Search Results for: hickenlooper

Gov. Hickenlooper Orders Pesticide-Tainted Marijuana Destroyed

COLORADO:  Colorado’s governor ordered the destruction Thursday of marijuana treated with unapproved pesticides, his first action on the matter after months of product recalls and media warnings about unhealthy pesticides on pot.

The executive order by Gov. John Hickenlooper called marijuana treated with certain pesticides a “threat to public safety” and said it should be destroyed.

The governor acknowledged that there’s scant scientific evidence about which pesticides and fungicides are safe to use on marijuana, but he said that questionable pot should be destroyed until more is known.

“When a pesticide is applied to a crop in a manner that is inconsistent with the pesticide’s label, and the crop is contaminated by that pesticide, it constitutes a threat to the public safety,” the order said.

NORML Head Rips John Hickenlooper for Calling Colorado’s Pot Legalization “Reckless”

By Michael Roberts

COLORADO: Yesterday during a debate with Republican gubernatorial rival Bob Beauprez, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper described Colorado voter’s legalization of marijuana as “reckless.” In response, Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, calls Hickenlooper a hypocrite — and that’s not all.

As originally reported by the International Business Times’ David Sirota, Hickenlooper was asked during the debate, sponsored by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, what he would tell other states thinking about legalizing cannabis.

“Any governor that looks at doing this before we see what the consequences are, I would view it as reckless,” he replied.

Would that same term apply to Colorado voters? In response to that query, Hickenlooper said, “I think for us to do that without having all the data, there is not enough data, and to a certain extent you could say it was reckless. I’m not saying it was reckless because I’ll get quoted everywhere, but if it was up to me I wouldn’t have done it, right. I opposed it from the very beginning. In matter of fact, all right, what the hell — I’ll say it was reckless.”

This isn’t exactly a new position for Hickenlooper. Back in 2012, he actively opposed Amendment 64, the measure that ultimately legalized limited marijuana sales to adults 21 and over in Colorado; it passed with more than 55 percent of the vote. His statement about the proposal reads:

Colorado is known for many great things — marijuana should not be one of them. Amendment 64 has the potential to increase the number of children using drugs and would detract from efforts to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. It sends the wrong message to kids that drugs are okay.

Federal laws would remain unchanged in classifying marijuana as a Schedule I substance, and federal authorities have been clear they will not turn a blind eye toward states attempting to trump those laws. While we are sympathetic to the unfairness of burdening young people with felony records for often minor marijuana transgressions, we trust that state lawmakers and district attorneys will work to mitigate such inequities.

St. Pierre’s take? He understands that Hickenlooper is in a tough battle against Beauprez, who opposes marijuana legalization. But that doesn’t mean he thinks Hickenlooper’s making the right move.

“I think he’s surely caught up in an election,” he allows, “which is unfortunate, because he’s a former brewer and a seller of a drug far more dangerous than marijuana. And he also contacted NORML specifically asking for donations to his reelection, because he is championing a change of law. So it seems rather hypocritical to turn to an audience and say he thinks what the people did was reckless. What we’re seeing is a politician in full election mode.”

Do Hickenlooper’s actions belie his comments at the debate? St. Pierre argues that they do.

“In fact, Hickenlooper supports these reforms,” he says. “He has championed them against a federal government that has otherwise opposed them, and against his own law-enforcement community, which definitely opposed them. So he’s trying to have it both ways, like most politicians want it. Behind the scenes, he’s a legalizer with a capital ‘L.’ But when he’s in public, he speaks about recklessness and Cheetos.

“If I were a resident of Colorado and had a business related to cannabis in the state, I would want my governor to commit one way or the other and stop trying to have it both ways. Either he’s a person who believes adults can access these products just like they do alcohol, or he’s not. And behind the scenes, he believes otherwise. He believes this is an industry, he believes the industry’s viable, he appreciates the industry’s taxes. So he needs to be much clearer regarding what he believes adults in Colorado should be able to do in the privacy of their homes, which is what the law relegates people to right now. That’s a lot different thank walking around with the President of the United States in a beer hall.”

St. Pierre acknowledges that in comparison with all the other issues with which a governor has to grapple, marijuana is “a small slice of the pie. But in many ways, he’s been almost spineless on this topic. I can’t believe a smart politician would say to people that they were reckless — which might be a code term for dumb — but ‘now I want you to vote for me.’ That’s a very strange dynamic to set up politically.”

To St. Pierre, Hickenlooper can be characterized as “an overly repentant liberal” — his list includes Jerry Brown, Diane Feinstein, Michael Bloomberg and Project SAM’s Patrick Kennedy — “who are liberal in every sense of the word but cannot get over their previous use of a herbal drug that didn’t seem to impair them in their lives in any way.”

