CU-Boulder student leaders planning alternative 4/20 event

Written February 24th, 2014

Academic cannabis conference to “repurpose” 4/20, will be held in late March

By Sarah Kuta Camera Staff Writer

University of Colorado student leaders say they’re attempting to “repurpose” the annual marijuana smoke-out known as 4/20 by hosting an academic cannabis conference this spring.

The CU Student Government 4/20 Commission this week is surveying students, faculty, staff and Boulder residents about their feelings on the university’s handling of the annual smoke-out in the past and whether they would support an alternative event this year.

The university has been attempting to stamp out the popular pot party in recent years by closing campus, spreading fishy smelling fertilizer on the Norlin Quadrangle and aggressively enforcing marijuana laws.

And it appears their efforts are working. Nobody showed up on April 20 last year on the Norlin Quad, the site of past congregations, and this year is expected to be equally as quiet.

Rather than fight the administration’s decision to snuff out 4/20 on campus, CU’s student leaders are planning their own cannabis-centered event that doesn’t involve smoking or consuming the drug, said Neelah Ali, a fifth-year senior working with CU Student Government on the event.

Though the details of the event are still fuzzy, Neelah said it will most likely include a panel and possibly some guests on campus.

“The event is supposed to be a political, educational, activist event,” she said. “A conference around cannabis and creating a culture around cannabis. The pros, cons, aspects of it like the war on drugs, spiritual uses.”

Ali said the commission hasn’t yet decided on a date for the event, but it will most likely be held at the end of March. If the pilot event succeeds, she said, the plan is to hold it on April 20 in future years.

“We’re trying to repurpose 4/20 on CU’s campus,” Ali said. “We’re trying to create an academic environment on our campus that students support as well as administrators and faculty and staff.”

‘People didn’t feel safe on campus’

The survey includes the question “Do you agree or disagree with how administration has dealt with 4/20 in the past 3 years?” The next question is “If no, what would you change?”

Ali said the purpose of those two questions is to understand what people are thinking about the campus closures, fishy fertilizer and other actions taken by CU’s administration.

“People didn’t feel safe on campus,” she said. “A lot of students with underrepresented backgrounds just didn’t feel safe, a lot of students didn’t want to come to class that day. The fish fertilizer really upset people and it’s just kind of shaming and really uncomfortable.”

Ali said that many students felt they were getting blamed by administrators for the large 4/20 gatherings, even though the majority of people in attendance weren’t students.

Rather than degrade marijuana, Ali said she hopes the CU Student Government event will prompt constructive discussions about it.

“(Discussions around marijuana) are starting to become more relevant, especially here at CU, our public university,” she said. “It’s really vital that we are part of the culture instead of demeaning and shaming the culture and not being part of this environment that did get (Amendment 64) passed.”

CU Student Government has hosted a marijuana symposium in the past, though a 2012 event around marijuana took place in October, not in conjunction with 4/20.

Student leaders also tried hosting a concert to combat 4/20, and spent roughly $150,000 to bring Wyclef Jean to Boulder. The concert wasn’t well-attended, and Ali said that student leaders realize it wasn’t a successful counter-4/20 event.

CU to make 4/20 announcement in coming weeks

Even though recreational marijuana is now legal under state law, CU spokesman Ryan Huff said consuming pot is still illegal on campus and in public and for people who are under 21, which applies to a majority of CU’s undergraduate population.

“Really for the people who are under 21 and students on this campus, nothing has changed with (the passage of ) Amendment 64,” he said.

Huff said administrators haven’t made many final decisions about 4/20 yet this year, but added that the university supports the CU Student Government event around cannabis.

“We’ve always supported academic events that have dialogue on drug policy and other marijuana issues, so we certainly applaud the students on hosting this kind of forum where ideas can be exchanged,” Huff said. “What’s not been welcomed have been the disruptive, unorganized gatherings of thousands of people on our campus.”

Huff said the university will be announcing in a few weeks what will happen on April 20.

He would not say if there would be a security presence on campus or if the campus would be closed to the public.

“We are working toward a time when April 20 will come around and it’ll be a nonevent on our campus,” he said. “That has been the goal all along.”

Ali said 4/20 could be a nonevent as soon as a few months from now, because the legalization of recreational marijuana has taken some of the energy out of large demonstrations of people smoking in public.

