john hickenlooper

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Colorado: Gov. Hickenlooper Meets With AG Sessions, Hopeful Administration Will Maintain Status Quo


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper met with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and came away with the feeling that a federal crackdown on states with legalized marijuana is not likely, the Denver Post reports. Hickenlooper’s Chief of Staff Doug Friednash indicated that Sessions is more focused on other priorities, such as the proposed border wall, than he is with legal marijuana markets.

Friednash said that Sessions viewed the 2014 Cole memo as “not too far from good policy.” The Cole memo directs the Department of Justice to not interfere in state-sanctioned cannabis programs.

Hickenlooper pointed out to the attorney general that since legalization there has been no rise in teenage cannabis use in the state, and that emergency room visits have steadily decreased as officials have enacted laws to better regulate cannabis-infused edibles.

Colorado lawmakers backed off a plan earlier this month to legalize cannabis social clubs, after Hickenlooper indicated he did not support the plan due to fears that it could attract federal intervention.

Colorado: Lawmakers Back Off Plan To Legalize Social Cannabis Clubs

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Lawmakers in Colorado have backed down from a plan that would have legalized social cannabis clubs after Governor John Hickenlooper expressed disapproval, saying that the move could attract a crackdown from the Trump Administration, according to an Associated Press report.

The proposal was approved last month, after it originated in the Colorado Senate with bipartisan support. House lawmakers ultimately turned down the measure, however.

Gov. Hickenlooper said last month that he would veto any cannabis club measure allowing indoor smoking that came across his desk, saying that “given the uncertainty in Washington … this is not the year to be out there carving off new turf and expand markets and make dramatic statements about marijuana.”

There currently are about 30 cannabis clubs operating in Colorado, all private clubs operating under local laws.

The social use measure would have been the first statewide acceptance of social cannabis clubs.

The legislature's retreat demonstrates the uncertainty felt by lawmakers in legalized states about the Trump Administration, who has so far refrained from making a firm statement one way or another about its stance on the marijuana legalization laws that have been passed in Alaska, California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and Washington D.C.

Colorado: Lawmakers Pass Bill Outlawing Cooperative Marijuana Grows


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Colorado’s legislature has passed another bill as part of their efforts to reign in the state’s so-called cannabis gray market, the Associated Press reports. If the governor signs it, the measure would outlaw cannabis cultivation co-ops, which allow people to grow plants for others under the state’s adult-use laws.

Under current state law, people over 21 are allowed to grow their own cannabis or assist others, allowing a single farmer to cultivate crops for an unlimited number of people, which allows the growers to avoid taxes that can reach as high as 30 percent in some jurisdictions.

The bill also allocates $6 million a year from the marijuana tax fund for law enforcement in order to help them investigate illegal grows.

Governor John Hickenlooper indicated that he would sign another bill this week that limits the number of marijuana plants allowed to be grown by an individual from 99 to 12. That legislation would force medical cannabis cardholders allowed to grow more than 12 plants to grow in locations zoned for agricultural or commercial purposes, or buy from licensed dispensaries.

Colorado: Proposed State Crackdown On Marijuana Home Grows Getting Weaker


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A plan to crack down on home marijuana grows in Colorado is heading to the governor's desk after lawmakers changed the bill to give medical cannabis patients more leeway.

A Senate committee voted 5-0 to limit the number of plants grown to 12 per residential property statewide. Current law allows up to 99 plants.

Lawmakers changed the bill to allow medical marijuana patients and their caregivers to grow up to 24 plants, if they register with state and local authorities. Registration is presently required only if the patient has more than 99 plants.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and lawmakers from both parties have said the marijuana crackdown is a top priority as the state awaits word of how the new federal administration plans to treat marijuana states.

Among 28 states with legal medical marijuana, Colorado is the only one that allows patients to grow more than 16 plants at home.

“It is time that we fix this before someone comes in and fixes it for us,” said Greenwood Village Police Chief John Jackson, speaking on behalf of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police.

Lawmakers amended the bill to make it a misdemeanor, instead of a felony, to be caught with too many plants until the third offense.

Colorado: Governor Hickenlooper Invokes States' Rights On Recreational Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper appeared on NBC's "Meet The Press" with Chuck Todd Sunday, where he invoked states' rights when asked if Attorney General Jeff Sessions might enforce federal law against the recreational use of marijuana.

