Denver’s 4/20 Rally Grows Up

Source: Denver Post

Colorado — Sales of recreational marijuana may be legal, but organizers of next weekend’s 4/20 festival in Denver — billed as the largest in the world — have a fine line to walk.

They nearly got the two-day event canceled after the organizers’ attorney asked the city to endorse public pot-smoking by attendees.

Now, with a permit for Civic Center in hand as of Thursday, Miguel Lopez and other organizers will need to broadcast the illegality of public marijuana consumption — as a concession to city officials — while also protesting Colorado’s remaining strictures on cannabis use. They also plan to protest that alcohol is treated differently from pot on public property.

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Ryan: Medical marijuana should be up to states

DENVER — Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said in an interview aired Friday that the federal government shouldn’t interfere with states that have legalized medical marijuana.

The Wisconsin congressman told KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs that he personally doesn’t approve of medical marijuana laws. But he said that states should have the right to choose whether to legalize the drug for medical purposes.

In response to a reporter’s question, Ryan said: “It’s up to Coloradans to decide.”

The interview was taped while Ryan campaigned last week in Colorado Springs and aired Friday.

Colorado is one of 17 states, plus the District of Columbia, that allow medical marijuana.

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Medical-marijuana shops near schools face cutoff today: Close or move

In the ongoing stare-down between state-legal medical-marijuana dispensaries and federal law-enforcement officials, today is the day somebody blinks.

Letters sent last month to 23 dispensaries near schools in Colorado gave the businesses until today to either move or shut down. If they do not, the U.S. attorney’s office has vowed to take criminal or civil action against the businesses, which are inherently violating federal law but are in compliance with state medical-marijuana law.

U.S. Attorney John Walsh has said he is not bluffing.

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Colo., Wash. await federal marijuana response

DENVER (AP) — Two states that approved recreational use of marijuana are waiting to hear how the federal government intends respond to the measures.

The governor of Colorado said he planned to talk by phone with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder about the measures that contradict federal law banning the use of pot.

Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., already allow marijuana use by people with certain medical conditions. Still, federal drug law outlaws use of the drug in all circumstances.

Voters in Colorado and Washington pushed the limits even further when they approved ballot measures Tuesday allowing adults over 21 to possess small amounts of marijuana under state regulation and taxation.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has said Colorado will respect the will of voters but added that he was awaiting word from the U.S. Department of Justice on how to proceed.

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Colorado’s medical pot business is for-profit, regulated – and thriving

DENVER – After 15 years as a white-collar “corporate nomad,” Dan Rogers found his new career in the thriving green-collar industry of Colorado, the only state in America with a for-profit medical marijuana market.

The equities trader and former investment banker now produces pot breeds “Reclining Buddha” and “Heartland Cream” in a converted printing press warehouse near downtown Denver.

In the nation’s most heavily regulated medical cannabis industry, he also works under constant video surveillance.

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Pot, marriage could play roles in ’12 Colo. races

DENVER — Colorado’s position as a key battleground state in the 2012 presidential race comes with a wrinkle neither party seems to like: A freewheeling ballot initiative tradition that could put both legalizing marijuana and gay marriage before voters on Election Day next year.

Marijuana activists have begun gathering signatures to ask voters to allow pot for recreational use, a direct challenge to federal drug law. And gay-marriage advocates were cleared last week to start petitioning for a repeal of a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Proponents of both measures still must get enough signatures before the questions go to ballots.

Democrats and Republicans aren’t publicly talking about what Colorado’s ballot proposals mean for next year’s race.

However, leaders of both parties say Colorado is a must-win for President Barack Obama.

SOURCE: The Sacramento Bee

Colorado Senate starts work on pot bill after federal warning

DENVER — Colorado lawmakers are taking up marijuana regulation proposals for the first time since they received a federal warning about states and pot.

The Senate Finance Committee planned to start work on a medical marijuana bill that changes rules for how the drug can be grown and sold. Last week, the top federal prosecutor in Colorado sent officials a letter warning that they could put state employees at risk of federal prosecution if they go too far regulating pot.

Lawmakers from both parties have said they intend to move ahead with this year’s bill, which addresses who can work at dispensaries and changes other regulations.

John Walsh’s letter closely resembles those sent by U.S. attorneys in other states that have legalized medical marijuana.