The Prince Of Pot

COLORADO:  At a Colorado Democratic caucus a few years ago, Scott Martinez hoisted his 4-year-old son onto his shoulders, stepped up to the microphone and spoke out in the party’s debate over the legalization of weed. He was staunchly against it, and as the debate grew hotter, his opponents accused him of using his kid as a prop to sway their vote. They were right, he admitted.

And he didn’t win. Soon enough, in fact, he would have to explain to his son that daddy’s new job would mean being the boss of the very same law they had tried to snuff out.

Welcome to the Mile High City, where the responsibility for rolling out legalized marijuana falls squarely on Martinez’s shoulders. Though just 36, he’s Denver’s city attorney — one of the youngest in the country — and was appointed to that position by the mayor. That means he’s lead counsel for all elected city officials and departments, including 11,000 employees, as well as chief counsel for Denver International Airport. All sorts of cases come across his desk, from those involving police brutality to racial discrimination and even inmate deaths. But one of his primary jobs these days is, well, pot management.

Denver Marijuana Tax Refund: Plan For City Ballot Measure Passes First Step

COLORADO:  Denver voters in November may decide whether the city can keep its first-year haul from a 3.5 percent special recreational marijuana sales tax.

The city’s ballot question would join  a likely statewide measure asking the same questionabout $58 million collected by the state last year from its separate marijuana tax. In Denver’s case, at stake is nearly $5.3 million.

A City Council committee approved the wording 5-0 Wednesday. The measure is expected to get the council’s final sign-off June 8.

Both the city and the state must ask voters to let them keep the entire amounts because of rules under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. A booming economy resulted in higher revenue for both last year than had been projected when voters approved the state and local taxes on recreational marijuana.

Where Do Denver City Council Candidates Stand On Marijuana Rules?

COLORADO:  Sixteen months after Colorado launched legal recreational marijuana sales, the center of the burgeoning industry in Denver is asking to extend shops’ evening closing hours and revisit the outright ban on public consumption.

And many City Council candidates in Tuesday’s election are receptive — including several with a good shot of winning or proceeding to a runoff.

Industry concerns center on competing with pot shops in neighboring cities that have closing hours later than Denver’s 7 p.m. cutoff for both recreational and medical stores. Some in the industry also want to provide tourists with safe, legal places to smoke or consume their purchases, since hotels typically don’t allow it in rooms.

Bill Would Allow Medical Marijuana In Schools For Children

COLORADO:  With three days remaining for lawmakers to wrap up this year’s legislative business at the state Capitol, one of the important bills remaining would allow children to bring medical marijuana to schools.

The bill could help more than 500 children in the state. Some of the children have moved to Colorado with their families to get help and to have access to marijuana.

The bill is designed to help children who have to live with seizures and muscle spasms. They can take a strain of marijuana that is low in THC, but many can’t go to school because of drug-free zones.


Nevada Lawmakers Take Colorado Marijuana Tour

NEVADA:  With smiles, selfies and a few nervous chuckles, a group of Nevada legislators and policymakers got a first-hand look at Colorado’s fast-growing legal marijuana industry this weekend, coming face-to-face with thousands of green growing plants.

The small group is part of Nevada’s efforts to understand what legalization could mean. The Silver State has permitted medical marijuana, and now there’s talk voters might be asked to legalize recreational pot next year.

The group met its Colorado counterparts, and toured several marijuana stores, including the high-tech, 40,000-square-foot Medicine Man in Denver, one of the state’s largest.

Marijuana Industry Hosts Big, Three-Day Investor Summit In Denver

COLORADO: The convention floor at Denver Airport’s Crowne Plaza this sunny Tuesday afternoon in April could be the trade show for any well-established industry — gray-haired execs in conservative suits mingling with office park dads in polos and fresh-out-of-college types in brand-emblazoned T-shirts. Only this is a new kind of business conference with a special Colorado theme: legal weed.

As states and cities follow Colorado’s lead and consider legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, the cannabis market looks less like a music festival and more like a Silicon Valley confab, upscale, data-driven and focused on investors.

Vendors and potential financiers at this month’s Marijuana Investors Summit say the current market for legal marijuana is more than $3 billion in the 23 states that have already legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational use. Expanding that market, they say, will require not just drug reform legislation, but also a consistent infusion of capital at a time when the marijuana economy still exists in a legal gray area — one where the drug is permitted in some states, but still outlawed at the federal level.

Estimated 125,000 Turn Out For Two-Day 4/20 Rally In Civic Center

COLORADO: As the last night of the annual 4/20 rally in Denver’s Civic Center park comes to a close Sunday, crowds remain large and diverse.

Rally founder Miguel Lopez said more people showed up to the rally Sunday than Saturday.

“There’s still, surprisingly, a large number of people here,” Lopez said around 6:30 p.m.

The event, which began Saturday and runs through Sunday night, features a full lineup of music, including a concert by rapper Rick Ross at 4:20 p.m. Sunday. Gates are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the free public event, with a ticketed after-party running 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the McNichols building.

Between Saturday and Sunday night, Lopez estimated about 125,000 filled the park to browse marijuana-themed merchandise and discuss the pot industry.


Police In Colorado Issue Dozens Of Citations At 4/20 Marijuana Events

COLORADO:  Denver police said there were no major problems as marijuana celebrations continued for a second day on Sunday, but police tweeted a reminder that while recreational use of marijuana is legal in Colorado, people still can’t use it in public.

Police spokeswoman Raquel Lopez said there was no estimate on the number of people who turned out on Saturday and Sunday, including many tourists who flocked to Colorado to take advantage of legal marijuana.

An estimated 125,000 showed up in Denver for its annual weekend celebration, according to The Denver Post.

“We’d prefer not to be buzzkills this 4/20 weekend. Consume responsibly, and designate a sober driver now,” police tweeted on Sunday.


Thousands To Begin 4/20 Pot Celebrations In Colorado

COLORADO:  Thousands of tourists and marijuana activists are getting an early start celebrating the unofficial stoner holiday of 4/20.

Concerts, rallies and festivals are planned through the weekend. Among the biggest is a public festival and concert in downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park. And just north of downtown this weekend is the High Times U.S. Cannabis Cup, a celebration of the drug.

Police are reminding celebrators that Colorado doesn’t allow public consumption of the drug. But the law is widely flouted, especially around the 4/20 celebrations.

The celebrations continue Sunday and Monday. The origins of the number 420 as a code for marijuana are murky. But fans of the drug have long marked April 20 as a day to enjoy pot and call for increased legal access to the drug.

Cannabis Cup Highlights Marijuana’s Latest Products, Policy Developments

COLORADO:  With 420 approaching, it’s time for our annual reminder: Don’t do anything that might bring shame to Denver, Colorado, or marijuana legalization in general.

This weekend’s Cannabis Cup, a trade show for those in, or interested in, the bud industry, is doing its part to keep the jackassery to a minimum by disallowing and sales or giveaways of weed-related intoxicants. This should put it in stark contrast to the Great American Beer Festival, which every October floods our downtown streets with loopy, pretzel-necklaced nimrods.

The Cannabis Cup will unfold like a typical trade show, with representatives from all over the country in town to showcase their latest wares and forge new business alliances. Among the dozens of companies that will attend are Duby (get it?), which will debut its newest app that allows marijuana users to share their experiences anonymously with other enthusiasts and make recommendations about products and vendors. Mary’s Medicinals will be displaying its range of MMJ products, including its newly released Rescue Tonic, which promises to combat the effects of the overconsumption of edibles. And just ahead of the show, go-to reviewer Leafly has released its latest list of Denver’s top retail outlets.