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Hal BidlackHal BidlackJanuary 26, 20186min439

Regular readers of my columns (and I want to thank both of you) may recall my previous ruminations on representation as well as on hypocrisy. On representation I mulled over whether an elected senator or congressperson should vote in accordance with the will of the people (the “delegate model” of doing things) or should vote for what he or she feels is in the long term best interest of the citizens, even if it is not the current majority view of the folks back home (the “regent model”). Regarding hypocrisy, well, I really, really dislike it.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 18, 20184min734

In the week the pot pastor entered politics in Weld County, why not hop in the “Cannabis Car” for sing-along and a ride-along?

An Atlanta-based band people way cooler than me listen to, Aviva and the Flying Penguins, has a song Colorado should hear. It’s one of the most popular tracks on the band’s CD “Painted Truth,” Aviva Vuvuzela tells me.

Besides a catchy tune, it brings attention to hemp, a product of increasing prominence in Colorado.

Aviva is a cannabis activist (though she flirted with campaigning to change Columbus Day to Pocahontas Day in Atlanta . — think about it, Rep. Joe Salazar). She learned Henry Ford — this is actually true — created a prototype by cooking up hemp fibers in 1941, and he envisioned a fuel made of hemp, as well.

Seriously.

Ford’s recipe for the plant-based plastic included wheat straw and sisel, as well, but when World War II broke out, the project lost its momentum.

A couple years ago Aviva contacted by Bruce Dietzen, who built himself a cannabis sports car by following Ford’s lead. Dietzen, president of Renew Sports Cars, lives in Miami.

“I have been gigging in Colorado for a couple of years,” Aviva said in an email exchange.

You might have caught her and the Flying Penguins, “fine young chaps,” she said, at Bushwackers Saloon and High Times in Denver, or in Fort Collins at the Noco Hemp Fest and Avogadro’s Number.

“Now, as you know, hemp is growing all over the USA, but it’s not happening quick enough,” Aviva said.

People in Colorado know that’s no lie.

The legislature has passed a handful of bills to normalize hemp for all kinds uses, as well as incentives to invest in hemp industries. State Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose, opened a hemp processing plant next on the Western Slope, and state Rep. Kimmi Lewis, R-Kim, told a town hall crowd last summer that her son is grows a patch of the non-intoxicating plant related to marijuana.

In December, the Colorado Department of Agriculture put a stamp of approval on four kinds of hemp seeds for industrial purposes. And last march the legislature also instructed the ag department to study the potential of hemp as livestock feed.

But getting back in tune here, if “Cannabis Car” isn’t your new favorite song, then “Colorado in July” could be. Sing another one for us, Aviva.


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Jessica MachettaDecember 23, 20174min667
Colorado rules going into effect Jan. 1 are intended to ensure that marijuana packaging doesn’t appeal to minors and that the packages cannot easily be opened. The new rules on labeling should also make it easier for consumers to know what they’re consuming, Mike Hartman, executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue, told Colorado […]

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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyOctober 18, 20173min456

With an eye on fulfilling its promise to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades, Denver has released new environmental best practices for indoor cannabis cultivators.

Through a Denver Department of Environmental Health cannabis sustainability working group, the city released the environmental guide for energy and water use reduction, waste minimization and pest control for the metro Denver cannabis cultivation industry.

The guide offers a picture of the industry’s impact on the local environment and advice on reducing that impact.

“Commercial buildings represent 35 percent of citywide emissions, and as cannabis businesses occupy an increasing amount of commercial building space, the industry plays an important role in helping the community meet its emissions targets,” the guide notes.

Denver is currently home to more than 591 active cultivation licenses, operating out of 295 locations.

To reduce its environmental footprint, the guide makes recommendations including using carbon filtration rather than reverse osmosis for solid waste minimization, water use optimization and energy efficiency; selecting packaging that is made from recycled material and is recyclable and/or compostable; combining heat and power systems, which can reduce emissions by 25 to 45 percent and serve as reliable source of power during outages; and incorporating water recapture and reuse into existing cultivation processes among other best practices.

Denver’s climate plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050, setting lofty goals like a move to all clean, renewable energy by 2030 and requiring new buildings follow “net-zero” standards.

The guide was released ahead of the Cannabis Sustainability Symposium held Tuesday and Wednesday this week in downtown Denver. The event provides education on tools, techniques and technologies for efficient and safe cannabis production.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirSeptember 7, 20176min2467
Chuck Smith

Colorado was the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana, and being the first in anything poses both significant challenges and unique opportunities.

Consider that in just three and a half years, Colorado’s cannabis industry has evolved from opening the doors to the first marijuana retail store to becoming the fastest-growing business sector in the state, creating thousands of jobs and generating more than half a billion dollars in tax revenue. And as a truly local industry with an economic impact of $2.4 billion, the money generated in Colorado stays in Colorado.

Members of the cannabis industry are also an integral part of the community. We are entrepreneurs and small-business owners who create jobs and pay taxes.  Our employees and co-workers include laboratory technicians, farmers and security guards. It is estimated that over 18,000 Coloradans are employed in the industry. We are your neighbors, the parents sitting next to you at PTA meetings, and volunteers at the town fundraiser. And we are proud that marijuana tax revenue has helped fund school drop-out and bullying prevention programs, substance abuse and mental health services, college scholarships, homelessness programs and local road improvements.

The rapid growth of the industry has not come without challenges. By partnering with elected officials and regulators, law enforcement, public health leaders, and others, the cannabis industry has worked hard to help shape Colorado’s comprehensive regulatory framework that protects public health and safety while fostering a positive business climate.  When unforeseen or unintended consequences of legalization have surfaced, we worked side-by-side with those same state and community leaders to find solutions. In fact, Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman recently co-wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling Colorado’s system “a model for other states and nations.”

As business owners, parents, concerned citizens, and proud Coloradans, we take our responsibility to protect the health and safety of the public seriously. We vehemently oppose driving while under the influence of marijuana. But voicing concerns is not enough, which is why industry members are part the Colorado Task Force for Drunk and Impaired Driving and work with the Colorado Department of Transportation on its public education campaign warning of the dangers of impaired driving.

It is also why the marijuana industry has proactively launched public service campaigns on safe and responsible marijuana consumption, including advising consumers not to take marijuana across state lines.  And perhaps most critically, the industry has undertaken numerous steps to ensure children and teenagers don’t have access to legal marijuana. Retail shops enforce stringent ID policies, and the industry has educated adults on ways to keep marijuana in their homes locked away from kids.  The industry has also worked with state regulators and elected officials to ensure edibles have childproof packaging and do not include forms appealing to children, such as animals, people or fruit.

We are encouraged that youth marijuana use in the state has not increased and that the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health actually shows a 12 percent reduction.  And while we are also encouraged to see the number of drivers the Colorado State Patrol considered impaired by marijuana drop 21 percent in the first half of 2017 as compared to same time period the year before, we support the development of reliable detection technology and data collection to make our roads safer.

People may think they know Colorado’s cannabis industry. But too often, it is the stereotypes and one-dimensional portrayals of the industry that shape public perception. As business leaders who believe that a responsible cannabis industry is an integral part of Colorado’s community, we aim to change that perception through public education and fact-based discussions.