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The Libertarian Party, born in Colorado 50 years ago, still seeks elusive mainstream acceptance

The United States’ third-largest political party — what its main founder considered “the last, best hope for freedom in America” — took root a half-century ago in a living room in Westminster. The TV flickered on, David Nolan would later recall, as the then-28-year-old advertising executive and his wife gathered in their duplex with three friends in August 1971. They listened, aghast, as Republican President Richard Nixon announced plans to intervene in the economy in once-unthinkable ways to deal with inflation and high unemployment. In that moment, the five who were among a growing movement of people skeptical of government interference in personal and economic lives decided they needed a new political home. Within months, the Libertarian Party was born. And in August, the national party...

Marijuana regulation bill overwhelmingly passes in Colorado House

The Colorado House of Representatives passed the state’s most substantial marijuana regulation policy since legalization on Thursday, intending to crack down on youth access to high-potency THC products and tighten rules for the medical marijuana market. HB21-1317 passed overwhelmingly, 56-8, and moves on to the state Senate, where it is also expected to pass. The bill is a product of months of negotiations led by House Speaker Alec Garnett, and calls for the Colorado School of Public Health to analyze existing research “related to the physical and mental health effects of high-potency THC marijuana and concentrates.” The analysis could inform new restrictions in the coming years. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

U.S. House again passes Colorado congressman’s marijuana banking bill

Published: Apr 19, 2021, 7:03 pm • Updated: Apr 19, 2021, 7:06 pm By Justin Wingerter The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday passed the SAFE Banking Act, a longtime priority for Coloradans in Congress and local cannabis companies. The House voted 321-101 on the bill, with all Colorado Democrats in favor and two Colorado Republicans opposed. A third Republican, Rep. Lauren Boebert, did not vote. It now moves to the U.S. Senate, which is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, and some in the latter party worry passing it will increase marijuana use and foreign investments. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Marijuana delivery, social equity reform and other Colorado cannabis trends to watch in 2021

Colorado’s marijuana industry experienced a banner year in 2020 — not in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, but because of it. Dispensaries across the state were declared essential businesses and allowed to operate while bars, restaurants and gyms were forced to close. That designation helped sales exceed analysts’ expectations. According to Roy Bingham, co-founder and executive chairman of Boulder data firm BSDA, the national market grew more than 45% to $18 billion in 2020, outpacing forecasts by about $2 billion, an increase attributable to “the COVID effect.” Cannabis consumers shopped less frequently but purchased more, including many newcomers with increased at-home time on their hands, he said. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

House votes to decriminalize marijuana at federal level

WASHINGTON — The Democratic-controlled House on Friday approved a bill to decriminalize and tax marijuana at the federal level, reversing what supporters called a failed policy of criminalization of pot use and taking steps to address racial disparities in enforcement of federal drug laws. Opponents, mostly Republicans, called the bill a hollow political gesture and mocked Democrats for bringing it up at a time when thousands of Americans are dying from the coronavirus pandemic. “With all the challenges America has right now, (Republicans) think COVID relief should be on the floor, but instead, the Democrats put cats and cannabis” on the House floor, said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. “They’re picking weed over the workers. They’re picking marijuana over (providing) the mu...

Banking for marijuana companies included in Congress’ new $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill

Cannabis industry advocates applauded House Democrats on Tuesday after a new $3 trillion federal stimulus bill included provisions to allow marijuana businesses access to banking. Introduced by House speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act includes wide-ranging goals to address the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, from offering financial assistance to state and local governments to forgiving student loan debt. Wrapped into the massive, 1,815-page bill is an initiative led by Colorado Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter known as the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would allow legal cannabis businesses to leverage traditional banking services. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Colorado won’t stop employers from firing workers for using weed off the clock

Colorado legislators decided Wednesday not to advance a bill that aimed to protect employees from being fired for using marijuana in their personal time. The 10 members of the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee voted unanimously against the bill, HB 20-1089, after nearly three hours of testimony from people on each side. Though the bill would have done nothing to prohibit employers from administering drug tests, many committee members cited the lack of an adequate test to determine whether an employee is intoxicated in the moment — much like a breathalyzer does for alcohol — as a reason to table it. Others thought the proposed change to the law was too broad. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Marijuana banking bill gets pushback from Colorado’s Buck, Lamborn

Twelve members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including two from Colorado, are publicly pushing back against a federal bill that would give legal cannabis businesses access to banking services. Craig F. Walker , The Denver PostU.S. Rep. Ken Buck in 2014 (Denver Post file) In a Feb. 13 letter sent to Mike Crapo, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Reps. Ken Buck, R-Windsor, Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, and 10 other Republican representatives applauded the chairman’s concerns about the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act and urged him to “stand strong” in his assessment of the risks posed by allowing dispensaries, cultivations and other businesses access to the federal banking system. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

What is social equity in Colorado’s cannabis industry? Regulators look to level the playing field for marginalized communities

With about 40 states expected to allow some form of legalization by the end of December, 2020 is poised to be a breakout year for cannabis. But as the movement toward normalization gains steam across the United States, legislators and activists are adding a moral provision to the burgeoning marijuana industry: to rectify decades of racial persecution caused by the War on Drugs. Colorado is no exception. This year, regulators at the state level and in Denver are tackling new initiatives to improve social equity in the industry — even if they’re still figuring out exactly what that looks like. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Perlmutter, House co-sponsors push Senate for swift action on marijuana banking bill

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter and three other congressmen who’ve been pushing to give cannabis businesses access to banking services expressed hope Tuesday their bill would move through the Senate soon. In a letter sent to Mike Crapo, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, the Arvada Democrat and Reps. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, Denny Heck, D-Wash., and Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, addressed the chairman’s concerns about the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act while urging him to take swift action. In his comments published Dec. 18, Crapo recommended adding public health and safety requirements to the legislation, such as requiring potency disclosures and a potential 2% THC limit on products before allowing banks to do business with cannabis companies, and rul...

Colorado lawmakers consider bill to automatically clear past marijuana convictions

One key detail could determine whether an upcoming bill in Colorado’s statehouse stands to affect hundreds of thousands of people, or perhaps just a few hundred. State Rep. Jonathan Singer, a Democrat from Longmont, is vowing that “there will be a bill” introduced in 2020 to allow for statewide expungement of criminal records for all people convicted of low-level marijuana offenses in Colorado prior to legalization. The big question now: Should the bill require that the state automatically clear these convictions — including for now-legal activities like minor possession, use and possession of paraphernalia — or should it require that people apply for expungement? Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Starting Jan. 1, Coloradans will have more options for consuming cannabis in public. But will we catch up to California?

Published: Dec 27, 2019, 6:06 am • Updated: Dec 27, 2019, 6:08 am By John Wenzel, The Know From eye-level, Tetra Lounge looks like an upscale coffee shop rolled into a nightclub. Brick walls, painted white, box in DJ booths and a bar, while attractive glass cases and furniture dot the 2,000-square-foot space at 3039 Walnut St. in the River North Art District. But look down and you’re suddenly in a weed dealer’s apartment from the black-market era of cannabis: plush but worn couches, video game controllers, scattered bits of bright-green leaves, and a friendly, roaming Rottweiler named Kena. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

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