Moreover, St. Pierre continues, the typical politician “would kill to be as popular as marijuana. Usually in votes about marijuana, we get 54 percent, 55 percent — I’ve seen votes as high as 64 percent. Hickenlooper is a very smart, aspiring, ascending politician. But on this issue, he’s got a very blind side.”

Hickenlooper: Marijuana Regulators Have Done ‘A Very Good Job’

COLORADO:  When Colorado voters passed a ballot measure in 2012 legalizing marijuana for recreational use, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) was in the minority voting no. But two years later, eight months into the legalization experiment, Hickenlooper says he’s pleased with the way his state has handled voters’ wishes.

“I think [state regulators have] done a pretty good job. Not perfect, but all things considered, I think they’ve done a very good job,” he said in an interview in his office at the state Capitol. “I’m a constant-improvement person, so I always see ways to make things better.”

State officials are continuing to fine-tune regulations on the nascent cannabis industry. This month, the Department of Revenue issued draft rules that would limit the amount of THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, to 10 milligrams from 100 milligrams in serving sizes of edible pot products. The rules would also require child-proof packaging and clear labels identifying the product inside as containing THC.

 

Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper, Washington Gov. Insleee Call For Banking Flexibility For Marijuana Businesses

COLORADO: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee wrote to federal regulators Wednesday asking for flexibility in federal banking regulations so state-licensed marijuana businesses have access to the banking system. [Read more…]

NORML Responds To Steve Cook Addressing Marijuana Policy At The Department Of Justice

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: In response to the Department of Justice detailing Steve Cook to address marijuana policy, Justin Strekal, Political Director for NORML stated:

“Steve Cook and Jeff Sessions are advocating for the failed policies of the “Just Say No” era — policies that resulted in the arrests of millions of otherwise law abiding citizens who possessed personal use amounts of marijuana. At a time when the majority of states now regulate marijuana use, and where six out of ten votes endorse legalizing the plant’s use by adults, it makes no sense from a political, fiscal, or cultural perspective to try to put this genie back in the bottle. It is high time that members of Congress take action to comport federal law with majority public opinion and the plant’s rapidly changing legal and cultural status.”

The Cole Memo, a Justice Department memorandum, authored by US Deputy Attorney General James Cole in 2013 to US attorneys in all 50 states directs prosecutors not to interfere with state legalization efforts and those licensed to engage in the plant’s production and sale, provided that such persons do not engage in marijuana sales to minors or divert the product to states that have not legalized its use, among other guidelines.

During a Q and A with reporters in Richmond, VA in March, Jeff Sessions  said “The Cole Memorandum set up some policies under President Obama’s Department of Justice about how cases should be selected in those states and what would be appropriate for federal prosecution, much of which I think is valid,”

But while the Justice Department contemplates its next move, state politicians are taking action. Recently, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) issued a letter to the new U.S. Attorney General and to Secretary of Treasury Mnuchin calling on them to uphold the Obama Administration’s largely ‘hands off’ policies toward marijuana legalization, as outlined in the Cole Memo.

“Overhauling the Cole Memo is sure to produce unintended and harmful consequences,” the governors wrote. “Changes that hurt the regulated market would divert existing marijuana product into the black market and increase dangerous activity in both our states and our neighboring states.”

“Given that Sessions has recently reiterated that the Cole Memo is valid, Steve Cook would be wise to maintain the current interpretation and not interfere with the right of states to set and enforce their own marijuana policies,” concluded Justin Strekal, Political Director of NORML.

Trump, Lamestream Media & Cannabis

Donald Trump really hasn’t said much about marijuana as president-elect/president. His administration meanders from strong to modest opposition, depending on who’s talking. This is because cable news is in a nebulous area where media personalities, the president’s staff, channel advertisers, and occasionally everyday people brief Trump from the comfort of his TV. Cannabis, like everything else, is hostage to the news cycle.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer first said the administration was looking at “greater enforcement.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and top Justice Dept. advisor, Steven Cook, have a dim view of all criminal justice reforms from the Obama years. They’ve had recent harsh words for legal pot, yet Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper recently described a meeting with Sessions where the AG stressed the administration’s other priorities over enforcement against legal pot.  “Well you haven’t seen us cracking down, have you?” Sessions reportedly told the governor.

Still, a Justice Dept. review of the non-legally-binding Cole memo, which outlined expectations of state legalization in 2013, is said to be underway. Trump’s early executive order on crime was mostly a call to review and enforce laws against drug trafficking and criminal organizations, with no new authority or money to fight pot.

