| AspenTimes.com

Denver officials want to erase low-level marijuana offenses

DENVER — Denver officials are planning to clear thousands of marijuana convictions prosecuted before its use became legal in the state.

Colorado was among the first states to broadly allow the use and sale of marijuana by adults, but cities elsewhere have led the way on automatic expungement of past misdemeanor marijuana convictions.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Michael Hancock said Tuesday that city officials are still working on a plan to review the low-level convictions deemed eligible, an estimated 10,000 convictions between 2001 and 2013.

Denver officials, including the city attorney, are developing the right approach with the district attorney’s office, said Theresa Marchetta, Hancock’s spokeswoman. The mayor may issue a sweeping executive order or direct city staff to work with legal authorities and clear the cases individually, she said.

San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle announced their efforts early this year, framing the work as an attempt to repair years of damage on people who found that a misdemeanor conviction could bar them from jobs, housing and financial resources.

Minority and low-income communities have been particularly hurt by those barriers, Hancock said in a statement.

“This is an injustice that needs to be corrected, and we are going to provide a pathway to move on from an era of marijuana prohibition that has impacted the lives of thousands of people,” Hancock said in a statement.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia now allow broad marijuana use, and Colorado state lawmakers have begun tackling the issue. California this year passed a law requiring the state Department of Justice to identify marijuana convictions eligible for erasure or reduction and provide lists to local district attorneys.

“It’s a long time in coming,” said Art Way, director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s Colorado office.

Colorado lets people petition courts to remove low-level offenses including possession from their records. But advocates said that can become expensive and time-consuming, and district attorneys can challenge the requests.

High Country: The 6 best cannabis-infused salves for sore ski legs

No matter how ready you think you are, come opening day, the sound of screaming ski legs rings louder than your alarm the next morning. Thanks to the hard work of the Aspen-Snowmass mountain operations team and 12 inches of new snow over the holiday weekend, it's probably safe to say you're now dealing with some serious soreness this week.

One of the best ways to manage muscle pain is with topicals — another buzzword to learn in the legal cannabis lexicon. Like CBD-only products, these lotions and potions don't get you high. Instead, they're absorbed directly through the skin for localized pain and inflammation relief while providing your skin with the nourishment it needs to battle the effects of cold, dry air at altitude.

So to help you make the most of your days on the mountain, here are the six best cannabis-infused salves to try this season:

1. Dixie Synergy Heat, $26

Pick this relief balm for your post-skiing routine to melt away fatigue, swelling and discomfort on your feet. Like all of Dixie's Synergy balms (also available in Cool and Relief), it's formulated with a 1:1 ratio of 50 milligrams of THC and 50 milligrams of CBD, resulting in a harmonious, healing entourage effect that's greater than the sum of individual cannabinoids found in most infused topicals. The beeswax and cocoa butter base is highly concentrated, yet easy to apply, working wonders when deeply massaged into problem areas. Blending together more than 20 essential oils, including cinnamon leaf oil, fennel oil, black pepper oil and ginger root oil, it boasts calming aromatherapy benefits.

Shop: Roots RX and Silverpeak in Aspen or dixieelixirs.com

2. Cause+Medic HEMP Pain Cream, $40

I discovered this Denver-based company during a recent visit to Boulder, where the St. Julien Hotel & Spa offers a cannabis massage on its treatment menu. While not yet available locally (stockists coming soon), the powerful pain relief it provides is worth the online order. Each bottle combines 400 milligrams of water-soluble hemp oil with active botanical ingredients like menthol, camphor, aloe and sunflower seed oil for maximum medicinal benefit.

Shop: causemedicated.com

3. Mary's Medicinals Muscle Freeze, $44

This Icy Hot-like, light formula combines organic, hemp-sourced CBD with naturally cooling plant nutrients, which makes it work in an instant. Each 3.25 ounce bottle is packed with 50 milligrams of active cannabinoids, providing relief that lasts up to four hours per dose and the roll-on dispenser makes it the perfect portable pick for your daypack.

