Amendment 64

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Colorado: Recreational Marijuana Stores Stocking Up For January Sales Debut

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The first state-licensed marijuana retailers in modern times will open on January 1 in Colorado, serving the state's cannabis users with a newly legal system instituted by Amendment 64, approved by voters last year.

Possession, cultivation and private use of marijuana by adults have already been legal in Colorado for more than a year under the new law, but the first marijuana retailers will finally open on New Year's Day, reports Keith Coffman atReuters.

Operators of the first eight cannabis retailers scheduled to open Wednesday morning in Denver, as well as a handful of stores in other cities, are anticipating a big demand for store-bought, legal weed.

"It will be like people waiting in line for tickets to a Pink Floyd concert," said Justin Jones, owner of Dank Colorado in Denver, who has run a medical marijuana dispensary for four years and now has a recreational pot retailer license.

"This is groundbreaking," said Mike Elliot, spokesman for the Medical Marijuana Industry Group of Colorado. "We are away ahead of Washington state, Amsterdam and Uruguay."

Washington state voters legalized marijuana for adults (although not cultivation) on the same day Colorado voters did so, but marijuana still isn't commercially available in the Evergreen State, and won't be for at least six more months, due to stifling bureaucratic regulations.

Colorado: Location Set For First Modern Legal Marijuana Sales To Adults

3-DDispensaryDenver

Denver Issuing Marijuana Retail Store Licenses

Amendment 64 campaign leaders to hold January 1 news conference at 3-D in Denver — a licensed marijuana retail store with on-site cultivation facility

Leaders of the campaign that made marijuana legal in Colorado will gather January 1 at 3-D (Denver’s Discreet Dispensary) — a licensed retail marijuana store with on-site cultivation facility — to recognize the first-ever legal marijuana sales to adults.

A news conference with the owner of 3-D will be held at 7:30 a.m. MT on Wednesday, and the first sale will take place at 8 a.m. MT. The store is located at 4305 Brighton Boulevard in Denver.

The Denver Department of Excise and Licensing began issuing the first local marijuana business licenses on Friday, December 27, and 3-D is set to receive one. It received its state license earlier this week from the Colorado Department of Revenue.

The first customer in January will be Sean Azzariti, a Denver-based Iraq war veteran who can now legally use marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Azzariti appeared in a Yes on 64 campaign television ad last year in which he discussed how legalization would benefit those suffering from PTSD — a condition that is not covered under Colorado's medical marijuana law despite repeated efforts to add it.

WHAT: First-ever retail marijuana sales to adults and news conference with leaders of the campaign that made marijuana legal in Colorado

Colorado: First Marijuana Business Licenses Issued; Legal Cannabis Sales For Adults To Begin January 1

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Amendment 64 campaign leaders will hold a news conference on the morning of January 1 at a Denver marijuana store — with an on-site cultivation facility — to recognize first-ever adult marijuana retail sales

First customer will be a Denver-based veteran with PTSD who uses marijuana to alleviate his symptoms; the former Marine appeared in a Yes on 64 television ad discussing how legalization would benefit Coloradans with PTSD — a condition not covered by the state's medical marijuana law

The Colorado State Department of Revenue issued the first licenses to marijuana businesses in Colorado on Monday, December 23. Retail marijuana stores will begin selling marijuana to adults 21 and older on January 1.

The state approved 348 total licenses, including 136 for retail stores, 178 for cultivation facilities, 31 for product manufacturing facilities, and three for testing facilities.

Leaders of the campaign in support of Amendment 64, the successful ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol approved in November 2012, will hold a news conference at 7:30 a.m. on January 1 at a Denver marijuana retail store that includes an on-site marijuana cultivation facility. The specific store will be announced later this week.

Colorado: Stores May Run Out Of Weed When Legal Marijuana Sales Begin Jan. 1

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado voters last year approved Amendment 64, legalizing marijuana possession, cultivation and sales for those 21 and older. But when recreational pot stores open on January 1, 2014, they may run out of weed, according to many experts.

Although more than 100 stores have applied, complicated licensing rules and operational regulations may mean that only about a dozen pot stores could open on New Year's Day, reports CBS News.

"We are definitely going to run out of cannabis," said Toni Fox, owner of Denver's Discreet Dispensary, reports Gabrielle Karol at Fox Business. "The question is when."

