Denver County Fair Expands ‘Pot Pavilion,’ Cancels Beer Pavilion

COLORADO:  The Denver County Fair is canceling its planned beer pavilion in it’s 21-and-older section and doubling the size of its pot pavilion.

This marks the first time in which newly legal marijuana will take center stage over Colorado’s famed craft beer industry.

The pot pavilion — where no actual pot will be allowed, either as plants or in its ready-to-use recreational form — will feature a variety of marijuana competitions, including speed joint-rolling contests, ribbons for best plants, and honors given for best homemade bong and best pot-brownie recipe.

This will be the third time the Denver County Fair has featured a pot pavilion, but it will be larger than ever this year during the August 1-3 event. It has steadily increased in popularity to the point where it’s now the fair’s headlining attraction.

 

 

Colorado Preparing To Spend $9 Million On Medical Marijuana Research

COLORADO:  More than a decade after voters here first said marijuana could be medicine, Colorado is preparing to embark on the largest state-funded effort to study the medical benefits of cannabis.

Under a bill signed this year by Gov. John Hickenlooper, the state health department will give out about $9 million in grantsin the next five years to researchers for marijuana studies. Most importantly, the research is expected to include clinical trials on the kinds of marijuana products actually being used in Colorado — something that federally funded studies on marijuana have lacked.

“Our intent is to be rigorous scientifically, but to also act with some expediency because these are products that a large percentage of our population is using today,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, the executive director and chief medical officer of the health department. “We want to make sure that what’s happening out there in everyday practice isn’t harming people.”

Nearly 20 years after California became the first state in the U.S. to pass a medical marijuana law, the research on marijuana’s health effects is still largely polarized.

Colorado’s Marijuana Sales Are Skyrocketing

COLORADO:  It hasn’t been long since Colorado officially legalized marijuana, and within a short time period, marijuana sales are already flourishing. According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, in March alone, retail taxes on recreational marijuana reeled in $1.898 million to the Colorado government. After adding in medical marijuana sales tax and licenses, the first three months of marijuana sales have yielded a net of $12.6 million in taxes. This should not come as a surprise as it was reported that owners of marijuana stores collectively made $1 million in sales the first day recreational marijuana was legally made available to consumers. With such promising numbers and a continuing upward trend in sales, the legalization of recreational marijuana has had a positive effect on Colorado’s economy.

How Will the Colorado Government Spend the Tax Money?

Initially, the Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper’s proposal included 6 major priority areas to allocate the tax money generated from marijuana sales. He proposed spending $45.5 million in youth use prevention, $40.4 million in substance abuse treatment and $12.4 million for public health. He also hoped to launch a three-year statewide campaign highlighting the health risks associated with marijuana. The plan also included $1.9 million to the Department of Transportation to launch a “Drive High, Get a DUI” campaign.

Lastly, Hickenlooper hoped to allocate $7 million for 105 additional beds in treatment centers for substance abuse. Colorado’s legislative budget committee recently approved a much more modest version of the Governor’s initial proposal. They approved spending $31.4 million for the prevention of youth drug use, addiction treatment, as well as for research and public education campaigns. The committee members made additional tweaks to the plan by shifting the focus from youth marijuana prevention to adult drug treatment. The committee also changed how the money would be spent. The governor’s proposal called for spending the marijuana tax money as it came in; however the committee changed the plan to not spend the money until the year after it is collected. Although this new finalized plan gained unanimous support from the committee, it is likely that there will be more changes before it arrives at the Governor’s desk for approval.

Colorado Governor Responds To New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s Criticism Of State’s Pot Laws

COLORADO: Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is responding to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s criticism of Colorado for its pot shops and legalized marijuana.

Monday, Christie was asked on a New Jersey radio station about legalizing marijuana. He responded, “For the people who are enamored with the idea with the income, the tax revenue from this, go to Colorado and see if you want to live there.”

Hickenlooper defended Colorado and said many people want to live here.

“A lot of people think Colorado is great place to live, work and play. Plus, we have a pretty awesome quality of life. But don’t take our just our word for it … for example:

America’s Top States for Business
# 7 Colorado
#42 New Jersey

Colorado Legislators Take It Slow On Pot Spending

COLORADO:  Legislators proceeded cautiously Tuesday when deciding how to spend marijuana tax money, the state’s biggest and most volatile new source of revenue.

Gov. John Hickenlooper has asked for $54 million in spending from marijuana taxes in order to fund law enforcement, anti-drug programs and health care for substance abusers.

But the Joint Budget Committee wants to wait to spend marijuana taxes the year after they are collected. That would leave the state with just $20 million to spend in the budget year that starts in July.

“If we don’t do this from the onset, we’re going to miss the opportunity to do this right,” said Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver.

Colorado’s Experience With Legal Pot Has Governors Curious

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Colorado Democrat John Hickenlooper has a firm answer to other U.S. governors asking him about marijuana as source of revenue: Just say no.

Hickenlooper said this weekend that about a half-dozen called or asked him at this weekend’s National Governors Association meeting in Washington about his state’s experience legalizing recreational pot. They want to know about the potential to collect money and avoid the costs of enforcement and incarceration, he said.

Colorado projected last week that sales would generate more than $100 million a year toward a general fund of about $9 billion. [Read more…]

Governor: Colorado Pot Market Exceeds Tax Hopes

COLORADO:  Colorado’s legal marijuana market is far exceeding tax expectations, according to a budget proposal released Wednesday by Gov. John Hickenlooper that gives the first official estimate of how much the state expects to make from pot taxes.

The proposal outlines plans to spend some $99 million next fiscal year on substance abuse prevention, youth marijuana use prevention and other priorities. The money would come from a statewide 12.9 percent sales tax on recreational pot. Colorado’s total pot sales next fiscal year were estimated to be about $610 million.

Retail sales began Jan. 1 in Colorado. Sales have been strong, though exact figures for January sales won’t be made public until early next month.

The governor predicted sales and excise taxes next fiscal year would produce some $98 million, well above a $70 million annual estimate given to voters when they approved the pot taxes last year. The governor also includes taxes from medical pot, which are subject only to the statewide 2.9 percent sales tax.

Colorado May Fund Research Into Medical Marijuana, Another First

COLORADO:  Colorado may become the first state to fund research into the medical benefits of marijuana, if the state legislature approves a $7 million request to study how pot can affect everything from post traumatic stress disorder to epilepsy in children.

Marijuana advocates have long complained that most evidence of the plant’s therapeutic benefits is either anecdotal or based on overseas research. Because possession is federally prohibited, it’s nearly impossible for medical researchers to study it as robustly as other drugs.

But with Colorado having fully legalized marijuana use for adults, and with $13 million in the Medical Marijuana Program Cash Fund, Gov. John Hickenlooper allocated about half of it to medical research in his proposed 2014 budget, something no other state has done. [Read more…]

Is It Time For The U.S. To Legalize Marijuana?

COLORADO: Is it high time for the federal government to legalize marijuana?

That’s what pot activists are asking a day after Colorado voters approved a historic ballot measure to tax legal marijuana sales, and Portland, Me., became the first East Coast city to vote to legalize marijuana for adults. [Read more…]

Is It Time For The U.S. To Legalize Marijuana?

COLORADO: Is it high time for the federal government to legalize marijuana?

That’s what pot activists are asking a day after Colorado voters approved a historic ballot measure to tax legal marijuana sales, and Portland, Me., became the first East Coast city to vote to legalize marijuana for adults. [Read more…]