Shop: Best Day Ever, Euflora, Green Dragon, The Green Joint, Native Roots, Roots Rx and Silverpeak in Aspen or marysmedicinals.com

4. Lord Jones Body Lotion, $60

Since its launch in Los Angeles in 2016, Lord Jones has emerged as a cult favorite among celebrities who swear by its best-selling body lotion before and after appearances spent in stilettos. Now on shelves in Colorado (and available nationwide online), lube up before you boot up with the silky, fragrant salve formulated with Frescolat — a natural agent that creates a cooling sensation upon contact. Each vacuum pump, 1.7 ounce bottle contains 100 milligrams of CBD for up to 50 applications.

Shop: Native Roots in Aspen or lordjones.com

5. Stratos Soothe 1:1, $40

As the signature topical compound in the Denver-based company's portfolio of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis products, Soothe 1:1 is a savior for super dry skin and with consistent use, can cure cracked heels in a matter of days. Packed with 100 milligrams of CBD and 100 milligrams of THC — providing for an effective entourage effect — along with six essential oils, the formula is thick, yet smooth and easily absorbed when applying. Plus, it's gluten-, paraben- and nut-free.

Shop: The Green Joint in Aspen or stratosthc.com

6. Sopris Health & Wellness Soothing Salve, $39.99

As the Roaring Fork Valley's leading purveyor of high-quality CBD supplements, Sopris Health and Wellness' beeswax-based salve is formulated with three active ingredients. Camphor oil starts each application with a warming sensation, arnica is then quickly absorbed into the skin, allowing for full-spectrum CBD to work its magic on sore muscle tissue. Almond, avocado and coconut oils smooth out its rich texture and make it extra moisturizing.

Shop: Fahrenheit Body Spas in Basalt, Mana Foods and Bombshell Salon in Carbondale, Providence Apothecary in Glenwood Springs or soprishealthandwellness.com

Katie Shapiro can be reached at katie@katieshapiromedia.com and followed on Twitter @kshapiromedia.

High Country: Arcview at altitude

MJBizCon, marijuana's first official, national trade show started in 2012. Since then, it has grown to hosting ancillary events in Toronto and New Orleans and earlier this month, welcomed 27,600 attendees and more than 1,000 exhibitors to its flagship conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

For Jim Lewi, what comes next on the cannabis calendar is "the anti-conference," where 150 marijuana and music industry insiders will convene (Dec. 2 to 5, aspenhighsummit.com) at the Limelight Hotel for the 2nd Annual Aspen High Summit.

Lewi, who heads up both Goldstar and Red Light Management in Los Angeles, founded the Aspen Live conference in 1996 — a must-attend annual escape for high-profile entertainment executives (Dec. 6-8, aspenlive.com). Last year, he merged with the Arcview Group to present a prequel track of programming examining the intersections of the two industries and how each can work together in preparation for the inevitable: the federal legalization of cannabis.

An immediate success (dates were confirmed shortly after last year's event), it's returning for what Lewi is coining the "Sun Valley of Cannabis," in comparing it to Allen & Company's long-running meeting of the media minds in Idaho every summer.

"This summit gives the leaders in cannabis business a great opportunity to share best practices and brainstorm ways to collaborate to create change. If MJBizCon, which was bigger than ever, taught us anything, it is that there are a lot of new people that believe because they know one industry, cannabis should be easy," says Lewi. "Although we need great business people with different skill sets coming into cannabis, we still need the guidance and leadership of those that paved the way … those with experience to lead and educate the pack."

One such leader is legendary activist, entrepreneur and pioneer Steve D'Angelo, who throughout his four-decade career, has helped shape the medicinal and recreational cannabis industry as we know it. Also president of the Arcview Group, D'Angelo will return to Aspen again to serve as the master of ceremonies.

Most commonly compared to a "Shark Tank" style investment firm, Arcview hosts a year-round schedule of Investor Forums across the globe. It's also a go-to resource for comprehensive market research, its most recent report estimating that legal cannabis business will generate $57 billion globally by 2027.