“Since there’s less stigma, I don’t feel like students feel like they have to congregate anymore or have to protest as much now that we passed this law,” she said.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106 or

Original article from the Daily Camera.

Marijuana panel discusses impact of pot on the teen brain

Written February 24th, 2014

by Chad Abraham, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer

A roomful of parents, educators and teachers at Aspen High School on Thursday received plenty of information about how cannabis can negatively impact the adolescent brain.

It was the second forum for the Valley Marijuana Council, which Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo formed after the legalization of cannabis.

The council’s goal is to educate various sectors of the community about the new industry, including the multiple ways marijuana can be consumed and potential effects.

One of Thursday’s panelists was Dr. Jonathan Birnkrant, a child and adolescent psychiatrist who went over the parts of the brain that are impacted by ingesting cannabis.

In its natural state, the brain has cannabinoid receptors in areas like the neocortex and frontal lobe, which guide decision-making, he said.

“This doesn’t mean we have cannabis running around our brain,” Birnkrant said. “It means that we happen to have a molecule in our brain that cannabis attaches to.”

These parts of the brain are still developing until a person reaches their mid-20s. Marijuana use before that age can “interrupt the ability to make reasonable decisions,” Birnkrant said.

Sections of the brain like the hippocampus, which involves memory, can impact a student’s academic and social life, and worsen anxiety.

“It’s playing Russian roulette with your mind,” he said of teens using cannabis. “What used to give you joy no longer does.”

About 50 people attended the forum, including Aspen Middle School Principal Tom Heald and numerous coaches in the Aspen schools, County Commissioner Michael Owsley, and Erik Klanderud of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association.

In response to an audience member’s question, Michael Connolly of the Valley Partnership for Drug Prevention said a student survey from March 2013 shows that marijuana use is rising since the advent of medical marijuana.

Counselors, teachers, parents and kids “tell me it’s easier to get,” he said.

Every year that the use of marijuana is delayed in teens has a dramatic effect on their well-being, mentally and physically, Connolly said.

DiSalvo told the group that he was surprised how much parents have to learn about the ingestion methods of cannabis.

“It’s not smoking, it’s a lot more than that,” he said. “We want you guys to know what to look for when something flies out of your child’s knapsack.

“It’s not in pipes and joints anymore.”

Jordan Lewis, owner of Silverpeak Apothecary in Aspen and a member of the Valley Marijuana Council, displayed photos of bags of marijuana; powerful, infused oils for smoking and vaporizing; and various candies, cookies and brownies containing cannabis.

When he begins selling marijuana for recreational use, possibly early next month, such items will be in opaque, child-proof containers, he said.

Still, “I wish there were better products out there because I don’t like this,” he said of the candies.

DiSalvo agreed, saying he is worried about “lookalike products” and that the community may want to discuss whether it wants cannabis-infused gummy bears and lemon drops sold at all.

“It’s something we should start a dialogue about,” he said.

Retail marijuana sales are a new industry, and Lewis predicted that the methods for keeping such products out of children’s hands will improve.

“The industry is moving in a good direction,” he said.

When the discussion came to milligrams and amounts to eat, an audience member said children don’t care about such details.

DiSalvo said it is the responsibility of parents to keep their kids out of such situations.

“Tell them, ‘Forget the dosage, it’s not for you,’” he said.

He also reminded the audience that the vote to legalize cannabis passed overwhelmingly, and “it’s up to us to live with it responsibly.”

Original Aspen Daily News article here.

Parents learn about recreational pot industry

Written February 24th, 2014

Parents of Aspen High School students: Don’t freak out — a person cannot be high for 28 days after smoking a joint or a bowl of marijuana or consuming a 5-milligram edible candy infused with THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

A panel discussion at the school Thursday evening sought to educate adults about the drug and its effects on teens. Though marijuana has been made legal in Colorado for recreational use — but only in a private setting — it can only be sold to, or consumed by, those who are 21 or older.

The event, the second in a series of local meetings on the advent of recreational pot sales in the community, was hosted by the Valley Marijuana Council, a group of local stakeholders brought together by Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo.

One audience member asked if a person can feel the “high” from smoking pot for 28 days. She was confused; marijuana can be stored in a body’s fat cells for about one month, but the typical mental and physical short-term impairment from one-time marijuana use is only going to last a few hours, panelists said.

