide of legalization, in a speech given to the International Drug Enforcement Conference.

Sheila Gallagher.

It’s not necessarily the type of issue that school superintendents take up, but would-be state schools chief Sheila Gallagher says legalizing pot to pay for schools is among her top priorities.
Gallagher, who is running for the statewide position, says that current attitudes around cannabis are changing. People are going to use cannabis, she says, so why not tax it and put the money to good use: the state’s children.

Sean Azzariti. See more photos and a video below.

Earlier this week, an effort to add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions legally treatable by medical marijuana in Colorado failed — a development Colorado cannabis advocate Brian Vicente described as “shameful.”
Veteran Sean Azzariti offered emotional testimony in favor of the bill and admits to being frustrated that the effort fell short again, just as it did in 2010 and 2012. But while he’s disappointed, he has new reasons for hope for a change in the future.

Big photos and more below.

It was a Happy Halloween at Lightshade Labs, judging by this photo from the store’s Facebook page. But it’s probably an even happier March, since two Lightshade branches are among the latest shops licensed by the City of Denver to sell recreational marijuana. In the two-plus weeks since our last update, Denver has okayed seven more stores, bringing the official total to 54. All of them are included here in this list compiled by Westword’s Michael Roberts, along with photos, videos, links and excerpts from reviews of the ones visited by Westword marijuana critic William Breathes. Count them down below.

The Mile High City.

Legal marijuana sales have been going on in Colorado now for just about two months, and so far the sky hasn’t fallen. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Marijuana taxes are pumping money into state coffers and (despite high prices) the shops have all operated without any federal intervention.
Want to know which ones are open and what they are like? Our friends at the Denver Michael Roberts at the Denver Westword has been compiling a list of all 47 recreational dispensaries in the city so far, including links to reviews of most of the shops themselves. Page down for more.

Be careful what you wish for. That is the lesson being realized today by pro-cannabis advocates and activists in America’s Finest City.

San Diego, California

Yesterday, on a nearly unanimous 8-1 decision, the San Diego City Council finally cast a meaningful vote on establishing an official medical marijuana business ordinance in the city, laying down a law on pot shops for the first time since the California Compassionate Use Act, commonly referred to as Prop 215, was passed nearly 18 years ago.

Toke of the Town

You may have heard the sarcastic saying that “95% of statistics are made up on the spot”. It is beginning to look like that may be the case for the decades-old study on addiction rates by the National Institute on Drug Abuse(NIDA) that both pro- and anti-cannabis supporters cite when they say that roughly 9% of marijuana users will become addicted.
The same NIDA study, released in a trade journal named Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology in 1994, actually places pot near the bottom of the list, if that 9-10% figure is to be believed. Marijuana advocates can point to the study and show that addiction rates, according to the study, are much higher in substances like heroin (23-25%), cocaine (15-20%), or even tobacco (20-30%) and alcohol (15%), but progressive thinkers on the topic feel that even 9% is way off on weed, and that the number is truly much lower.

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