"That figure is not even counting the federal government changing its policies. If that happens, we're going to see those numbers go through the roof," explains Troy Dayton, CEO of the Arcview Group. "We're at a really interesting crossroads where the bigger corporations are starting to come into the industry, so it's even more important to gather in small environments with key people."

On the heels of an Arcview Investor Forum in Las Vegas, intentionally held in the days leading right up to MJBizCon, Dayton calls the Aspen High Summit "a calm and more intimate chaser" to the "intensity of it all."

While panel discussions featuring high-profile guest speakers (the lineup is exclusive to attendees leading up to the event) will anchor the three days, Dayton says the focus is more about taking the time to relax and connect on a social level versus marathon days spent at the cannabis industry's many mega-conferences.

"It's all about the hang here. The best business relationships aren't made at a trade show booth and business deals aren't done from the stage … it's done on the slopes during the day and sitting around the fire at night, smoking really great weed and having really smart conversations," Dayton says. "In this industry, we are all working so hard, so having this opportunity to truly connect with those who care so much about this plant and movement is what makes the Aspen High Summit so revolutionary."

This week’s High Buy

Chanukah comes early this year (Dec. 2 to 10) and this limited-edition Grav Labs Menorah bubbler will take your holiday sessions even higher.
Custom-designed by the CEO of Grav Labs for his own family celebration, the Austin-based authority on scientific glass officially introduced the piece in 2016 and has released a run of 200 in mid-November every season since. Outfitted with eight bowls (the number of nights in the Festival of Lights), the “shamash” (the ninth candle holder on a traditional Menorah) serves as the mouthpiece, providing for eight crazy puffs. Available on grav.com

Katie Shapiro can be reached at katie@katieshapiromedia.com or followed on Twitter @kshapiromedia.

High Buy: LEVO II Oil-Infusion Machine

With snowflakes already falling, it's a known fact that life for locals in High Country is pretty uneventful until the lifts start spinning. Aside from focusing on work and taking ski-conditioning classes, the other way I'm passing the time is experimenting in the kitchen.

I had only cooked with cannabis for special occasions, but when a LEVO landed on my countertop last fall, infusing oils and butters became as easy as the press of a button. With touchscreen control settings, internal straining and dishwasher-safe parts, using a LEVO is so simple (and fun) that I'm cranking out batches of bud-enhanced blends to go with most meals. What I've coined as "the KitchenAid of Cannabis" also works just as well to pair popular herbs from basil to rosemary with oils from grapeseed to sesame.

Since it first hit shelves in 2017, the Denver-based startup has sold 10,000 units of the appliance and is available in 850 retail locations nationwide. Now, the company has just released the LEVO II—an even more streamlined experience packed with improved features and innovative technology along with a companion app to program infusions wirelessly.

LEVO II retails for $349.99, comes in five different colors and is available on the company's website (levooil.com). Locally, it will hit shelves at Silverpeak, where you can currently find the first-edition in the boutique, in early-December.

For those who decide to splurge on a LEVO, here's my recipe for a favorite seasonal squash—best served as a side dish or atop an arugula salad:

LEVO CANNABIS INFUSED OLIVE OIL

Ingredients

• 2.5 grams of dry cannabis flower; break down by hand (do not grind)

• 1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

• Set LEVO to infuse at 170 degrees for 2.5 hours

Dosage:

• It depends on the percentage of THC in the dry cannabis flower you decide to use. With 2.5 grams of a modest 10 percent THC strain, 1 cup of infused olive oil contains 250 milligrams, which measures out to approximately 15 milligrams per tablespoon.

• The recipe contains 30 milligrams total of THC. Split among two people and taking into consideration that some oil gets burned off and left on the pan, expect to consume 10 milligrams of THC, the standard, regulated dose found in pre-packaged edibles for sale.