Dr. Jonathan Birnkrant, of the Aspen Centers for Advanced Treatment, spoke of how marijuana consumption can have an effect on brain development in youths. In some cases, among users who smoke regularly, the drug robs them of life’s little pleasures.

“They are no longer interested, they no longer have joy, in the things they used to have joy in,” he said.

Birnkrant also spoke of genetic evidence that links onset of schizophrenia in adults to adolescent cannabis use.

Mike Connolly, director of the Valley Partnership for Drug Prevention, said surveys of Aspen High students indicate that marijuana use has been rising in recent years but tobacco use is down.

“We’re very happy about the tobacco part of it,” he said.

Connolly added that there is no such thing as “responsible” use of alcohol or marijuana among teens, echoing Birnkrant’s remarks about how their brains are still developing.

One member of the audience talked of how he recently smoked pot, remarking how much stronger it has become than when he would consume it 30 years ago. But Jordan Lewis, who operates Silverpeak Apothecary, a medical marijuana store on East Cooper Avenue, said there is another way of looking at it: Today, a person doesn’t have to smoke as much pot as they did in the 1970s to feel its effects.

Make no mistake, Lewis said, “This is not your parents’ marijuana anymore.”

Another listener asked if it was a good idea to show children today’s marijuana products. Some that are available in medical and recreational stores are in the form of edible candies and cookies that look similar to other treats kids might purchase on their own, such as “gummy bears.”

Lewis said an open and honest dialogue with kids is always the best approach.

“Shielding them doesn’t serve a purpose,” he said.

DiSalvo pointed out that the recreational marijuana industry isn’t going anywhere. Not only did Amendment 64, the referendum on legalization in November 2012, pass statewide by overwhelming margin, but in Pitkin County, 75 percent of those who voted on the measure supported it.

He said it is incumbent upon parents to educate their kids about pressure from peers to smoke pot as well as potential health effects and other possible dangers associated with marijuana use.

“I think it is a parental responsibility to say to children, ‘No. Forget the dosage. Forget the form. It’s not for you. If you’ve got three friends trying to use that, you should be walking in the other direction. Just (tell your friends), “Hey, I’ll see you in 10 minutes.’”

Aspen Police Chief Richard Pryor said he thought the discussion was productive in that it helped parents and others in the community to understand the law with regard to marijuana legalization as well as the effects of marijuana use.

“You can’t just consume marijuana in public; it’s not legal in that environment, and it has to be consumed privately,” Pryor said. “Two, as Dr. Birnkrant explained, there are effects of marijuana products on the adolescent brain. That will probably be the biggest takeaway for this crowd tonight.”

Original Aspen Times article here.

Panel discusses the ABC’s of pot

Written February 14th, 2014

Andre Salvail – Aspen Times 2/14/14

An estimated 55 people packed a basement room at Aspen City Hall on Thursday to learn more about marijuana and the different ways in which it is sold and consumed.

The impetus behind the panel discussion on cannabis, coordinated by the Valley Marijuana Council, is the upcoming opening of a recreational marijuana shop in Aspen. Jordan Lewis, owner of medical marijuana operation Silverpeak Apothecary, on East Cooper Avenue, said he has the green light from state and local authorities and is aiming to kick off his recreational adjunct business by the end of this month.

Since Jan. 1, an estimated 60 recreational shops have opened across the state. The industry was made possible by a successful November 2012 statewide referendum, Amendment 64, that allows marijuana to be regulated in the same manner as alcohol.

Serving on Thursday’s panel were Lewis, Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo, Aspen Valley Hospital emergency room doctor Catherine Bernard and Valley Partnership for Drug Prevention Executive Director Mike Connolly. DiSalvo, who worked to bring together several local entities early this year to form the fledgling council, said the meeting was the first in a series designed to educate the community about the legalization of marijuana and to clear up misconceptions.

One such mistaken view, Bernard said, is that pot is as dangerous as alcohol from a health perspective. She said people have been treated at hospital emergency rooms for overconsumption of marijuana or related products, not because of any real health issue, but rather they are uncomfortable and anxious through panic attacks.

She said she did not like comparisons of cannabis to alcohol.

“From a pure toxicological standpoint, marijuana does not even compare to alcohol in dangers,” Bernard said. “Alcohol, if you drink too much of it, will kill you in the short term or in the long term. … Nobody is going to pass out on the floor and vomit and aspirate and die — that’s just not going to happen with marijuana.”

