Archive for the ‘Colorado’ category
The tax total reported by the state Department of Revenue indicates $14.02 million worth of recreational pot was sold. The state collected roughly $2.01 million in taxes.
Colorado legalized pot in 2012, but the commercial sale of marijuana didn’t begin until January. Washington state sales begin in coming months.
The pot taxes come from 12.9 percent sales taxes and 15 percent excise taxes. Voters approved the pot taxes last year. They declared that the first $40 million of the excise tax must go to school construction; the rest will be spent by state lawmakers.
Colorado has about 160 state-licensed recreational marijuana stores, though local licensing kept some from opening in January. Local governments also have the ability to levy additional pot sales taxes if they wish.
Monday’s tax release intensified lobbying over how Colorado should spend its pot money. Budget-writers expect the nascent marijuana industry to be extremely volatile for several years, making lawmakers nervous about how to spend the windfall.
Budget-writing lawmakers joke that plenty of interests have their hands out to get a piece of the pot windfall.
Gov. John Hickenlooper has already sent the Legislature a detailed $134 million proposal for spending recreational and medical marijuana money, including new spending on anti-drug messaging to kids and more advertising discouraging driving while high.
State police chiefs have asked for more money, too.
“The whole world wants to belly up to this trough,” said Sen. Pat Steadman, a Denver Democrat who serves on Colorado’s budget-writing Joint Budget Committee.
Other countries also are watching Colorado, which has the world’s first fully regulated recreational marijuana market. The Netherlands has legal sales of pot but does not allow growing or distribution. Uruguay’s marijuana program is still under development.
Colorado’s pot revenue picture is further complicated by the state’s unique budget constraints, known as the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights.
The Bill of Rights not only requires voter approval for tax increases, it limits budget-writers when those taxes earn more than the figure posed to voters. Last year’s pot vote guessed that the taxes would produce $70 million a year, and it’s not clear what lawmakers can do with tax money that exceeds that figure.
Colorado’s JBC plans a Wednesday briefing with lawyers to lay out their options for spending pot taxes beyond $70 million.
“There probably is a tendency to want to just grab on to this revenue from marijuana and feed my own pet projects, and I don’t think it’s going to be that simple,” said Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs and another JBC member.
Colorado’s 2014-15 budget is under debate now and does not include any anticipated recreational marijuana taxes.
Source: Associated Press (Wire)
Published: March 10, 2014
Copyright: 2014 The Associated Press
Moments ago, the Washington, D.C. City Council voted to decriminalize marijuana possession!
The measure removes criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for individuals 18 years of age and older and replaces them with a civil fine of $25, similar to a parking ticket. It also removes penalties for possession of paraphernalia in conjunction with small amounts of marijuana, and it specifies that individuals cannot be searched or detained based solely on an officer’s suspicion of marijuana possession. Public use of marijuana would remain a criminal offense punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a criminal offense punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
The bill goes into effect this summer.
This means that, outside of Washington and Colorado, marijuana penalties are now less punitive in our nation’s capital than anywhere else in the country.
Washington, D.C. has the nation’s highest arrest rate for marijuana possession, according to a report released in June by the American Civil Liberties Union. Blacks accounted for 91% of marijuana possession arrests in the District, and they were eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, despite using marijuana at similar rates. The ACLU’s analysis concluded that enforcing marijuana possession laws, which make up nearly half of all drug offenses, costs the District more than $26.5 million per year. Hopefully, this new bill will have an immediate impact on this injustice.
The Super Bowl bet between Washington and Colorado NORML chapters, along with interviews with NORML board members Rick Steves and Kevin Oliver from Washington, was featured this morning on NBC’s Today Show. Additionally, Marketplace, heard on National Public Radio, also covered NORML chapter wager and the fact that the two teams competing for NFL title are from the states with legal cannabis sales.