HIGH COUNTRY DELICATA SQUASH

Yield: Serves 2

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

• 1 large Delicata squash

• 2 tablespoons cannabis infused olive oil

• 2 tablespoons maple syrup

• Himalayan pink salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

• Preheat oven to 400 degrees

• Leaving skin on (it's edible and provides for a perfect crunch), halve the squash lengthwise and de-seed; cut halves into 1/2-inch slices

• Arrange on a small baking sheet

• Brush will cannabis infused olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper

• Bake for 20 minutes, flip squash rings over and brush again with cannabis infused olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper

• Add drizzle of maple syrup and bake for 15 more minutes until crisp and golden brown

• Add salt and pepper to taste and serve

Katie Shapiro can be reached at katie@katieshapiromedia.com or followed on Twitter @kshapiromedia.

High Country: A Complete Guide to Aspen’s Downtown Dispensaries

Earlier this month, The Aspen Times' annual Best of Aspen issue hit newsstands, revealing the top three winners for "Best Dispensary" according to our loyal readers. The Green Joint, which only officially opened for business in September, took top honors followed by Silverpeak and Best Day Ever in second and third place, respectively.

In a small ski town with seven dispensaries in its downtown core alone, each has something of value to offer — from stocking exclusive brands to granting locals' discounts to presenting loyalty programs — all in competition for resident and tourist dollars alike.

While Snowmass continues to cry Reefer Madness, recently extending its moratorium on marijuana retailers for a third time until April 30, 2019, Aspen is notorious for having one of the highest pot-shop densities of any city in the country.

And with so many options, it's a challenge to try and navigate where to go for what. So just in time to take advantage of some dank offseason deals, here's a complete rundown of Aspen's downtown dispensary scene:

Note: Dispensaries are listed in alphabetical order, not ranked; All offseason deals are subject to change.

Best Day Ever, @bestdayever

About: Independently owned by longtime local Michael Gurtman, this second-floor compact cannabis gallery not only offers organically grown, potent flower, but also showcases a highly curated selection of limited-edition glass art accessories from Yunk, John Williams, Snic, Matt Robinson and more. They also stock hard-to-find Lebanese and Moroccan hash from The Greenery Hash Factory, handcrafted in Durango carrying on true Middle Eastern tradition.

Offseason deals: $100 ounces (dependent on strain); $15 and $20 eighths (dependent on strain); concentrates sale (varies by brand)

Loyalty program: 1 point for every dollar spent; 100 points earns $5 in store credit Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Shop: Recreational, debit cards and cash accepted, 520 E. Cooper Ave., 2nd floor, 970-618-5727, bestdayevercannabis.com

Euflora, @eufloraco

About: Denver-based dispensary chain Euflora opened their sixth Colorado location in what was formerly known as Stash. Fresh off of a complete interior redesign, multiple stations with iPads enable its knowledgeable staff to further educate customers on the rotating menu of greenhouse-grown strains. Euflora's sister brand District Edibles retail for $16 for 10 pieces (in nine fruity flavors), which stakes claim as the lowest priced gummies in town.

Offseason deals: $20 eighths (dependent on strain); "Early Bud Special" gives 15 percent off any purchase on weekdays from 9 to 10 a.m.; ongoing specials from "Wax Wednesday" to "Social Saturday" offer discounts every day of the week.

Loyalty program: 1 point for every dollar spent; 250 points earns $25 in store credit Hours: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Shop: Recreational, cash only, 710 E. Durant Ave., 970-925-6468, eufloracolorado.com

Green Dragon, @greendragoncolorado

About: With a state-of-the-art grow facility at its Glenwood Springs-based headquarters, Green Dragon produces flower for its 12 locations across the state. A selection of Green Dragon-exclusive strains, which come in precise, plastic sealed to-go packs, which while sad for the planet, makes transactions faster than at other dispensaries. The long counter encases an extensive collection of edibles, concentrates and topicals with another wall stocked with accessories and branded swag.

Offseason deals: N/A

Loyalty program: 1 point for every dollar spent; 500 points earns $25 in store credit Hours: 9 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.

Shop: Recreational, credit cards, debit cards and cash accepted, 409 E. Hyman Ave., 970-429-4365, greendragon.com

The Green Joint, @the_green_joint

About: Serving the greater Roaring Fork Valley since 2009 from the original outpost in Glenwood Springs, The Green Joint has grown to four area locations. Its newest shop, which opened in September, is the closest to Aspen Mountain and stocks the best selection of products across all categories with a super knowledgeable staff of "Cannaguides" to explain it all. Order ahead through its "Green2Go" online program so your stash is ready for pickup before or after you hit the slopes.