Lewis took the audience though a primer of products and terms associated with marijuana and the new industry. As DiSalvo noted earlier, marijuana consumption has changed drastically over the years. It’s not just about smoking.

Using packages of pot and edibles, along with other props, Lewis explained several terms. He started with “flowers,” the actual bud of a marijuana plant that is smoked in order to obtain an extremely mild hallucinogenic effect, or “high.” He went on to talk about “sativas and indicas,” the two basic classifications for marijuana, with the former producing a stimulating effect and the latter used for more relaxing purposes.

He mentioned “vaporizers,” heat-generating devices that allow a pot user to consume a vapor in lieu of burning marijuana to inhale smoke, which can sometimes cause harmful health effects.

Lewis also spoke of edible cannabis products, holding up packages containing marijuana-infused candies and cookies, all of which display information on dosage so that people won’t eat too much, which could result in a bad experience.

Connolly said one of his concerns is that kids will get the idea that if marijuana is legal, it must be harmless. The council will host another meeting on Thursday at Aspen High School to address marijuana’s effect on youths.


Complete Aspen Times article here.

Countries rethink marijuana laws in wake of legalization experiments in Wash., Colo., Uruguay

Written February 13th, 2014
by The Associated Press, Associated Press – 12 February 2014 17:49-05:00

The marijuana legalization experiments underway in Washington state, Colorado and Uruguay have prompted or accelerated discussion about changing pot laws in many nations, and activists say momentum is building in advance of a special United Nations convention on drugs scheduled for 2016. Here’s a look at how some countries are rethinking their approach to marijuana.



Personal possession of controlled substances has been decriminalized, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling in 2009 that found imposing jail time for small amounts of drugs was a violation of Argentina’s constitution, which protects private actions that don’t harm others. Lawmakers have been working to amend the law since then, with proposals ranging from simple decriminalization in accordance with the ruling to a complete overhaul of the country’s drug laws. In December, Father Juan Carlos Molina, a Catholic priest newly appointed as the nation’s drug czar, said Argentina deserves a debate about whether to follow Uruguay in regulating marijuana.



Brazil doesn’t punish personal drug use, but trafficking or transporting small amounts of controlled substances is a criminal offense, punishable by drug abuse education or community service. Some advocates worry the law isn’t clear about how much constitutes personal possession, and that can leave it up to a judge’s discretion about whether someone should be punished. In November, former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso joined former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in calling for the decriminalization of all drugs and allowing countries to experiment with drug regulation.



President Otto Perez Molina of Guatemala, a hard-hit cocaine transit country, took the floor at the U.N. last fall to join a growing chorus of nations calling the drug war a failed strategy. He announced that his country would study different approaches and praised the “visionary” experiments in Washington and Colorado — as well as U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to let them go forward. Currently, prison terms of four months to two years can be imposed for the possession of drugs for personal use.



The island nation is a primary source of marijuana in the Caribbean. Possession remains illegal and can result in mandated treatment or rehabilitation, though usually the defendant pays a small fine and is not incarcerated. Nevertheless, many young men wind up with criminal records that affect their future employment options, and recent changes in the U.S. and Uruguay have given momentum to activists who hope to see marijuana decriminalization approved soon.



In Mexico, where tens of thousands have been killed in drug war violence in recent years, there is no general push to legalize or regulate marijuana for recreational use. In 2009, the country decided not to prosecute people for possessing small amounts of drugs. Legislators in more liberal Mexico City, however, are planning to pitch a further loosening of pot laws by increasing those limits, allowing residents to grow up to three plants and allowing private pot smoking clubs.



Morocco is one of the world’s leading hashish producers, and nearly all of it makes its way into Europe. Cannabis was legal to grow as late as the 1950s by order of the king. Two leading political parties want to re-legalize its cultivation for medical and industrial uses, with the goal of helping small farmers who survive on the crop but live at the mercy of drug lords and police attempts to eradicate it. There is little chance the conservative nation will legalize it for recreational use any time soon.