Hickenlooper told Todd that he opposed recreational marijuana in 2012, when 55 percent of Colorado voters made personal use of the substance legal for adults 21 and over.

"It's in our constitution," Hickenlooper said on Sunday. "I took a solemn oath to support our constitution. So, I am -- and it's interesting, it's the sovereignty -- the states have a sovereignty just like the Indian tribes, just like the federal government does. So, it's an interesting--"

"You don't think it's clear that the federal government could stop you? You don't think it's a clear-cut case?" interrupted host Chuck Todd.

"Exactly. I don't think it is," Hickenlooper replied. "And I think it's certainly -- it's never my choice to be in conflict with federal law. Let's make that clear.

Colorado: Governor Has Advice For Other States About Legalizing Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Four years ago Colorado became one of the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults. Governor John Hickenlooper opposed the law, but voters overwhelmingly approved the measure.

Now the Democratic governor finds that he is the first one other governors call for advice on pot. “You don’t get to choose what your legacy is,” he said.

California Governor Jerry Brown, who opposed his state's measure to legalize recreational marijuana, called Hickenlooper in the weeks before that measure was voted on.

Hickenlooper said he gives the same, specific advice to anyone who calls him. "We didn’t regulate edibles strongly enough at first,” he said in an interview this week at a gathering in Coronado of the Western Governors’ Assn. He referred to a spike in emergency room visits by children who had eaten marijuana products.

“Ingestion of edible products continues to be a major source of marijuana exposures in children and poses a unique problem because no other drug is infused into a palatable and appetizing form,” wrote Dr. Sam Wang, a physician at Children’s Hospital Colorado and the lead author of a report about the increased number of emergency room visits published in July.

Colorado: New Bill Allows Parents To Send Medical Marijuana To School With Their Kids

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has signed a bill allowing parents to send medical marijuana with their kids to school.

The law only applies to students who have a license to use non-smokeable marijuana.

All of Colorado’s 177 school districts are required to follow the policy according to the new law.

The districts can opt out if they can prove that they have lost federal funding because of the policy or if they place an easy to find explanation on their website as to why they are opting out.

The law also said that if any district loses federal funding, the state will reimburse whatever is lost.

Students need two recommendations from a doctor and an official okay from the Colorado Department of Public Health before they can take medical marijuana at school.

Oregon: Gov. Kate Brown Appoints Marijuana Policy Adviser

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oregon Governor Kate Brown created a new position for her administration: a senior adviser on marijuana policy.

Jeffrey Rhoades, a veteran Multnomah County prosecutor, will advise the governor on all marijuana issues.

Rhoades begins his new job on June 2, with an annual salary of $94,448.

"It's not a day too early as far as I am concerned," said Ivo Trummer, the governor's legislative director, speaking to Oregon Cannabis Association members at an event held at the Laurelhust Club in Southeast Portland.

In 2014 Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper created a high-level post dedicated to marijuana policy. Andrew Freedman is Colorado's director of marijuana coordination, which focuses on regulating the state's medical and recreational markets, as well as promoting public health, public safety and keeping marijuana away from kids.

In Washington, cannabis is part of the governor's public safety adviser's job.

In a statement Friday, Brown said Rhoades will help "create responsive regulations in what is still a new industry."

"Jeff will be mindful of my focus on public safety, user awareness and educating youth as this burgeoning new business sector takes root," Brown said.

Trummer said that Brown's administration is eager to work with Oregon's marijuana businesses.

Colorado: Governor Who Opposed Marijuana Legalization Now Says It's Working Well

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Colorado became the first state in the union to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. Many were skeptical about the law, including Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), who called legalization reckless at the time. Now, about a year and a half since marijuana was first legally sold in the state, Hickenlooper appears to be acknowledging that legalization is, in fact, working well.

Hickenlooper said in a recent panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles that despite opposing the legalization of marijuana, his job was "to deliver on the will of the people of Colorado. It's beginning to look like it might work."

Hickenlooper told Maria Bartirimo of Fox Business several months ago that legal pot was "not as vexing as we thought it was going to be."

And on "60 Minutes" he predicted that Colorado might "actually create a system that could work" in successfully regulating marijuana.