Pot at the county fair? Why not? Colorado’s Denver County is adding cannabis-themed contests to its 2014 summer fair. It’s the first time pot plants will stand alongside tomato plants and homemade jam in competition for a blue ribbon.
There won’t actually be any marijuana at the fairgrounds. The judging will be done off-site, with photos showing the winning entries. And a live joint-rolling contest will be done with oregano, not pot.
But county fair organizers say the marijuana categories will add a fun twist on Denver’s already-quirky county fair, which includes a drag queen pageant and a contest for dioramas made with Peeps candies.
“We thought it was time for us to take that leap and represent one of the things Denver has going on,” said Tracy Weil, the fair’s marketing and creative director.
The nine marijuana categories include live plants and clones, plus contests for marijuana-infused brownies and savory foods. Homemade bongs, homemade roach clips and clothing and fabric made with hemp round out the categories.
Judges will look only at plant quality, not the potency or quality of the drugs they produce. Other contests – patterned after Amsterdam’s famed Cannabis Cup – already gauge drug quality and flavor.
Top prize is $20, plus of course a blue ribbon. The fair already has a green ribbon – awarded for using environmentally conscious methods.
The entries will be shown in a “Pot Pavilion” open only to people over 21. Alongside the pot entrants will be 24 categories of homemade beer, four categories for homemade wine and one category for “spirits and liqueurs.”
Prizes will also be given for speedy joint-rolling, though fair organizers insist there won’t be any marijuana consumption on-site. Competitors in the live Doritos-eating contest will have to acquire their munchies elsewhere.
Even the photographs of the winning plants will be viewable only by adults 21. Organizers don’t want 4-H competitors in the popular rabbit and goat contests wandering by a pot display.
“We have a lot of families and kids at the fair, of course, and we wanted to be respectful of that,” Weil said.
Denver’s fair is far from traditional, though. Denver County didn’t have a county fair until 2011. Organizers wanted an urban, hip element alongside traditional fair favorites like a Ferris wheel and cotton candy.
There’s a speed text-messaging contest, and the highlight staple of a Western fair, a rodeo, has been replaced with a bicycle rodeo and a troupe of performing pigs. About 20,000 people attended last year.
The marijuana contests aren’t likely to spread to other fairs in Colorado. Officials in Routt County, in western Colorado, voted last year to expressly ban marijuana from its county fair.
And Colorado State Fair organizers have expressed no interest in marijuana competition.
California holds an Emerald Cup at the fairgrounds in Sonoma County, Calif., where guests with medical clearance are able to sample the drug. That contest is held at the fairgrounds but isn’t a part of the county fair.
Source: Associated Press (Wire)
Published: January 28, 2014
Copyright: 2014 The Associated Press
On Tuesday, MPP unveiled a series of billboards surrounding MetLife Stadium, site of the upcoming Super Bowl, that have been getting a lot of attention. These ads highlight the fact that marijuana is objectively safer than both alcohol and football, and call on the NFL to stop punishing players for using the safer option.
This is especially noteworthy this year, as the two teams playing in the Super Bowl are the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, both of whose home states made marijuana legal for adults in 2012.
Here’s a picture of one of the ads from the ground, and you can view the rest on our website.
On Wednesday, MPP’s Mason Tvert presented a Change.org petition calling on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to get rid of the policy of punishing players for using marijuana. The petition currently has more than 12,000 signatures.
Earlier today, MPP released a new poll finding that a clear majority of Rhode Islanders support “changing Rhode Island law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol.” Fifty-three percent of Rhode Island voters favor marijuana policies similar to those in Colorado, where adults 21 and over can purchase marijuana from regulated stores; only 41% oppose this policy change. If you are a Rhode Island resident, please take a brief moment to call both your state representative and your state senator and ask them to support ending marijuana prohibition in 2014.
