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Colorado panel finishes marijuana report

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Report outlines recommendations for the implementation of Amendment 64.

State task force recommends excise tax, labeling rules

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A  task force says its final recommendations for implementing Amendment 64, which legalizes adult marijuana use in Colorado, lays the groundwork for a robust state regulatory framework that will ensure adequate oversight, consumer protection and prevention and treatment programs for young people.

Key recommendations include what the task force is calling “vertical integration,” meaning that cultivation, processing and manufacturing, and retail sales must be under common ownership. Continue reading

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Will Congress act on marijuana legalization?

Proposed legislation would empower states, create tax framework

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Colorado’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry still operates in a gray area between state and federal laws.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Saying that the power to unravel the marijuana mess lies with Congress, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) this week introduced measures that would de-federalize marijuana policy and create a framework for the federal taxation of cannabis.

To provide context for the legislation, the lawmakers released a report that outlines the history of what they called the failed war on marijuana and explains that more than 100 million Americans live in jurisdictions where governments and voters have decided that some aspect of marijuana should be legally permitted. Continue reading

Colorado: Marijuana task force starts meeting Dec. 17

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The federal response to Colorado’s marijuana-legalizing Amendment 64 is still unclear. Bob Berwyn photo.

Stakeholders will develop recommendations for regulating legalized marijuana consumption and cultivation

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — A state task force charged with implementing Colorado’s Amendment 64, which legalizes personal consumption and cultivation of marijuana — will be working under a tight schedule, meeting weekly to develop recommendations that will be delivered to Gov. John Hickenlooper and the State Legislature no later than the end of February.

That will help set the stage for the next technical step in the process of regulating marijuana in a way similar to alcohol, with state agencies required to develop regulations for that process by July 1, according to Sean McAllister, a Breckenridge-based attorney and spokesman for Colorado NORML.

AP reporter Kristen Wyatt tweeting from Gov. John Hickenlooper’s press conference on marijuana legalization:

McAllister said the task force, representing an array of stakeholders ranging from local governments and health and safety officials to the state department of agriculture and medical marijuana providers, will meet weekly. Read the executive order establishing the task force here.

Read the executive order codifying Amendment 64 here. Continue reading

Can state and feds find common ground on legal marijuana?

Is Colorado headed for a cannabis clash with the feds? Bob Berwyn photo.

Passage of Amendment 64 in Colorado sets up potential showdown

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY —Even in the face of federal uncertainty, local officials say Colorado’s effective — if somewhat cumbersome — regulation of medical marijuana can serve as a guide for controlling the cultivation and retailing of marijuana for personal use, legalized by state voters in last week’s election.

Amendment 64 legalizes the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana as soon as the election results are certified by Gov. John Hickenlooper, at the latest by Dec. 6. Possession and cultivation of up to six plants will also be legal. Continue reading

Marijuana plantations threaten national forest resources

A marijuana plant growing on national forest land at Winter Park Ski Area.

Forest Service law enforcement director outlines impacts in Senate testimony

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Outlaw marijuana growers on national forest lands are polluting streams, killing native vegetation and leaving behind trash and dangerous debris that’s difficult and expensive to clean up, the agency’s top law enforcement official said in early December at a U.S. Senate hearing.

“The illegal cultivation of marijuana on our National Forest System is a clear and present danger to the public and the environment,”  said U.S. Forest Service law enforcement director David Ferrell, testifying before the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.

Ferrell detailed the impacts from sites in in 20 states on 67 national forests across the country, including California, where the Forest Service completed cleanup and restoration on 335 sites, removing  more than 130 tons of trash, 300 pounds of pesticides, five tons of fertilizer and nearly 260 miles of irrigation piping. Continue reading

Breckenridge: Council eyes medical marijuana tax

New federal government rules probably won’t affect town plans

Would Breckenridge voters approve a sales tax on medical marijuana?

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Breckenridge Town Council will discuss a proposed ordinance that would levy a 5 percent sales tax on retail sales of medical marijuana starting Jan. 1, 2012. The tax could generate more than $40,000 annually for the town, but is subject to approval by voters under the TABOR amendment.

In a short memo council members, town attorney Tim Berry discussed the potential implications of a recent guidance memo from the U.S. Department of Justice, which appears to take aim at large-scale medical marijuana businesses.

Berry said he doesn’t think there’s been a wholesale shift in the federal government’s stance on state-regulated medical marijuana. But the last paragraph of the memo states that, “those who knowingly facilitate” businesses engaged in the cultivation, sale or distribution of medical marijuana may be subject to federal prosecution. Continue reading

States, feds spar over medical marijuana

The clash between states and the federal government over medical marijuana may be intensifying.

U.S. Department of Justice memo appears to target commercial medical marijuana growers

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Congressman Jared Polis, a Boulder Democrat, is sparring with the U.S. Department of Justice over the language of a June 29 memo from the federal agency that seems to target large-scale medical marijuana growers and dispensaries.

The memo is intended to clarify the federal government’s role in enforcing the prohibition on illegal drug use. The widespread legalization of medical cannabis has resulted in some confusion in a classic case of states’ rights versus federal law. Federal  officials are obligated to enforce the controlled substances act, even as more and more states legalize medical use of marijuana.

In a related story, the Fort Collins Coloradoan reports that drug-related school expulsions have soared in the Poudre School District as medical marijuana use becomes more widespread. Continue reading

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