Despite some issues in the early days of legalization, crime is down, unemployment remains low, and about $100 million in revenue has been brought in by the marijuana industry.

Since Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia have done the same. Maine and California will vote on the issue this November.

Colorado: Marijuana-in-schools Bill Sent To Governor

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A bill was sent to the governor of Colorado Tuesday that would guarantee students' ability to use medical marijuana at school.

The Senate gave unanimous approval to the bill,which earlier passed the House wit a vote of 56-9.

“I have a niece that has epilepsy and needs to use cannabis to take care of that problem, so I understand,” said Rep. J. Paul Brown of Ignacio, who had initially opposed the bill.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, has said that he will sign the bill.

“My son, if he needed medical marijuana and he needed it during the day while he was in school, I’d want him to have that opportunity,” Hickenlooper said.

“Those kids have every right and expect that they should be able to have access to those medicines, and they haven’t. My hope is that this bill... motivates those schools to make sure these kids can get the medication they apparently need.”

Some districts worry that marijuana remains illegal on the federal level, which could result in a loss of federal funding.

The bill was amended to allow schools to opt out if they can prove that they would lose federal money, though supporters of the bill say it is highly unlikely that federal officials would pull funding.

Several other states have required schools to create policies allowing medical marijuana, which has not resulted in a loss of federal funds.

Colorado: Senate Passes Bill To Require Medical Marijuana Testing

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Medical marijuana products will be required to be tested by certified facilities in Colorado starting this summer. Already required for recreational marijuana, House Bill 16-1064 will also make it a requirement for medical marijuana.

The Colorado House passed the bill last week, and the state Senate passed it on March 8. The bill will enable facilities to get a medical marijuana testing license.

"This brings testing in line with the other three MJ business types — stores/centers, grows and marijuana-infused products — that have both medical- and retail-license types," said Daniel Rowland, communications adviser for Denver's Department of Excise and Licenses.

"I think it's great that medical is finally being tested," says Jeannine Machon, owner/founder of CMT Laboratories LLC. "Lab owner or not, it's about time. It should have always been tested...because the patient deserves to know exactly what they're getting dosed."

Testing facilities will be required to submit the applicable paperwork, and pay an additional licensing fee. According to Rowland, the amount of the fee has not been determined.

"This was kind of a clean-up bill," says J. Paul Brown, who represents the 59th District. La Plata County, one of the six counties in Brown's district, had requested that he sponsor the bill. This was Brown's first marijuana bill, and he says it was a safety issue: "We need to be able to test the product so the consumer knows exactly what they're getting."

Colorado: Cannabis Chamber Adopts Voluntary Edibles Standards


The Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce (C4), a state association of 43 parent companies that employ more than 1,600 people, on Wednesday announced the adoption of new, voluntary edible standards that encompass both manufacturer and retail business members.

“I am proud to announce that members of the C4 organization, along with our Board of Directors, began discussing this initiative to address these concerns in the fall of 2015,” stated Tyler Henson, C4 president.

“C4 has worked to ensure our members adopt manufacturing and sales standards which recognize that legal marijuana should only be consumed by adults," Henson said. "This is done in good faith and in the spirit of cooperation with cannabis regulators, community leaders, and our elected officials as we work together to continue to advance both public safety and robust industry standards.”

The newly adopted standard is as follows:

C4 manufacturers will no longer produce or sell marijuana infused edibles that are in the shapes of humans or animals. Animal shapes such as gummy bears, gummy worms, “sour patch kids”, and others items will be prohibited.

As a business organization, C4 is committed to producing products that are marketed and sold only to law-abiding adults over the age of 21. C4 members will thereby begin to phase out all these products – with an estimated complete implementation date of October 1.

Colorado: Feds Reject Marijuana Bank


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The federal government has dealt yet another setback to attempts to provide banking services to the marijuana industry.

The Federal Reserve, in a Wednesday court filing, said it doesn't intend to accept any money connected to cannabis sales, because marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, reports the Associated Press.

The stance, taken in response to an attempt by a Colorado-based company, appears to signal a shift in the position of the federal government. Last year, the U.S. Treasury Department had issued rules for how banks can accept marijuana money.