Offseason deals: Buy one get one eighths (dependent on strain); $30 quarters (dependent on strain); $80 ounces (shake); buy one get one concentrates; free joint with any purchase over $30

Loyalty program: Coming soon

Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Shop: Recreational, debit cards and cash accepted, 720 E. Durant Ave., 970-710-2657, thegreenjoint.com

Native Roots, @nativerootsdispo

About: What began as a medical dispensary on the 16th Street Mall in 2013, Native Roots' signature black and white pop-art graphics mark the spot at each and every one of its 20 shops in Colorado (and counting). Now considered one of the largest chains of marijuana shops in the U.S., its crew of homegrown owners have blazed a trail for the entire industry. Modern, bright displays showcase signature strains and concentrates, plus the pioneers in the product space from Mary's Medicinals and Lord Jones, to Sweet Mary Jane and marQaha. Picking up a pack of Native Roots Shortys (five mini joints) for party favors also is must.

Offseason deals: "Local's Discount" offers a varied percent off of select products

Loyalty program: Text "go" to 844-714-9665 to enroll for VIP text updates with specials, discounts, access to concert tickets and more; get one penny joint with first purchase after signing up

Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (offseason), 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (regular)

Shop: Recreational and medical, debit cards and cash accepted, 308 S. Hunter St., 970-429-4443, nativerootsdispensary.com

Roots Rx, @rootsrxco

About: One of six locations along the I-70 corridor, RootsRx has a super friendly staff who are always helpful in recommending edibles, accessories and bud that's "prescription strength, with no prescription needed." It's also known for competitive pricing, including the cheapest pre-rolls in town at $2 a pop and the only shop in town where you can find Willie's Reserve (the legendary crooner and cannabis advocate's own brand) and plant seeds to grow your own at home.

Offseason deals: $15 eighths (dependent on strain); "Local Wax Shelf" offers a selection of concentrates for under $30

Loyalty program: 1 point for every dollar spent; 500 points earns $25 in store credit

Hours: 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.

Shop: Recreational, debit cards and cash accepted, 400 E. Hyman Ave., 970-900-9333, rootsrxstores.com

Silverpeak, @silverpeakcannabis

About: Catering to Aspen's luxury-loving reputation, Silverpeak offers the chicest shopping experience of them all, with every purchase presented on a silver platter. Clean lines, natural light, rich woods and custom cases make its organic cannabis (grown nearby in Basalt) look better than ever. You'll also find the latest in vaporizer technology, glass, accessories, books and souvenirs in a separate boutique space.

Offseason deals: "Popcorn" eighths for $15 from Thursday-Sunday while supplies last; "Local's Discount" offers a varied percent off of select products

Loyalty program: 50 points for signing up; 20 points each visit after; rewards vary from dollar pre-rolls for 90 points up to $35 in store credit for 830 points

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (offseason), 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (regular)

Shop: Recreational and medical, cash only, 520 E. Cooper Ave. 970-925-4372, silverpeakcannabis.com

Katie Shapiro can be reached at katie@katieshapiromedia.com or followed on Twitter @kshapiromedia

Colorado releases 5-year marijuana study on teen use, driving stats

After five years of data collection, the Colorado Department of Public Safety released its much-anticipated baseline report on the impacts of marijuana legalization.

The data provide glimpses for the first time into the how legalization has impacted several highly-charged subjects, including usage among young people and driving impairment.

The report shows that Colorado has not experienced an increase in marijuana use among young people, although it was the single most common reason for school expulsions in the 2016-17 school year. Marijuana also has not impacted graduation rates or drop-out rates Graduation rates have increased while drop-out rates have decreased since 2012.

Marijuana's impact on driving is a mixed bag, the report found. The number of fatalities where a driver tested positive for any cannabinoid increased to 21 percent in 2017 from 11 percent in 2013.