The Netherlands has long had some of the most liberal cannabis laws. Hoping to keep pot users away from dealers of harder drugs, the country in the late 1970s began allowing “coffee shops” to sell marijuana, which remains technically illegal. Since 2012 the federal government has clamped down, briefly requiring people to obtain a “weed pass” to buy cannabis and banning sales to tourists. Some cities, including Amsterdam, have declined to ban sales to tourists, however, and mayors of 35 cities have banded together to call for the legalization of marijuana growing.



Long the drug war crusader, the U.S. was the driving force behind the 1961 treaty that formed the basis of international narcotics control. For decades the U.S. has required other nations to cooperate in the drug war or risk losing foreign aid, even as some Latin American countries ravaged by drug war violence criticized America for failing to curb its appetite for cocaine, marijuana and other substances. Since 1996, nearly half the states have allowed medical use of marijuana despite federal laws banning it, and some states are considering following the lead of Washington state and Colorado in legalizing recreational use.



In December, Uruguay became the first nation to approve marijuana legalization and regulation. President Jose Mujica said his goal is to drive drug traffickers out of the dope business and reduce consumption by creating a safe, legal and transparent environment in which the state closely monitors every aspect of marijuana use. By April, Uruguay is expected to have written the fine print on its regulations. Once registered and licensed, any Uruguayan adult will be allowed to choose one of three options: grow plants at home, or join a pot-growing club, or buy marijuana cigarettes from pharmacies.

Complete article here.

American teens more likely to use illicit drugs

Written February 11th, 2014

Contact Jared Wadley

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The U.S. had the second-lowest proportion of students who used tobacco and alcohol compared to their counterparts in 36 European countries, a new report indicates.

The results originate from coordinated school surveys about substance use from more than 100,000 students in some of the largest countries in Europe like Germany, France and Italy, as well as many smaller ones from both Eastern and Western Europe.

Because the methods and measures are largely modeled after the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future surveys in this country, comparisons are possible between the U.S. and European results. The 15- and 16-year-old students, who were drawn in nationally representative samples in almost all of the 36 countries, were surveyed last spring. American 10th graders in the 2011 Monitoring the Future studies are of the same age, so comparisons are possible.

The differences found between adolescent behaviors in the U.S. and Europe are dramatic, according to Lloyd Johnston, the principal investigator of the American surveys.

About 27 percent of American students drank alcohol during the 30 days prior to the survey. Only Iceland was lower at 17 percent, and the average rate in the 36 European countries was 57 percent, more than twice the rate in the U.S.

The proportion of American students smoking cigarettes in the month prior to the survey was 12 percent—again the second lowest in the rankings and again only Iceland had a lower rate at 10 percent. For all European countries the average proportion smoking was 28 percent, more than twice the rate in the U.S.

“One of the reasons that smoking and drinking rates among adolescents are so much lower here than in Europe is that both behaviors have been declining and have reached historically low levels in the U.S. over the 37-year life of the Monitoring the Future study,” Johnston said. “But even in the earlier years of the European surveys, drinking and smoking by American adolescents was quite low by comparison.

“Use of illicit drugs is quite a different matter.”

The U.S. students tend to have among the highest rates of use of all of the countries. At 18 percent, the U.S. ranks third of 37 countries on the proportion of students using marijuana or hashish in the prior 30 days. Only France and Monaco had higher rates at 24 percent and 21 percent, respectively. The average across all the European countries was 7 percent, or less than half the rate in the U.S.

American students reported the highest level of marijuana availability of all the countries and the lowest proportion of students associating great risk with its use—factors that may help to explain their relatively high rates of use here, according to Johnston.

The U.S. ranks first in the proportion of students using any illicit drug other than marijuana in their lifetime (16 percent compared to an average of 6 percent in Europe) and using hallucinogens like LSD in their lifetime (6 percent vs. 2 percent in Europe). It also ranks first in the proportion reporting ecstasy use in their lifetime (7 percent vs. 3 percent in Europe), despite a sharp drop in their ecstasy use over the previous decade. American students have the highest the proportion reporting lifetime use of amphetamines (9 percent), a rate that is three times the average in Europe (3 percent). Ecstasy was seen as more available in the U.S. than in any other country.

For some drugs, however, the lifetime prevalence rate in the U.S. was just about the average for the European countries, including inhalants (10 percent), cocaine (3 percent), crack (2 percent), heroin (1 percent) and anabolic steroids (1 percent).