As a candidate Trump said he was 100% supportive of medical cannabis, as president that support has shown itself to barely be barely 50% in maintaining a status quo with HHS Secretary Tom Price, formerly a not-totally-anti-medical-cannabis congressman from Georgia and the continuation of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer budget amendment which blocks DEA spending on state-compliant medical cannabis laws until September. And Trump’s Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agency has expanded Form 4473 for gun sales to make clear that no legal marijuana consumers, medical or otherwise, has 2nd amendment rights.

Then, Trump’s White House proposed to gut the ONDCP, or drug czar’s office, budget by over 90% while establishing an special commission to examine the opioid epidemic headed by New Jersey’s “smoke ‘em while you got ‘em” Gov. Chris Christie, perhaps the most specifically anti-pot member of the Trump team, yet also the farthest from controlling that federal weed policy. What does all of this mean?

President Trump listens to these men, and others, on marijuana policy. However, their views on weed played little role in their ascendence in his government as opposed to their outright loyalty and deference to Trump himself. He doesn’t keep them around because he agrees with their extremist views on pot. But he listens to one advisor above all else: Cable news. As much as he may say he hates it, mainstream media is the central issue brief for America’s president, academics and political research filling in the rest (probably). Evidence abounds…

“As president, Trump has quite patently gathered his cues from cable shows, and the evidence surfaces in his Twitter account. Analysts have taken to tracing the substance of his tweets to programming moments on CNN or Fox News.”

“Some White House officials — who early on would appear on TV to emphasize points to their boss, who was likely to be watching just steps away in his residence — have started tuning into Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” because they know the president habitually clicks it on after waking near dawn.” – Erik Wemple/Ashley Parker The Washington Post

“White House staff have learned to cater to the president’s image obsession by presenting decisions in terms of how they’ll play in the press.” -Josh Dawsey, Politico

“MSNBC and Fox News are cashing in on Trump’s viewing habits, reportedly hiking up ad rates in February “as companies and outside groups try to influence Trump and his top lieutenants” through ads on his favorite networks.” -Elaine Godfrey, The Atlantic

Trump wants all his weed policies to be broadly popular and perceived as the strongest and best. That’s not news. What is news is that press briefings, media surrogates, and high ranking government officials used to be reliable attempts to describe an administration’s decided drug policy. Now, they’re active arguments to the president regarding an undecided one.

Used to be, federal pot statements were carefully orchestrated and approved soundbytes. Now, they’re often jockeying for future validation for putting on a popular show. It’s depressing, but cannabis is no third rail in getting this treatment, healthcare, taxes, immigration, civil rights, foreign affairs and been treated similarly.

So media around cannabis laws is more crucial than ever both for influencing the commander-n-chief, feeling out his staff’s arguments, and judging individual players overall influence. This ranges from dramatic reports of arrests and injury, to human interest pieces on patients in need or entrepreneurial green businesses. Cannabis law reformers talking to the press better behave, the president might be watching. For the public, this results in a type of “read between the lines” comprehension of news that reformers have long engaged in when judging media veracity, but is becoming a mainstream lenses for the public.

In last month’s budget debate, the White House did little to stop the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment protecting state medical marijuana programs, with Trump later asserting his ability to enforce constitutional duties even with that amendment on the books in the law’s signing statement. Some news outlets immediately interpreted this as a warning shot to medical patients. In all likelihood, the president wants flexibility and firmness simultaneously, and his discretion on this and many other parts of the budget strongly keep his options and opinions amorphous. Its disappointing because he had the opportunity to lead a conversation on individual rights, safety, and economic instead of perpetually reacting to it.

A lot of people know not to trust everything they hear on TV, and as an internet commentator, I’m not saying otherwise. But, knowing what and how pot is being talking about on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox is not a sign of being duped by “lamestream news” so much as trying to understand pot’s portrayal to the president at any given moment. During the campaign, Trump promised to keep the country in suspense on whether or not he’d accept election results. On cannabis at least, that promise has been kept.

If President Trump was going to war with legal pot, he won’t hesitate to tweet it. You don’t have to like every CNN commentator or Fox & Friends to contact them and share your support for legal weed. Until then, follow cannabis in the news without obsessing over it. Our president has that covered.

 

Colorado Has Backed Off Plans For Marijuana Clubs

By Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press

COLORADO: Colorado lawmakers have backed off plans to regulate marijuana clubs, saying the state would invite a federal crackdown by approving Amsterdam-style pot clubs.

The state House voted Thursday to amend a bill that would have set rules for how private pot clubs could work.

It was a dramatic reversal. Bring-your-own pot clubs had bipartisan support in the Legislature, and the measure had already cleared the GOP Senate.

But lawmakers bowed to Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who repeatedly warned lawmakers that he would veto a club measure if it allowed indoor pot-smoking. The governor also warned that clubs, and a separate proposal to allow pot delivery, might invite intervention from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Given the uncertainty in Washington, this is not the time to be . trying to carve off new turf and expand markets and make dramatic statements about marijuana,” Hickenlooper told The Denver Post last month.

