Weed in the Columbine – The legalization of pot and consequences


 

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“You give an ounce; they take a five pound bag,” a Colorado farmer told FREX when explaining the threat to the Front Range on Amendment 64 which proposes state and local governments to amend the Colorado Constitution to allow for people 21 years and older to display, purchase, transfer and transport one ounce or less of marijuana. Farmers, landowners and ranchers aren’t the only ones worried that the bill might pass, state officials and firefighters are concerned. One fire fighter says “while we don’t know the exact cause of the Waldo Canyon fire, the illegal crop growing in Waldo Canyon didn’t help slow down the fire,” which destroyed scores of homes and killed two people. The bottom line to this legislation is money.

Schools supported by users like you

The promise that a 40 million dollar tax on marijuana sales will be raised and used for funding public schools is a promise that has been used for gambling, when it comes to state parks and lottery proceeds, and in the big scheme of  things that is only partially true. One educator commented “That’s after legal fees and costs of doing business” she says. The other caveat is that it will take another bill in a separate statewide vote to approve or defeat an excise tax. A law enforcement professional with El Paso County says that the other promise is that “the crime rate will go down with the legalization of recreational useage of pot, and we found that the crime rate in the case of medical marijuana has increased due to robberies and stick ups and has hurt businesses close to dispensaries.” A Thai food establishment in Old Colorado City in Colorado Springs moved their longtime restaurant, because a dispensary moved next door and a Hookah Bar  moved on the other side. “They lost so much business, they had no choice,” says a long time patron. 

Bi-products of Hemp industry

Another bi-product of the progressive bill on the use and regulation of marijuana, is the last sentence of the bill, which reads that passage will “require the state legislature to enact legislation concerning the growth and processing, and sale of industrial hemp.” The fire fighter, a state legislator, and other officials are most troubled by what comes after passage of the bill to complete legalization of hemp crops, and the manufacturing plants that are required by the legislature to regulate. “Public safety and details are left out of this bill that remind us all that along the Front Range, should have been considered before this made the ballot.” The fire fighter looks to the hills and shakes his head, “Even after this summer of devastation, we still haven’t learned.”

 

Denver Frex can be found most Fridays in examiner.com. To find out more about issues and happenings along the Front Range e-mail communityradio@juno.com.