However, the percent of drivers who tested above the legal limit of THC decreased to 7.5 percent in 2017 from 11.6 percent in 2016 while the number of citations for marijuana-only impairment stayed steady at around 7 percent over the 5-year time period, the report said. Overall, Colorado State Patrol DUI cases were down between 2014 and 2017.

For more on this story, go to denverpost.com.

 

Pot sales tax, fire district funding at center of Snowmass election

The polls are open as of this week, and while the number of hyper-local issues in Snowmass is sparse, the two-page ballot residents will cast is anything but light.

"It's a very long and complex ballot," Pitkin County clerk and recorder Janice Vos Caudill said before the Snowmass Town Council at a meeting Oct. 15.

The ballot boasts more than 13 state measures, while Pitkin County poses its own 13 questions.

In Snowmass Village, the electorate is asked if it would like to add a sales tax on recreational marijuana; pot sales in town are expected to be legal after the current moratorium expires April 30.

The ballot also includes a measure on the mayoral and two council seats, however, the candidates are all running unopposed for the first time in the town of Snowmass' 41-year history.

The Snowmass and Basalt fire districts also are asking voters to approve ballot measures that will allow them to adjust their mill levies.

Below is more information on the Snowmass-specific ballot questions as well as where and when to vote on Election Day, Nov. 6.

Readers also are encouraged to view up-to-date content on county and state issues on The Aspen Times' election page http://www.aspentimes.com/election.

"It's always important to remind Snowmass Village residents that they're also Pitkin County residents," Town Manager Clint Kinney said Monday. "And it's an important race to pay attention to."

POT SALES TAX

With recreational pot sales positioned to be legal in Snowmass Village after its fourth moratorium ends April 30, voters will decide if the town should pose an additional 5 percent sales tax on marijuana.

The ballot question asks if Snowmass Village should implement an added tax on the sale of retail marijuana and respective products, which town staff believes would generate between $194,967 and $584,900 annually. These projections include the 15 percent excise tax and 10 percent sales on recreational marijuana that the state levies across all jurisdictions.

Some municipalities, however, tack on an additional sales tax at its dispensaries of as much as 5 percent. The city of Aspen does not levy an added tax.

Without the added sales tax, Snowmass Village anticipates that marijuana sales could garner the town an additional $97,483 to $292,450 in revenue.

Altogether, the town projects that pot shops would sell between $1.9 million and $5.8 million in Snowmass Village, according to town documents.

The language on the ballot question may read confusing, starting with, "Shall Town of Snowmass Village taxes be increased by ($400,000) annually in the first fiscal year."

The $400,000 figure is simply a maximum projection that the town believes the added sales tax could generate, Kinney explained Monday, because of restrictions with collecting taxes posed by a state constitutional provision called the TABOR Amendment.

Should voters approve the added marijuana sales tax, the dollars would go into the town of Snowmass' general fund, however, the council could further specify where the money will be spent at a later date.

MAYORAL AND COUNCIL RACE

These are two of the simplest question on the ballot because voters are asked to "vote for one" mayoral candidate where only one option exists, and "vote for two" Town Council members, again with only two selections.

All three Snowmass Village incumbents — Mayor Markey Butler and town councilmen Bob Sirkus and Bill Madsen — will enter their next terms unopposed.

The mayoral seat has gone uncontested in the past, according to election results from the town of Snowmass Village, but it is a first for the council seats.

"I guess it's a sign of stability," Kinney said Monday. Kinney hopes the lack of outside interest means the community is satisfied with the town's current leadership, but said it is impossible to know for certain.

Snowmass voters in the November 2016 election cast their ballots in favor of the incumbents, with Town Council members Alyssa Shenk and Tom Goode winning over challenger Jamie Knowlton, and Butler securing her seat over Richard Goodwin.

Town Council members in Snowmass Village are eligible to serve two four-year terms. The mayor is allowed three two-year terms.

Goode and Shenk will be up for re-election in 2020.

Shenk was first appointed to council in 2014 to fill Butler's vacated seat when she was elected mayor. Goode won a special election in October 2015 in the wake of former Councilman Chris Jacobson's recall.

