4 Years In, Colorado Marijuana Legalization Might Work, Says Governor

Colorado Marijuana Legalization "Might Work"

DENVER, Colorado (CRN) – In an about-face from statements made shortly after Colorado legalized marijuana, Gov. John Hickenlooper says “It’s beginning to look like it might work. Shortly after Colorado became one of the first two states to legalize, Hickenlooper said that if he could “wave a magic wand” to reverse the decision, he would, calling the voters “reckless” and legalization “risky.” Speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles, Hickenlooper said, “If I had that magic wand now, I don’t know if I would wave it.” Since legalization, Colorado has experienced some of the nation’s lowest unemployment thanks to a $1 billion marijuana industry that contributed $100 million in tax revenue to the Centennial State.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (HIGH TIMES) – Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is set to introduce an amendment to the 2017 military appropriations bill later this week, which will prohibit using funds to enforce the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) policy banning its physicians from referring patients to medical marijuana programs. Under the amendment, VA medical providers would effectively be able to recommend medical marijuana to vets in states where it is legal. Blumenauer’s plans to introduce the amendment in the House following the approval of a similar amendment in the Senate committee. Together, Blumenauer said the proposals have a good chance of passing the legislature.

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (AP) — Supporters of a proposal to legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma have formally begun collecting signatures in an effort to put the question on the ballot. Oklahomans for Health is collecting signatures Saturday at businesses in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Lawton, Norman and Bartlesville. Oklahomans for Health has 90 days to collect the signatures of about 66,000 registered voters in order to get the question on the November ballot.

PUEBLO COUNTY, Colorado (CRN) – Marijuana taxes in Colorado are helping to send 25 economically-disadvantaged Hispanic students to college. The Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation is issuing 25 $1,000 grants to students, which executive director Beverly Duran notes are expanding the program to “extraordinary lengths.” At least half and as many as three-quarters of the students in Pueblo County’s high schools are battling poverty. Of the $135 million dollars raised by Colorado’s recreational and medical marijuana taxes, $35 million is dedicated to improving schools.

OAKLAND, California (CRN) – A controversial proposal for so-called drug war reparations in the form of marijuana licensing is set to be heard by Oakland City Council tonight. The proposal, which calls on awarding every other commercial marijuana license to people who have had a recent marijuana conviction or who live in one of six Oakland Police Department Beats most heavily policed for marijuana, passed unanimously in its first reading last week. Councilmember Desley Brooks explicitly stated that his amendments would be a form of reparations for those most impacted by the drug war. Critics say the rules are unfair and would be easily circumvented by aspiring pot moguls who could simply use strawmen with convictions or the right address to be their hired licensee.

PALMER, Alaska (CRN) – The mayor of Matanuska-Susitna Borough, otherwise known as Mat-Su, has vetoed a moratorium on marijuana businesses put forth by the borough assembly. Mayor Vern Halter said the borough is months from finalizing regulations and should not be in the business of regulating marijuana besides collecting taxes, according to his veto statement. The assembly can still override Halter’s veto, which it will decide later this evening. Industry watchers are focused on the Mat-Su valley for its long tradition of cannabis cultivation and its access to the urban Anchorage market.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) —A state Senate panel has delayed making changes to a proposal that would legalize medical marijuana in Ohio. The bill would bar patients from smoking the substance but allow them to use it in vapor form. They couldn’t grow it at home. Communities could opt out of hosting dispensaries, and employers who want to maintain drug-free workplaces would be protected from liability. The bill would create a nine-member Medical Marijuana Control Commission to set rules for cultivating, distributing and licensing cannabis. The House passed the legislation last week. The Senate’s government oversight committee says changes anticipated Tuesday could now come Wednesday. Lawmakers want the fast-tracked bill to reach the governor by month’s end. They’re seeking to head off a proposed November ballot issue supported by the national medical marijuana movement.