Fox expects to get clearance to open on January 1, and estimates her stock will be depleted by January 6. She expects to sell to at least 100 customers a day.

"We're anticipating $300,000 in revenue in January," she said.

Although Coloradans approved recreational marijuana legalization, about 70 cities across the state have banned pot shops. Cities not allowing recreational marijuana stores include Colorado Springs, the second-largest city in the state.

Colorado: It's Legal To Smoke Marijuana On Your Front Porch, Says Denver City Council

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Denver City Council on Monday overwhelmingly approved allowing adults to smoke marijuana on their front porches and private property, even if it's in clear public view.

In a 10-3 final vote, the council approved a measure eliminating the controversial front-yard cannabis smoking ban introduced last month, which had previously appeared poised to pass with a 7-5 vote, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post.

"Fortunately, common sense ultimately prevailed," said Mason Tvert, a key supporter of Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana in Colorado. "If adults are able to consume alcohol -- and even smoke cigarettes -- outside on their own property, there's no logical reason why they should be prohibited from using a less harmful substance," said Tvert, who is communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project.

"City officials need to move on and focus their time and attention on getting the necessary regulations in place to ensure these businesses are able to open on January 1," Tvert said. "There is no need for further proposals designed to prevent adults from being able to use marijuana responsibly."

A widely reviled first draft of the law would have banned even the smell of marijuana, or the sight of someone smoking marijuana, if it could be smelled or seen by anyone else.

Colorado: Denver Considers Limiting Home Cultivation of Marijuana

JeanneRobb

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Denver City Council, busily making rules around marijuana use ever since Colorado voters decided to legalize cannabis with the Amendment 64 vote last year, will next week decide whether to limit the number of pot plants that can grown at home.

The ordinance would allow up to six marijuana plants per adult for recreational use to be grown in a home, but set a maximum of 12 plants per dwelling unit, reports Jeremy Mayer at The Denver Post.

Some cannabis advocates say the plan would disproportionately affect veterans and medical marijuana patients, but Councilwoman Jeanne Robb, who sponsors the ordinance, claimed it comes from "safety concerns."

"The police are very worried about the homegrows and the problems they could cause, fires, pesticide use, the mold, structural damage, children who might be living in these areas and THC on surface areas," Robb claimed. "They really want to be able to go in and have law enforcement ability to do our zoning."

Robb's supposed concerns, which echo the talking points of an anti-pot group called Smart Colorado, "seem pretty weak," according to Jacob Sullum at Forbes.

Colorado: Recriminalization? Denver Council Bans 'Visible' Pot Smoking In Yards and On Balconies

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Ignoring opposition from marijuana advocates and civil libertarians, the Denver City Council on Monday night voted to ban people from smoking legal marijuana in private yards or on balconies if the activity can be seen from the street or sidewalk.

The council passed the measure on a 7-5 vote on the first reading, report Lance Hernandez and Jaclyn Allen at The Denver Channel.

"Everyone up here tonight is going to make some enemies," Councilman Charlie Brown, normally a strong advocate of regulating marijuana, told his fellow council members. "I can't support it," he said. "I believe in individual property rights."

"Government can't solve all these problems," Brown said. "And neither can our police department."

"I would rather see police going after serious drug problems than playing security patrol for the Stepford Wives," one opponent of the ordinance told the council.

But a parent who favors the ordinance claimed that allowing residents to smoke cannabis in their front yards "undermines our conversations with our children by making it appear OK." (Umm... wait, I thought it was legal now?)

It's ridiculous that people can drink on their own property, but are prohibited from smoking marijuana in the same locations, according to cannabis advocate Mason Tvert, a major backer of Amendment 64, the legalization measure approved last year by Colorado voters.

Colorado: First-Ever Marijuana Retail License Issued In Colorado

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State-regulated businesses to begin selling marijuana to adults on January 1, 2014

What is being called "the world's first-ever marijuana retail license" was issued in Central City, Colorado on Thursday. The recipient of the local license, Annie's, which is currently operating as a medical marijuana center, still must receive its state license. Businesses in localities across Colorado are scheduled to begin selling marijuana to adults 21 and older starting January 1, 2014.

"Colorado is moving forward and leaving marijuana prohibition behind," said Marijuana Policy Project director of communications Mason Tvert, who co-directed the successful campaign in support of the statewide ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Colorado.