"We're frustrated," said Andrew Freedman, in charge of marijuana coordination for Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. "We tried to do the most with the building blocks of instructions they sent us, set up the most rigorous solution. And we still are left with confusion."

The court filing came in a legal tussle between the Federal Reserve and Fourth Corner Credit Union, established in 2014 to serve Colorado's marijuana industry, now worth $700 million annually.

Fourth Corner can't open without permission from the Federal Reserve, which said in its court filing that "transporting or transmitting funds known to have derived from the distribution of marijuana is illegal."a

Colorado: Governor Now Says Legal Marijuana Helps State's Fiscal Health


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, once a vocal critic of marijuana legalization, has changed his tune. Maybe it was the stacks of cash.

The Democratic governor told Fox Business Network that cannabis is "not as vexing" as he thought it would be. Hickenlooper partly tied Colorado's strong fiscal health to the popularity of, and economic opportunities connected to, the legal marijuana industry.

"It's all those young people coming and they look at marijuana and say, 'Hey, we can drink whiskey; why can't we have a legalized system with marijuana?'" he said on FBN.

"If you look back, it has turned out to be not as vexing as some of the people like myself" first thought it would be, Hickenlooper said.

The governor had forcefully spoken out against legalizing pot in the past, and said "Colorado is known for many great things -- marijuana should not be one of them."

But now that he's seen the green light, Hickenlooper said the state has been busy "building a regulatory system, making sure we keep it out of the hands of kids, making sure we keep our streets and roads safe."

Photo of Gov. John Hickenlooper: Daily Camera

Colorado: Gov. Hickenlooper Uses Scare Tactics In Marijuana Prevention Campaign


Hickenlooper’s Marijuana Prevention Campaign Eerily Reminiscent of Failed “This is Your Brain” Effort

Approach Emphasizes Scare Tactics over More Effective Reality-Based Education

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has introduced his administration’s marijuana prevention campaign to deter underage consumption -- and unfortunately, it uses scare tactics rather than a reality-based approach. The campaign is slated to waste $2 million of taxpayer money.

The theme of the campaign is marijuana’s potential impact on the developing adolescent brain, using the slogan “don’t be a lab rat.” The administration plans to place human sized rat cages throughout the city of Denver, particularly at high-traffic bus stops.

While flashy and memorable, the campaign has raised concerns among advocates who question the credibility of this approach. Drug policy reformers and prevention experts invoke the cynicism generated by 1980s-era scare tactic efforts such as the notorious “This is your brain on drugs” ad, widely recognized today as far more attention grabbing than drug deterring.

Advocates recommend instead an approach that focuses on credible drug education delivered through programs and initiatives that focus on overall youth health and development. Reality-based efforts engage students and prevent the cynicism resulting from simplistic scare tactics. Furthermore, to be successful, parents and/or guardians should be directly involved in drug education and prevention efforts.

Washington: First Recreational Marijuana Stores To Open Tuesday


The first stores where adults can legally purchase marijuana in Washington State are set to open on Tuesday, roughly six months after Colorado launched what is so far seen as a successful effort to regulate sales of the drug there. The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) on Monday issued the state's first 24 marijuana retailer licenses.

At least three retail shops will open on Tuesday, reports Tony Dokoupil of NBC News: Cannabis City Seattle, Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham and The Freedom Market in Kelso.

The state faces a huge backlog for licenses, with only 18 license reviewers trying to process thousands of applications. The first grower approvals didn't happen until March, which left very little growing time to stock the shelves.

That's given rise to a predictable shortage of recreational marijuana, and more and more irate entrepreneurs. Some have already gone under as opening day was delayed again and again, due largely to Washington's foolish decision to scrap the existing medical marijuana market and create the recreational marijuana market from scratch.

Colorado: Lawsuit Claims Marijuana Taxes Violate 5th Amendment


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A lawsuit was filed on Monday in Denver District Court by activist attorney Robert J. Corry, Jr., seeking to permanently end Colorado's marijuana taxes on the grounds that paying them violates a citizen's Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination -- since marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Corry goes beyond that, accusing Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock of violating the federal "Kingpin" statute (the federal law against operating "continual criminal enterprises") for collecting taxes on a federally illegal substance, reports Denver Direct.