Over the past couple of years, it’s become apparent that marijuana prohibition is coming to an end. It is no longer a question of if Rhode Island will legalize marijuana for adults and regulate it like alcohol, but when. Passing legislation this session will allow the state to begin creating hundreds of much-needed jobs and realizing tens of millions in annual tax revenue. With the state facing a $150 million budget hole and Rhode Island having the highest unemployment rate in the nation, let your lawmakers know now is the time to end marijuana prohibition in the Ocean State.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bud Bowl. Weed Bowl. Fill a Bowl. Stoner Bowl. Super Stupor Bowl. Whatever you call it, the teams from Denver and Seattle are in it to win it! And so are cannabis consumers! The annual Super Bowl is always a great time for a few friendly wagers, and cannabis consumers are no exception. Happy to uphold this proud tradition, Colorado NORML and Washington NORML have made a little side bet on this historic game:
If the Denver Broncos win, WA NORML has agreed to dress in Bronco colors of blue and orange and sing Karaoke-style Colorado’s (second) official state song "Rocky Mountain High" by John Denver. If the Seattle Seahawks win, CO NORML will do the same, but in Seahawk blue and green and singing "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix, a native son of Seattle.
A video of the performance must be posted on the respective state chapter’s web site, Facebook page and on YouTube for a minimum of one week, with an acknowledgment that the winning team’s state is simply awesome.
The unfortunate irony is that, despite the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington and Colorado, the NFL continues to ban its use among players, although it is not a performance enhancing drug. Both teams have each lost key players this season to marijuana-related suspensions. The Denver Broncos Von Miller, 2011 NFL defensive rookie of the year, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond, and Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner have all received suspensions for failing drug tests.
The NFL would be wise to be more open to marijuana use among players. Its value as a safer treatment than opiates for pain resulting from the brutality of the game, must be acknowledged. With concerns over repeat concussions and the resulting traumatic brain injury to players like Junior Seau, the league should be particularly interested in marijuana’s potential to prevent long-term damage associated with brain injuries. Some NFL players might use cannabis for its medicinal benefits, but others may choose it to unwind as an alternative to alcohol, just as others might drink a beer or a martini. However, cannabis use doesn’t have the same risks associated with mixing prescription drugs, particularly painkillers, and alcohol.
So while we celebrate this historic Super Doobie Bowl, cheering on our respective teams, and laughing about the irony of it all, let’s not forget those players on and off the field whose employers will not allow them to consume a legal substance that has never had an associated death in all of recorded history.
Let the schwag talking begin!
- Rachel K. Gillette, Esq., Executive Director, email@example.com 303-578-6848
- Teri Robnett, Board Member & Patient Advocate, firstname.lastname@example.org 720-351-8403
- Sean T. McAllister, Esq., Spokesperson, email@example.com 720-722-0048
- Kevin Oliver, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-641-0935
- Rick Steves (PBS Travel Guide) and Advisory Board Member, 206-641-0935
- Alison Holcomb (I-502 Author) and Advisory Board Member, 206-641-0935
According to a Denver Post analysis of data provided by the Colorado Judicial Branch, the number of cases filed in state court alleging at least one marijuana offense plunged 77 percent between 2012 and 2013. The decline is most notable for charges of petty marijuana possession, which dropped from an average of 714 per month during the first nine months of 2012 to 133 per month during the same period in 2013 — a decline of 81 percent.
That may have been expected — after all, people over 21 can now legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana. But The Post’s analysis shows state prosecutors also pursued far fewer cases for marijuana crimes that remain illegal in Colorado.
For instance, charges for possessing more than 12 ounces of marijuana dropped by 73 percent, and cases alleging possession with intent to distribute fewer than 5 pounds of marijuana dipped by 70 percent. Even charges for public consumption of marijuana fell statewide, by 17 percent, although Denver police have increased their number of citations issued for public consumption.
While marijuana prosecutions against people over 21 declined, so did prosecutions against people under 21, for whom all marijuana possession remains illegal except for medical marijuana patients.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said he thinks the drop in cases may be due to police not wanting to parse the complexities of the state’s marijuana law.