“Clearly the U.S. has attained relatively low rates of use for cigarettes and alcohol, though not as low as we would like,” Johnston said. “But the level of illicit drug use by adolescents is still exceptional here.”

Related Links:

Article from the University of Michigan

DIA formalizes policy banning marijuana & sets fines for possession

Written February 11th, 2014

DENVER – Denver International Airport held a public hearing Wednesday to formalize its policy banning marijuana and set fines for possession.

Warning signs were installed at airport entrances earlier this month, notifying passengers that marijuana was banned across the entire airport property, despite the new state law legalizing recreational use and possession by adults age 21 and older.

Under the new policy, the fine for a first offense is up to $150.

A worker or visitor who is ticketed for a second offense will face a fine of up to $500. A third offense and any offense after that will incur a fine up to $999.

One medical marijuana patient told 7NEWS she is concerned about how the airport will handle patients.

“I don’t take medication with me when I’m flying internationally, but when I fly to states that it’s legal in, I want my medication,” said Deborah Palm-Egley. “It shouldn’t be an issue. If you have a card, it shouldn’t be an issue.”

“Marijuana is on the list of TSA’s prohibited items. You can’t fly with it. It doesn’t distinguish between marijuana recreational, any time,” said airport spokeswoman Stacey Stegman. “We as an airport have a responsibly to honor that. We can’t facilitate the transport of marijuana across state lines when it’s illegal.”

While Amendment 64 decriminalized pot use in Colorado, the law clearly states that any “entity who occupies, owns or controls a property” can prohibit  “the possession, consumption, use, display, transfer, distribution, sale, transportation, or growing of marijuana on or in that property.”

“Marijuana in all forms is prohibited from this airport, including edibles,” said Stegman. “Even today, you cannot fly with edibles or any form of marijuana.”

Wednesday, the Colorado Springs Airport also announced a rule prohibiting the possession of marijuana on parts of airport property. Their rule goes into effect on Friday.

Complete from 7news

9News Recreational pot sales, what you need to know

Written February 11th, 2014

KUSA – Recreational marijuana sales became legal in Colorado starting on Jan. 1. Amendment 64, approved by voters in 2012, threw the doors wide open by requiring state officials to regulate pot like alcohol.

Who can buy marijuana under Colorado law?

Colorado residents 21 and up can buy one ounce of weed. If you’re from out-of-state, only a quarter of an ounce can be purchased.

Where can you buy marijuana?

Only nine municipalities and seven counties will allow retail sales. Denver is among them. The city issued a total of 34 retail marijuana business licenses.

MAP: Denver retail marijuana shops

The state has approved 348 marijuana business licenses, but most won’t be open Wednesday because of local licensing requirements.

READ: Pot sellers prepare for Jan. 1

How much will it cost?

Colorado has no statewide pricing structure, and by mid-afternoon on the first day, one dispensary was charging $70 for one-eighth of an ounce of high-quality pot. Medical marijuana patients, who worried about being priced out of the market, just a day earlier paid as little as $25 for the same amount.

How much money for the state?

Retail marijuana is being heavily taxed, with a 10 percent tax per sale and a 15 percent excise tax based on the average market rate of the drug. The state won’t have the first round of receipts until late February but it seems clear demand is strong. A trade group Thursday said three of its retail members reported between 600 and 800 customers during the first day. Colorado has projected $67 million in annual marijuana tax revenue.

Is the personal sale of marijuana under the new law legal?

Selling marijuana (in any form) without a license remains illegal. An adult over the age of 21 is only allowed to sell marijuana with the appropriate license to 21 and up.

Sharing is allowed, as long as it’s less than an ounce and no money exchanges hands.

Where can you use marijuana?

Amendment 64 does not permit the consumption of marijuana that is conducted openly and publicly. It must be done at home. Under the law it is permitted to consume marijuana on private property unless prohibited by the property owner. Employers can restrict the use of marijuana by employees.

Denver International Airport posted signs letting travelers know it’s illegal to use, carry or transport pot at the airport. A civil penalty from the airport could cost up to a thousand dollars and law enforcement would decide on criminal charges.

Can you consume marijuana at social clubs and coffee shops?

No, these businesses are not permitted.

Can you use marijuana at ski resorts?

No, people who smoke in lift lines or on the slopes will be prosecuted. Forest Service officials say the citation costs a minimum of $250.