The complaint was filed on behalf of an unnamed licensed medical and recreational marijuana store, as well as the "No Over Taxation" issue committee, which worked against Proposition AA, a marijuana tax issue approved by Colorado voters last year. Also signing onto the complaint were Kathleen Chippi, Larisa Bolivar, Miguel Lopez and William Chengelis.

Corry is seeking a refund of all marijuana tax monies collected by Colorado, as well as unspecified damages.

In the event that the suit is successful, it could be the basis for overturning all regulations regarding marijuana in Colorado, on the same grounds. As long as marijuana remains illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act, states can't require people to give any information about themselves in order to buy or distribute it, Corry claims.

Colorado: Hershey Sues Company Over Lookalike Marijuana Candies


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Hershey Company is suing a Colorado company which makes marijuana edibles, claiming the packaging of TinctureBell's products is so similar to those made by the Pennsylvania-based chocolate and candy company that consumers can't tell the difference.

The trademark infringement lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Denver, claims the Ganja Joy bars made by TinctureBell look too much like Almond Joy bars made by Hershey, reports Daniel Wallis at MSN.

Besides the alleged trademark infringement, Hershey's lawsuit claims TinctureBelle "also creates a genuine safety risk with regard to customers, including children, who may not distinguish between Hershey's candy products and defendants' cannabis" and might eat the cannabis-infused candies by mistake.

Voters in Colorado approved Amendment 64, which legalized recreational cannabis for adults, back in 2012.

Last month, Gov. John Hickenlooper tightened the rules on edibles and concentrates, as media hype increased around sensationalistic press accounts such as Maureen Dowd's ill-advised consumption of an entire 16-dose candy bar. (Dowd was fine, other than the horribly misleading column she wrote about it.)

Colorado: Governor's Mansion Gets Draft Beer System; Marijuana Activist Holds Toga Protest


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado marijuana activist Mason Tvert, unhappy that the Governor's Mansion recently installed a draft beer system, put on his toga Friday afternoon and held a protest "toga party" outside Gov. John Hickenlooper's official residence.

The draft beer system, which was finished just in time for a private beer party at the mansion Friday night, was paid for by private donors, reports Ryan Parker at The Denver Post. The system has three taps that feature rotating Colorado-made beers.

Tvert, wearing a sheet, appeared behind a podium with a "Colorado Governor's Mansion" sign with "Governor's Mansion" crossed out and replaced with "Delta House," a reference to the 1970s fraternity party movie Animal House. He called the new beer system "home-brewed hypocrisy."

Tvert, the director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, said he showed up in a toga because Gov. Hickenlooper is "turning the governor's mansion into a fraternity house."

"This is just another example of the pro-alcohol, anti-marijuana culture," said a toga-clad Tvert.

While others attended the protest, Tvert was the only one wearing a toga.

Gov. Hickenlooper co-founded a downtown pub in the late 1980s, and frequently mentions his fondness for Colorado beers.

"He should be ashamed," Tvert said. "It's a hypocritical message."

Gov. Hickenlooper's spokesman, Eric Brown, took a light-hearted view of the protest.

Colorado: $2 Million In Marijuana Sales Taxes - In First Month


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Legalization is raking in the cash for Colorado, where state coffers are $2 million fatter from taxes on recreational marijuana from January, the very first month it was legal to sell non-medicinal cannabis in the Rocky Mountain State.

State officials said the numbers are about what they expected, reports Katie Lobosco at CNN Money. Colorado on New Year's Day became the first state to allow the sale of recreational marijuana to adults 21 or older; it's considered the first place in the world where cannabis will be tracked and regulated "from seed to sale."

The state gets a 15 percent excise tax, a 10 percent "special" sales tax and a 2.9 percent sales tax on recreational cannabis, as well as application and license fees. Just the 2.9 percent sales tax, and the license and application fees, apply to medical marijuana, which Colorado voters legalized back in 2000.

Recreational and medical marijuana, considered together, brought in about $3.5 million in taxes for Colorado in January, reports Carla Mozée at Wall Street Journal Market Watch.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper expects the state to get about $134 million in taxes from the cannabis industry in the next fiscal year. He wants much of the marijuana tax money will be used in programs aimed to keep kids from using cannabis.

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