"For the first time in history, those who sell marijuana are receiving licenses from the state instead of rap sheets," Tvert said. "Marijuana will be sold to adults by legitimate, taxpaying businesses instead of drug cartels in the underground market.

"Colorado is proving to the rest of the world that marijuana can be regulated like alcohol," Tvert said. "It will not be long before voters and lawmakers in other states decide to adopt similar policies. Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and it is finally starting to be treated that way."

Colorado: Denver Scales Back Strict Rules For Legal Marijuana; Back Yard Toking Allowed

DenverPublicToking

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Denver is scaling back a proposed law against "open and public consumption" of marijuana after an earlier version, passed in response to cannabis legalization, would have banned even the smell of pot from back yards.

A new draft of the law introduced to the City Council on Monday would allow people to toke up in their back yards, and also, unlike the first draft, would allow them to possess cannabis in parks and on the 16th Street Mall, reports Jeremy P. Meyer at The Denver Post. The ordinance would make violations petty offenses that carry a maximum $100 fine and/or 24 hours of community service.

Marijuana industry officials had said the tough proposed rules would have effectively recriminalized marijuana, legalized or adult use by Colorado voters last November under Amendment 64. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the proposed law would be unconstitutional.

The new draft of the proposed ordinance chucks the language calling the smell of pot "open and public consumption," leaving odor complaints under the authority of Environmental Health inspectors.

The draft must still be approved by the Denver City Council. It would allow marijuana "possession," but prohibit "display and distribution" in parks and downtown. Under the rules, adults can possess marijuana, but not "wave it around," according to Councilman Chris Nevitt.

Colorado: Endocan To Enter Medical Marijuana Market In 2014

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Endocan Corporation, a U.S. company specializing in cannabis and cannabinoid formulation-based health and wellness solutions, on Friday made public its ongoing negotiations with third parties in Colorado to start cooperative and joint venture arrangements for production, testing and distribution of Endocan brand products.

"This includes the long-awaited Endocan product line expected for release in early 2014, with Colorado seen as an early target market in the United States for testing in several critical ailment categories," a company press release states.

According to the company, Endocan's presence in Colorado "stems not only from the legal medical cannabis regulatory environment but also from the general openness with which Colorado has embraced cannabis, including the extension of legalization to recreational cannabis use for individuals over the age of 21, with a forward looking regulatory and taxation policy."

"This environment speaks highly of the future of Endocan Corporation's development opportunities in the state, with an estimated $200 million medical cannabis market at this early stage," the press release states.

"Colorado has now been my home for three years, my family having relocated to Colorado Springs," said Robert Kane, chief financial officer and senior vice president of business development at Endocan. "We have found Colorado to be a progressive, open-minded state with a compassionate position on improving the quality of life of its citizens.

Colorado: International Delegation Visits To Learn About Regulating Marijuana

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Government Officials and Legislators from Uruguay, México, and Canada will be briefed by Colorado and Washington officials on Regulations Being Put in Place in the States

With Colorado and Washington State launching the regulated marijuana markets approved by the voters in 2012, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Drug Policy Alliance are hosting an international delegation in Denver this week to learn first hand from Colorado’s experience in regulating marijuana through enacting and implementing Amendment 64.

Comprised of government officials and legislators from Uruguay, México, and Canada, the delegation will be briefed by Colorado and Washington officials on the regulations being put in place in the states. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the delegation will visit cultivation facilities and dispensaries.

As Uruguay moves toward passage of legislation to regulate its domestic marijuana market and the debate over marijuana policy picks up pace in México and Canada, the pioneering steps being taken in Colorado and Washington are being watched closely.

A press conference featuring Jack Finlaw, chief legal counsel to Colorado Governor Hickenlooper, and Barbara Brohl, executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue, as well as members of the international delegation to discuss the visit and their findings, will be at RiverRock dispensary at 4935 York Street, Denver, on Wednesday, October 23 at 3 p.m.

Colorado: Denver's Anti-Marijuana-Smell Ordinance Put On Hold

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The moronic proposed city ordinance in Denver which would impose a year in jail and $999 fine for the smell of marijuana and re-criminalize possession of marijuana in some public places didn't get much of a welcome when a council committee took it up on Monday.

The committee discussed and criticized the ordinance and promised to revisit it, probably rewritten, sometime in the future, reports Jake Ellison at the Seattle PI.