READ: Marijuana tourism growing along with concerns

What are the marijuana DUI Laws?

Driving under the influence of marijuana will remain illegal. You are also not allowed to smoke while driving. Anyone with five nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (known as THC) per milliliter in whole blood while driving can be arrested for DUI.

The blood test is designed to tell how high a person is at the moment, not whether they have been using pot in the last several days or weeks, like urine tests used by some employers.

The blood test measures active THC in the blood stream, while the urine tests measure a metabolite of THC, the form it takes after being broken down by the human body.

Colorado law allows drivers to refuse the blood test. However, that comes with harsher penalties than a DUI.

READ: Colorado police prepare to spot pot DUI cases

Can you have marijuana in your car?

Yes, it may be carried but not in an open container and cannot cross state borders. It is illegal to use it in your car.

Does Amendment 64 change existing medical marijuana rules?

The amendment does not change the existing regulations for medical marijuana.

What are the consequences if you violate the marijuana law?

Anything from a fine to possible jail or prison sentence depending on the violation. School, universities, employers are allowed to put their own disciplinary actions into place.

Authorities are watching whether consumers take marijuana to other states where the drug remains illegal. It’s too soon to tell if that’s happened yet but some law enforcement officials say it’s inevitable. Neighboring Kansas, for example, plans to continue its use of bogus road signs such as “Drug Check Ahead” and “Drug Dogs in Use” along highways to make motorists think twice about bring drugs on the state’s highways.

* Information provided by the state of Colorado

9News original article

CO mulls lessons from first month of pot sales

Written February 11th, 2014


Associated Press February 10, 2014 Updated 13 hours ago

DENVER — Colorado’s marijuana experiment is going well, but there’s a lot of work to do regulating the newly legal drug, state regulators and lawmakers said Monday in a panel reviewing successes and failures of the nation’s first retail pot industry.

Colorado’s top marijuana regulator, Department of Revenue head Barbara Brohl, said it’s too soon to know how much tax revenue legal weed is going to produce, but that Colorado appears to have avoided major public safety problems, at least in the six weeks since marijuana sales began.

On Jan. 1, Colorado became the first state in the nation to allow legal retail sales of recreational marijuana. Washington state, where voters also legalized the drug in 2012, is expected to launch its marketplace in the coming months.

Brohl said other states and nations have asked how Colorado is regulating marijuana, from product safety to rules on how retailers market and sell pot.

“We’ve had to kind of duplicate a lot of the things the federal government does when it comes to regulation,” Brohl said.

Jack Finlaw, a lawyer for Gov. John Hickenlooper who joined Brohl last year in writing marijuana proposals, said Colorado wasn’t sure until August what the federal government planned to do about the state’s pot law.

Finlaw said state officials asked the U.S. Department of Justice: “We’ve clearly done something new, are you going to let us proceed, are you going to shut this all down?”

There was no immediate answer, Finlaw said. In the absence of guidance, he said, Colorado just winged it — trying to anticipate what the federal government would require. When the DOJ’s priorities were finally released, “they weren’t dramatically surprising,” Finlaw said.

But Colorado isn’t done debating pot, all on the panel agreed.

Rep. Dan Pabon, a Denver Democrat who sponsored last year’s pot regulatory bill, pointed out that alcohol prohibition ended in 1933, but alcohol bills are still routinely considered in the Legislature.

“This will take time,” Pabon said on marijuana laws.

No one on the panel would guess how much tax money pot sales have produced in the first six weeks.

“That’s the $64,000 question that everybody has been asking since Jan. 2,” Brohl said with a smile.

The pot discussion came hours after a new poll showed Colorado’s mixed feelings about the legal drug.

The Quinnipiac University Poll released Monday says that voters still support the state law that legalized recreational marijuana, but most believe it is hurting the image of the state.

The poll indicates that 51 percent of voters overall believe the measure is bad for the state’s reputation, while 38 percent see it as a net positive.

Like other marijuana polls, the Colorado survey revealed a sharp age divide. Among voters 18 to 29, 57 percent say legal marijuana is good for the state’s image. Among voters older than 65, 67 percent say it’s bad.

Overall, 58 percent of people surveyed still support the law passed in 2012, the poll said.

The poll of 1,139 registered voters was taken from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

Associated Press writer Nicholas Riccardi contributed to the report.

Complete article posted by the Tri-City Herald