Sponsors of the club bill said that they had little choice but to back off, leaving Colorado with its current spotty club landscape.

Colorado already has about 30 private pot clubs, according to legislative analysts, but they operate under a patchwork of local regulations and are sometimes raided by law enforcement.

Clubs in Colorado frequently operate in a similar manner to pot clubs in states where pot isn’t legal, with small groups meeting up to smoke in a secret location members sometimes call “Dave’s House,” a reference to an old Cheech and Chong skit.

The House amendment passed Thursday effectively removes club regulations, and the remaining bits of the bill are relatively minor. The bill could face yet more changes before a final vote. Lawmakers who bemoaned the club bill’s demise cited U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has hinted that states violating federal drug law won’t be tolerated.

“I’d like to see (a club bill) that goes much further, and that does a lot more, but in a year with Jeff Sessions, a small first step is better than no step at all,” Democratic Rep. Jonathan Singer said.

Not everyone agreed with the change, saying Colorado is wimping out by backing off.

“It only makes sense to allow people to have a place to where they can (smoke marijuana) where it’s controlled and confined,” said Republican Sen. Tim Neville, who sponsored a separate club bill that failed because it would have allowed clubs to sell the marijuana people would smoke, similar to a bar selling alcohol.

“We have legalized marijuana. Where do we want people to use it if not at home? On the street?”

The Colorado bill would have made it the first state to regulate clubs statewide

Alaska pot regulators decided earlier this month to delay action on a measure to allow on-site pot consumption at marijuana dispensaries, or “tasting rooms.”

Ballot measures approved by voters last year in California, Maine and the city of Denver would allow either on-site pot consumption or so-called “social use” clubs, but regulations for how those clubs would work haven’t been settled.

Colorado Set To Prohibit Marijuana Co-Op Growing Operations

By Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press

COLORADO: Colorado was set Monday to outlaw marijuana growing co-ops soon after the state Senate unanimously approved a bill making it a crime for people to cultivate recreational pot for other people.

The bill supported by the office of Gov. John Hickenlooper passed 35-0 but it was unclear when he would sign it. There are no state estimates on how many collective recreational marijuana growing operations exist in Colorado, though they are popular among users who share the cost of electricity, water and fertilizer to grow their pot.

Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, but it has a nagging black-market problem. Law enforcement and state lawmakers attribute the black-market problem in part to weak restrictions on who can grow pot.

The Colorado state constitution authorizes people over 21 to grow their own pot, or to assist someone else in growing pot. That language allows groups to designate a single “farmer” to care for their marijuana plants, allowing them to avoid pot taxes that approach 30 percent, depending on the jurisdiction.

But police groups and Hickenlooper, a Democrat, have called on lawmakers to curb the practice of assisting other recreational pot users.

The bill had already passed the House.  The governor plans to sign another bill this week in the state’s pot crackdown. It limits the number of marijuana plants that can be grown in a home to 12 plants, which would force medical marijuana users authorized to grow more than 12 plants to grow it in agricultural or commercial locations or to buy it from dispensaries that tax marijuana.

Hickenlooper plans to sign that bill this week, his office said.  The bill passed Monday also provides $6 million a year in marijuana tax revenues to give law enforcement agencies more money to investigate illegal pot growing operations.

After Two Years, Debate Remains Over Marijuana Legalization’s Impacts

COLORADO: Ask Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper how marijuana legalization is going, now almost two years into a historic initiative of allowing licensed stores to sell cannabis to anyone over 21, and he offers this:

“In many ways, the first two years of marijuana legalization has been a testament to Coloradans and our ability to work together.”

Hickenlooper praises opposing sides for settling on common pot policies that he believes have so far helped the legalization rollout go smoothly. But what he stops short of saying is whether legalization, overall, is positive or negative for the state.

And that’s because nobody really knows yet.

Year Two of recreational marijuana sales in Colorado turned out to be Year Two of the impatient wait to find out whether this is a good idea.

 

Rocky Mountain High: Marijuana Industry Push Back On More Rules

COLORADO:  The powerful Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce “[has] not and will not” endorse the latest proposed changes to the state ‘s edible marijuna regulations that call for the placement of a “THC Stop Sign” on each pot-infused package and marijuana serving.

A Cannabis Chamber spokesman told Food Safety News the marijuana industry group cannot go along with the “stop sign logo as we believe it is sending a political message to stop THC.”

Almost two years ago, when Colorado became the first state to make recreational marijuana use legal, it led to the birth of a booming new industry that infuses food and beverages with marijuana. The state currently has 134 manufacturers licensed to make “infused” food and beverage products.