The restrictive proposed rules were part of a backlash to open use of newly legal marijuana in Denver, and lingering concerns about the culture clashes that acceptance of pot brings up, including how kids will perceive cannabis use, whether its use will hurt businesses downtown, and if people will have to learn to tolerate the smell of marijuana, now that it's nominally legal.

Denver Assistant City Attorney David Broadwell first acknowledged that the citizens of the Mile High City have again and again approved measures to relax the marijuana laws, then he outlined the proposal.

Broadwell said an ordinance banning possession of marijuana in some places would hold up in court because Amendment 64 -- the law legalizing marijuana in Colorado -- allows private property holders to ban it. Broadwell said that means the city should be able to ban it on land it owns.

Colorado: First Hemp Harvest In Half A Century Begins

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

America's first legal hemp harvest in more than half a century began this month in Colorado.

Amendment 64, approved by voters last November, didn't just legalize small amounts of marijuana for adults -- it also cleared the way for industrial hemp production. Farmer Ryan Loflin wasted no time; he planted 55 acres of hemp this past spring, reports Melanie Asmar at Westword.

Hemp advocates from across the United States came to watch last week as Loflin and his crew harvested the first plants by hand. "It felt very historic," said advocate Lynda Parker.

"We think that, obviously, this is a symbolic first hemp harvest," said Eric Steenstra, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA). Steenstra predicted that farmers in other states will soon follow Loflin's lead.

Since the federal government doesn't distinguish between marijuana and hemp -- classifying both as a Schedule I controlled substance -- when the federal Department of Justice recently indicated it wouldn't sue to stop state marijuana legalization, Steenstra said that policy should apply to hemp, as well.

The night before the ceremonial September 23 harvest, Loflin hosted a dinner at his farm, featuring hemp-based foods. It was attended by Colorado hemp advocates, as well as national advocates from the Hemp Industries Association, Vote Hemp, and Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps.

Colorado: Hundreds Line Up For Free Joints In Marijuana Tax Protest

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Hundreds of excited people lined up in Denver's Civic Center Park on Monday to get a free joint, as part of a protest against Colorado's plan to heavily tax recreational marijuana.

The protest was courtesy of the No On Proposition AA campaign, which opposes a plan calling for a 10 percent sales tax on recreational cannabis with the option of going as high as 15 percent (with an additional 15 percent excise tax), reports CBS Denver.

According to spokesman Robert Corry, an attorney who represents clients in the medical marijuana business, state leaders are backing a plan that over-taxes cannabis sales, and that's not what voters approved when they passed Amendment 64 last November.

"We have one of the leading alcohol industries in the world here in our state with less than a one percent tax," Corry said. "That's what the marijuana tax ought to be. That's what we support."

Supporters of Proposition AA, including Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown, claim the money is necessary for "proper regulation" of cannabis.

"We will all be affected by this industry and we need to be ready for it -- administratively, from the police perspective and from a public health perspective, and that's what we need this money for," Brown claimed.

Colorado: Regulators Ditch Unconstitutional Rule Treating Marijuana Mags Like Porn

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana publications won't be treated like pornography in Colorado after all, state regulators announced on Thursday in the face of First Amendment lawsuits.

The rule would have forced stores to keep magazines with a "primary focus" away from customers under 21 years old, reports Steven Nelson at US News. It was part of a package of Legislature-approved cannabis regulations sigend into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper on May 28.

The rule is unconstitutional and will be ignored, according to the Colorado State Licensing Authority. The authority issued an "emergency rule" saying "such a requirement would violate the United States Constitution" and Colorado law.

The Colorado Attorney General's office had input on the decision. "We support the laudable goal of keeping retail marijuana out of the hands of those under 21, but that has to be consistent with the Constitution," the attorney general's spokesperson said, reports John Ingold at The Denver Post.

Colorado: Governor Signs Legislation Establishing Legal Marijuana Market For Adults

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper on Tuesday signed historic measures to implement marijuana legalization, establishing the Mile High State as the first legal, regulated and taxed marijuana market for adults since the United Nations Single Convention Treaty on Narcotic Drugs took effect in 1961.

Hickenlooper vocally opposed cannabis legalization last fall when Amendment 64 was on the ballot, saying "Colorado is known for many great things; marijuana should not be one of them." But he signed the bills that will start development of a regulatory framework for the legal marijuana industry, as well as for the cultivation, distribution and processing of industrial hemp, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post.

