A new poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University / PublicMind is the latest to reveal majority support for legalizing marijuana nationwide. 50 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana use according to the poll, with support highest among Democrats and the young, as usual. 63 percent of Democrats versus 32 percent of Republicans favored legalization. 65 percent of Millennials (those between 18 and 34) and 56 percent of Generation X (people between 35 and 50) also favor legalization, while only 48 percent of the Baby Boomers (ages 50-64) and just 36 percent of the Greatest Generation (over age 65) would end marijuana prohibition. Awareness of the legalization issue is strongly in the public’s mind, with 86 percent of the poll respondents saying they’ve heard or read about legalization efforts in Colorado, Washington, and elsewhere. Krista Jenkins, the poll’s director and a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University, said, “The age differences we’re seeing suggest that legal (pot) smoking in the future is more a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if.'”
On the final day of the legislative session, Colorado lawmakers approved a plan to create a system of financial co-ops to serve the marijuana industry. Rep. Johnathan Singer, the chief sponsor of the measure, said the so-called “cannabis credit co-ops” are “the final piece to our pot puzzle,” referring to the lack of checking, credit, payment processing, and loan services denied to state-legal marijuana businesses due to federal banking regulations prohibiting money laundering for drug sales. The co-ops would operate like credit unions, but without a deposit insurance requirement. Checking and credit cards services would have to be approved by the Federal Reserve, which may balk without the deposit insurance requirement. The Obama Administration in February issued guidelines to allow banks to work with marijuana businesses, but absent actual protection from prosecution under a new administration, banks have been reticent to participate in the marijuana industry. The bill awaits Gov. Hickenlooper’s signature.
A plan by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra to perform a series of bring-your-own-pot-friendly “Classically Cannabis” concerts may be snuffed out by the City of Denver. The Orchestra announced three fundraising concerts to be held at a local gallery that would establish a marijuana smoking lounge on its patio. Their disclaimer explained, “Participant understands that attendees may use marijuana at this event, as is their right under Colorado law.” The City of Denver today hand delivered a letter to the Orchestra instructing them to call off the concerts or risk violating Colorado law forbidding public pot smoking, warning, “We will exercise any and all options available to the City of Denver to halt the event.” The Orchestra believes the gallery is a private venue, but the City argues the gallery “may be considered a public place under Colorado law.” The letter does not address the Orchestra’s fourth planned event, a full symphony performance at Red Rocks Amphitheater.
A new Colorado company is seeking to help veterans escape prescription pill addiction and the horrors of PTSD by giving them free marijuana. Roger Martin, an Army vet, is the man behind Operation Grow4Vets, which on Tuesday launched its website at grow-number4-vets-dot-org (grow4vets.org) and in one day had already signed up more than 200 vets seeking help. Veterans suffering from PTSD were strong campaigners for the legalization of marijuana, since Colorado’s medical marijuana law has never included PTSD as a qualifying condition. Last week, the Colorado legislature declined to add PTSD to their program, forcing veterans to remain in the recreational marijuana system that costs them in extra excise and sales taxes and limits their access to the cannabis varietals needed for their conditions. Martin, 61, escaped an oxycontin addiction thanks to marijuana and is working with companies that are donating grow supplies, cannabis oil, and medibles for free distribution to vets.
Those Colorado veterans seeking relief from PTSD and other ailments with medical marijuana breathed a huge sigh of relief Wednesday thanks to a Veteran’s Administration spokesperson. Dan Warvi of the Veterans Administration Eastern Colorado Healthcare System told FOX31 Denver, “Use of state-approved marijuana does not disqualify a veteran for healthcare, and it will not result in any sort of retaliation or denial of services.” Although we’ve previously reported on successful efforts by Michael Krawitz and Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access to end the practice of denying pain meds to vets over their legal use of marijuana, vets and their advocates have long speculated that the VA, being a federal entity, does not recognize the medicinal value of marijuana and may deny coverage if vets mention their state-approved use of cannabis. Warvi’s statement put many of those fears to rest as he explained how VA doctors want to know about their patients’ marijuana use to avoid harmful interactions with other prescriptions.