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Marianne GoodlandOctober 13, 20176min308
Colorado state Sen. Don Coram on Friday announced a crowdfunding campaign that will draw ordinary investors into the hemp market — the first of its kind in Colorado. The company, Paradox Pride, completed its first harvest of 10 acres of hemp just a few hours before the press conference. The plants will be processed into […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 12, 20174min603
If you want to be an investor in hemp, here’s your chance, courtesy of the legislature and a legislator. Friday afternoon Sen. Don Coram, a Republican from Montrose, and representatives of the state Department of Agriculture will unveil a crowdfunding campaign for a start-up hemp production company called Paradox Ventures. Coram is a founder and […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirOctober 9, 201716min553
If you’re involved in Colorado politics and lean left, there’s a good chance you know Laura Chapin. If you lean right, there’s an even better chance you’ve felt her sting. Ask anyone who’s jousted with her on Twitter, where the Denver-based progressive Democratic strategist and opinion blogger for U.S. News has been known to scorch […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 2, 20174min335

All the news you need to know for greater Rangely can be found in the Rio Blanco Herald, and this weekend the reliable paper reported on local support for hemp in the context of "community, workforce and economic development." A local organization called Better City held a forum last week to talk about what would boost fortunes in the northwest Colorado town of about 2,100. A new grocery store topped the list, but the second highest need named by residents was "marijuana/hemp cultivation." What does Rangely need less than weed? Recreation equipment rentals, a brewpub and a car wash, according to the votes. Online directories suggest the nearest place to buy marijuana, if you live in Rangely, is Grand Junction, an hour and 45 minutes away on clear roads. Those at the Rangely meeting were asked to cite things they thought would help attract or expand commerce, the Rio Blanco Herald said. "County commissioner Jeff Rector emphasized the potential for hemp in the area," the paper reported. Small towns in Colorado and in other states that have legalized marijuana have reported at least a short-term windfall from taxes and economic activity around marijuana, which rang up about $4 billion in sales in Colorado last year. The Colorado Springs Gazette reported in May about how tiny Sedgwick had gone from ghost town to boom town since voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. Hudson built its first school in 55 years with more than a quarter of the $15 million cost coming from pot taxes. Hemp is another matter. The non-intoxicating fiber from pot plants is of keen interest to state legislators.  Besides funding studies to find out the uses and economic benefits of hemp cultivation, some lawmakers are getting in on the ground level. State Sen. Don Coram is growing 10 acres on his farm on the Western Slope and state Rep. Kimmi Lewis said her son grows hemp on the Eastern Plains. The legislature passed four pieces of hemp legislation in the last session: Senate Bill 109 to create a feasibility study on using hemp as livestock feed bySen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, and Rep. Jeni Arndt, D-Fort Collins. House Bill 1148 to register industrial hemp cultivators with the Department of Agriculture, sponsored by Arndt and Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley. Senate Bill 90 to ensure industrial hemp doesn't exceed the the constitutional potency that might make it pot, sponsored by Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs, and Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs. Senate Bill 117 to allow a decreed water right to be used in industrial hemp cultivation, sponsored by Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose, and Reps. Donald Valdez, D-La Jara, and Marc Catlin. R-Montrose.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 21, 20176min84
Sen. Larry Crowder and Kimmi Lewis were all aboard on hemp last session and had no qualms about selling out the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, because the price was right. The Lamar Ledger this weekend provided a thorough accounting of a town hall meeting with the two southern Colorado Republicans last Thursday night at Lamar […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 8, 20176min75
Is paying teachers more the best way to solve the statewide shortage? Maybe a compelling marketing campaign would help attract would-be teachers. What about providing college scholarships to high school students interested in the career? Perhaps it would be best to have a more flexible system that allows people to work as part-time educators while […]

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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJune 26, 20178min94

A group of liberal advocacy organizations for the first time released combined legislative scorecards this week, conglomerating assessments of the 100 Colorado lawmakers’ votes last session on key legislation the organizations said they plan to present to voters next year. A Republican who received among the lowest overall scores, however, dismissed the endeavor as a “political stunt” and told Colorado Politics he doubts the predictable rankings — Democrats good, Republicans bad — give voters any meaningful information.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 20, 20174min460

After a years-long court battle with a neighbor, a West Slope Colorado family has won a jury verdict in Delta County District Court affirming its right to operate a 15,000-hen egg farm under Colorado’s “right to farm” law. The case is said to have far-reaching implications for farming as well as property rights in general, reports Paonia-based High Country News.

Edwin Hostetler was sued in 2011 by a neighbor in rural Delta County who complained of dust and odor she attributed to Hostetler’s egg operation. But leading state officeholders from both political parties as well as state and local agencies stepped in on his side.

As reported by the petroleum-industry blog Western Wire:

In 2014, Colo. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Colorado Department of Agriculture and then-Colorado Attorney General John Suthers (R) filed an amicus brief arguing that the Hostetler farm was protected under the state’s right-to-farm laws, which shield farmers and ranchers using standard farming practices from nuisance lawsuits.

Western Wire spoke with rural Republican state Sen. Don Coram, of Montrose, who went to bat for the farm:

“It’s a situation where, had we lost the first case, if they could shut that down [the chicken farm], they could shut down any business in the state down because of the nuisance,” Coram explained.

“It could have actually gone much farther into situations where there’s a gravel operation, for example,” Coram continued. “It could be used to shut that down or trucking companies starting their trucks at 4 o’clock in the morning; it would shut those down. It goes far beyond agriculture.”

The statute’s legislative declaration reads in part:

It is the declared policy of the state of Colorado to conserve, protect, and encourage the development and improvement of its agricultural land for the production of food and other agricultural products. The general assembly recognizes that, when nonagricultural land uses extend into agricultural areas, agricultural operations often become the subject of nuisance suits. As a result, a number of agricultural operations are forced to cease operations, and many others are discouraged from making investments in farm improvements. It is the purpose of this article to reduce the loss to the state of Colorado of its agricultural resources by limiting the circumstances under which agricultural operations may be deemed to be a nuisance. …