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Colorado: Marijuana Pesticide Concerns Prompt Liability Lawsuit


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two cannabis users in Colorado -- one of them a medical marijuana patient with a brain tumor -- have sued the largest pot grower in the state for allegedly using a potentially dangerous pesticide on the weed they later purchased.

Brandan Flores and Brandie Larrabee have brought a lawsuit against LivWell Inc., seeking class-action status and alleging the company has for years inappropriately used Eagle 20, a harsh fungicide containing myclobutanil, report David Migoya and Ricardo Baca at The Denver Post.

Neither Flores, who lives in Denver, nor Larrabee, who lives in Grand Junction, claim they were sickened from using the marijuana they got at LivWell, but both say they wouldn't have used it if they had known it was treated with Eagle 20.

"In a larger sense they're saying the marijuana industry can't go on unchecked and someone has to do something to stop these people from using Eagle 20 and other harmful pesticides," said attorney Steven Woodrow, representing Flores and Larrabee.

The two are asking for unspecified financial damages for money they overspent to buy cananbis they said should have been discounted because of the pesticide. The 40-page lawsuit, filed on Monday in Denver District Court, says the fungicide myclobutanil, when heated, produces "poisonous hydrogen cyanide" and alleges that consumers who smoke marijuana treated with Eagle 20 ingest the gas.

Colorado: Patients Sue Over Board's Decision Not To Allow Marijuana For PTSD


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Five PTSD patients on Thursday filed suit in Denver District Court challenging last month's decision by the Colorado Board of Health not to make post-traumatic stress disorder the first condition added to the state's medical marijuana eligibility list in 15 years.

The rejection came despite a recommendation from Colorado's chief medical officer and a panel of physicians.They said that some questions about marijuana's effectiveness as a treatment for PTSD, but that people are using cannabis anyway and the medical inclusion would allow more understanding of how people use marijuana to treat stress related issues.

The Board of Health, however, claimed there is insufficient federal research and denied the PTSD request on a 6-2 vote.

"The board in effect established a standard that was impossible to meet," said Bob Hoban, an attorney for the PTSD patients. "They insist on having a federal study, which in effect is a futile standard."

Authorities have three weeks to respond to the complaint, with no hearing date set. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is also named in the study; a spokeswoman for that department on Friday declined to comment.

Marijuana is legal for adults 21 and older in Colorado, with no medical authorization needed. But medical marijuana is taxed at 2.9 percent, compared with at least 25 percent for recreational weed. Also, medical marijuana patients are legally allowed to possess two ounces of weed instead of just one.

Colorado: Denver Drive Underway To Allow Marijuana Use In Bars


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If cannabis and alcohol are both legal for adult consumption, it would only make sense that it's OK to consume both of them socially in a bar -- wouldn't it?

That's the thinking behind a campaign underway in Denver to ask voters about allowing marijuana use in bars and other places that only allow adults over 21, reports Kristen Wyatt of the Associated Press.

Activists need about 5,000 signatures in order to qualify the question for this November's ballots.

The initiative would allow bars to permit cannabis use as long as customers bring their own stash and obey clean-air laws. That translates to either bringing marijuana infused edibles, or smoking outside on the patio, the way tobacco is regulated now. Outside smoking sites couldn't be publicly visible.

"Marijuana's now a legal product for adults in Denver, and it's really time that we give adults a place to use it legally and socially," said Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which led the 2012 Amendment 64 campaign to legalize recreational cannabis in the state.

"We shouldn't be requiring that you sit at home if you choose to use marijuana as an adult," Tvert said.

Recreational cannabis consumption is illegal in Colorado if used "openly and publicly or in a manner that endangers others." But the law doesn't bar use in private, 21+ clubs; the Denver measure would just clarify what qualifies as a private club.

Colorado: The Fight Is On Over Marijuana Taxes


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Not everyone in Colorado is happy with the proposed sales and excise taxes on recreational marijuana, which, if approved, will kick in on January 1 when sales begin.

A few dozen activists have joined to oppose the state tax rates, saying the taxes are simply too high and will motivate consumers to purchase pot from the black market instead, reports Kristen Wyatt of The Associated Press. They've organized three joint giveaways, which don't violate Colorado law as long as the joints are free and the recipients are 21 or older.

At a joint giveaway in Denver last week, activists jeered dispensary owners who support the tax, and also criticized Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who attended a $1,000-per-plate fundraiser to support the tax.

"If we overtax it, just watch," said Larisa Bolivar, a former dispensary owner who is now executive director of the campaign against the tax.

The taxes, if approved, would be higher than the taxes on alcohol, but lower than the taxes on tobacco. Tobacco has a 34 percent excise tax; state excise taxes for alcohol are 8 cents per gallon for beer, 7.33 cents per liter for wine, and 60 cents per liter for liquor.

The November 5 ballot measure includes a 15 percent excise tax and an initial 10 percent sales tax.

Colorado: Rules Rolling Out for Legal Marijuana Businesses


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Colorado Department of Revenue on Tuesday opened three days of hearings to lay out licensing rules before retail sales of legal marijuana begin in January.

The proposed rules require those who want to enter the cannabis business to pay up to $5,000 just to apply to BE in the business, reports Eli Stokols at KDVR, with no guarantee of acceptance. Operational licenses for retail stores then cost another $3,750 to $14,000, depending on their size. Growers will pay $2,750 per year, reports Kristen Wyatt at the Associated Press.

Those who want to sell both medical and recreational marijuana will have to pay double under the proposed rules.

Applicants must not only have plentiful cash; they must also pass a battery of criminal background checks and state residency requirements. No owners are allowed to live out of state.

All of the revenue will go funding Colorado's regulation of the marijuana industry, according to KDVR. Much of the money will go to cover the cost of a "seed to sale" tracking system, including video surveillance of all plants as the grow, and RFID tags on all packaging to make sure that cannabis grown in Colorado stays there.

Colorado: Governor Signs Legislation Establishing Legal Marijuana Market For Adults


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."

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