“I think they’ve kind of thrown their arms up in the air,” he said.
Complete Article: http://drugsense.org/url/PJao1kLb
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Author: John Ingold, The Denver Post
Published: January 12, 2014
Copyright: 2014 The Denver Post
Colorado marijuana dispensaries made huge sales in the first week of legal recreational marijuana. Owners of the 37 new dispensaries around the state reported first week retail sales to The Huffington Post that, when added together, were roughly $5 million. That’s a lot of green for Colorado’s legal weed.
Colorado, the first state to allow retail recreational marijuana sales to adults age 21 and older, has projected nearly $600 million in combined wholesale and retail marijuana sales annually. The state, which expects to collect nearly $70 million in tax revenue from pot sales this year, won’t have its first official glimpse at sales figures until Feb. 20, when businesses are required to file January tax reports, according to Julie Postlethwait of the state Marijuana Enforcement Division.
Denver’s 9News was first to report statewide retail sales on New Year’s Day, the first day legal pot shops were allowed to operate, exceeded $1 million. Interest dropped in the days that followed, according to shop owners, but many reported customers still waiting in lines out the door.
“Every day that we’ve been in business since Jan. 1 has been better than my best day of business ever,” Andy Williams, owner of Denver’s Medicine Man dispensary, told The Huffington Post.
Owners of larger shops told HuffPost they sold from 50 pounds to 60 pounds of marijuana in the first week. Smaller shops sold 20 pounds to 30 pounds, proprietors said.
Under state law, Colorado residents may legally buy up to one ounce of marijuana in a transaction. Tourists can purchase up to one-fourth ounce.
But the initial rush to buy legal weed was so great that many shops imposed caps on the amount each customer could buy, or raised prices to curb demand and stave off a possible shortage. So far, none of the retailers reported supply problems.
Prices also were boosted by the state’s 25 percent tax on retail purchases, including a 15 percent excise tax and a 10 percent sales tax. Voters approved the levy in November. Local taxes can add more to what customers pay.
Shop owners said their sales were biggest the first day. Each day since, sales have been roughly half the New Year’s Day volume, the business owners said.
One-eighth of an ounce of marijuana was selling for an average of $65 around the first of the year, according to Marijuana.com.
Despite the surging sales, Joaquin Ortega, co-owner of Denver Kush Club dispensary, was quick to note to HuffPost that federal laws against marijuana sales and possession present obstacles to Colorado’s legal retailers. The Justice Department has said it won’t challenge legalization laws in Washington state and Colorado as long as the states prevent out-of-state distribution, sales to minors and drugged driving, among other conditions.
Still, the federal prohibition means banks won’t accept marijuana businesses for traditional bank accounts, and retailers said they can’t take advantage of traditional business tax writeoffs.
“People think we all became millionaires,” Ortega said. “But as a business owner, I can’t write anything off for the last three years.”
Banks have said they fear they could be implicated as money launderers if they offer traditional banking services to the pot businesses.
Marijuana businesses often cannot accept credit cards, leaving them to conduct transactions in cash. They say that’s a burden for taxes and payroll, and a safety risk.
Monday night, Denver City Council urged banking regulators to grant Colorado marijuana businesses access to the federal banking system, so they can use the same banking services as other businesses.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) is seeking reformed access to banking for marijuana businesses with his Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act (H.R. 2652), which would create protections for banks that offer services to state-sanctioned marijuana-related businesses.
“The banking legislation sponsored by Congressman Ed Perlmutter is a common sense approach to bring financial legitimacy to the legal marijuana industry,” Denver City Councilman Albus Brooks told HuffPost. “It’s ludicrous and unsustainable to force large neighborhood businesses to operate entirely with cash. Congress needs to act, and act now.”
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the Department of Justice is also drafting legal guidance on how banks can work with marijuana businesses in states like Colorado and Washington, which both legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over.
Dispensaries in Washington state are expected to open later in 2014.