"Recreational marijuana really is new territory," Hickenlooper said at Tuesday's signing ceremony. He called the bills "common sense," despite his vocal opposition in the past to legalization, reports Kristin Wyatt of The Associated Press.

The governor's chief legal counsel, Jack Finlaw, said although the Hickenlooper administration was opposed to marijuana legalization, "the will of the voters needed to be implemented."

Colorado: Residents Will Smoke More Than 2 Million Ounces Of Weed In 2014

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new study from Colorado State University estimates that Coloradans will use more than two million ounces of marijuana in 2014.

The study, from the Colorado Futures Center at CSU, predicts that some 642,772 state residents -- about 12 percent of the population -- will buy legal marijuana next year, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post.

The researchers believe that each cannabis customer will purchase about 3.5 ounces of pot during the year (seems rather conservative to us), for a grand total of 2,258,985 ounces of weed sold -- about 142,000 pounds, or 71 tons.

The study estimates each ounce of weed will cost about $185; they arrived at that figure by averaging prices at the crowd-sourced website PriceofWeed.com. Based on that price, and with estimated taxes added, Coloradans will be spending about $420 million (yeah, $420 million) on marijuana in 2014.

But that figure, like Coloradans themselves, could get substantially higher. When the data were compiled, recreational marijuana was still illegal, and PriceofWeed.com currently shows the average price of "low quality" marijuana at $222.

Voter-approved Amendment 64 also allows Coloradans to grow their own cannabis, so the numbers could go down if more residents opt to do it the smart way rather than paying retail prices.

Colorado: First Hemp Crop In 60 Years Now Growing

(Photo: Marijuana.com)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado's first industrial hemp crop in almost 60 years is now growing.

Ryan Loftin, a farmer in Springfield, Colorado, on Monday began planting 60 acres of industrial hemp in fields previously used for alfalfa, according to the Denver Post.

He and business partner Chris Thompson are installing a seed press to produce hemp seed oil, reports Patricia Collier of The Associated Press.

Hemp, like marijuana, comes is a form of the cannabis plant. Industrial hemp typically contains little or no THC, the main psychoactive substance in marijuana, but it has dozens of uses in food, fuel, clothing and industrial materials.

(Photo: Marijuana.com)

Colorado: Legislature Gives Final Approval To Rules For Legal Marijuana

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

History was made on Wednesday as the Colorado Legislature gave final approval to a bill asking voters to tax recreational marijuana, moving the Mile High State closer to becoming the first in the the U.S. to pass laws regulating legal cannabis.

The Colorado Senate on Wednesday morning approved the tax measure and another bill spelling out rules for marijuana stores and sent both the the House, reports John Ingold at The Denver Post. The House then quickly passed House Bill 1318, the bill on cannabis taxes, and sent it to Governor John Hickenlooper's desk.

House members will now take up the second measure, covering rules for the pot stores.

The Senate's Wednesday morning marijuana votes came with little discussion. Only Mark Scheffel (R-Parker) stood to speak about the bills on Wednesday, in contrast with Tuesday's lengthy debates on both bills.

Sen. Scheffel said he has reservations about allowing more open and legal access to marijuana (apparently disregarding the fact that the voters of the state obviously have no such reservations). Scheffel claimed he worried about the impact of marijuana legalization "on the kids," but decided to support the tax bill anyway.

Colorado: Lawmakers Discussing Repeal of Marijuana Legalization

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Behind the scenes, Colorado lawmakers are talking about introducing a measure that could repeal marijuana legalization in the state, according to advocacy groups on both sides of the issue.

State lawmakers are considering a bill to tax newly legal marijuana by more than 30 percent. Some of them want to add a caveat to the tax proposal -- that cannabis won't be legal anymore unless voters approve the taxes in November.

Legalization supporters called a Friday morning news conference to decry the effort, reports John Ingold at The Denver Post. "Numerous" lawmakers are looking at putting a measure before voters that would repeal marijuana legalization in Colorado if voters don't agree to a measure on marijuana taxes this November, said Mason Tvert, one of the authors of Amendment 64, the initiative which legalized cannabis.

The tax measure, which was approved by one legislative committee on Thursday and another on Friday, would place state sales and excise taxes on marijuana that could reach 30 percent of the retail price.

So far, no lawmakers have publicly mentioned a proposal to repeal legalization.

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