FIRE DISTRICT FUNDING

The merging Snowmass and Basalt fire districts, which together will be called the Roaring Fork Fire Authority effective Jan. 1, are asking to adjust their mill levies so that the departments' revenue remains the same.

Without the adjustment, the Snowmass fire department would experience a decrease estimated at $373,000 in 2020 from the amount collected in 2017 and 2018. In Basalt, the district's revenue would drop an estimated $279,000.

Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District currently collects $3.3 million from 6.601 mills. It would need to increase the mill levy to 7.4 mills in 2020 to collect that same revenue.

Basalt and Rural Fire District currently collects $2.92 million from 8 mills. It would need to increase the mill levy to 8.9 mills in 2020 to collect that same revenue.

Without action, the revenue will fall because of a provision in the Colorado Constitution called the Gallagher Amendment, which sets ratios for residential and non-residential property. As more homes are developed in the state, the tax rate applied to residences is decreased to stay within the overall ratio.

Snowmass fire chief Scott Thompson stressed this measure is about maintaining revenue at the current level, not increasing them.

FOR MORE ON THE 2018 ELECTION …

Pitkin County residents can review sample ballots, as well as reporting on Election Day, at http://www.pitkinvotes.org.

Snowmass Town Hall is one of three voter service and polling centers that will be open on Election Day, along with the Pitkin County Administration Building at 530 E. Main St. in Aspen and Grace Church at 1776 Emma Road in Basalt.

The three local centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 6.

Snowmass Sun reporter Scott Condon contributed to this report.

Colorado’s annual pot sales top $1 billion in record time

Marijuana sales in Colorado exceeded $1 billion as of August of this year, with tax revenue from those sales coming in at $200 million, according to a report from the Colorado Department of Revenue and its Marijuana Enforcement Division.

It’s the earliest point in any of the four years Colorado has had legal recreational marijuana that combined medical and rec sales have cracked the billion-dollar mark.

Total combined recreational and medical marijuana sales through August hit $1,022,245,511, according to the MED, setting the state on a trajectory to break last year’s record of more than $1.5 billion in sales.

State officials highlighted the industry’s growth in a news release Thursday. The release also shared findings from the Marijuana Enforcement Division’s 2018 Mid-Year Update, released Sept. 10.

Read more from The Denver Post.

Granola goes green with Wise Bar

Last month, I introduced you to Sopris Health & Wellness, citing their launch as part of the current CBD craze sweeping the country. The following weekend, I found an Elevated Elixirs sandwich board promoting on-site CBD infusions to its kombucha at the Basalt Sunday Market. A few days later, I did a double take at Local Coffee House when I saw a Wise Bar display to the right of the register stamped with the words "CBD-Infused; delicious organic ingredients; vegan/gluten free; compostable."

The non-THC cannabis trend has already found its way into juice bars, natural food stores and vegetarian cafés in larger legal cities, but now is officially underway in the Roaring Fork Valley. I reached out blindly on the Wise Bar website (wise-bars.com) to learn more, received a note back from Chris Dominick and promptly set up a meeting at Local to talk about his new company.

With a day job working for an area land trust nonprofit, Dominick, 27, started our conversation with the disclaimer that the idea for Wise Bar was actually that of his younger brother, Josh Dominick.

"We've always appreciated the health benefits of cannabis. It originally hatched as a brand of THC-infused granola bars because we wanted to have an edible that wasn't sugary garbage that also worked as an energy bar," Dominick explains. "We knew from the beginning it was going to be gluten-free, raw and vegan, but super tasty. And it had to be effective for our outdoor lifestyle."

The Dominicks, who grew up in Denver and now live in Carbondale, spent holidays and summers visiting their grandmother, who lives in Aspen. Wise Bar first started as a takeover of her kitchen, of which Dominick says, "We would just go up there when we had time. … She had the food processors and gear we needed and didn't mind us making a complete mess."

He adds, "Once we got the recipes down, we realized it was something we could feasibly turn into a business. We invested in our own equipment and continued to experiment at home, but realized if we wanted to start selling bars, we were going to need a commercial kitchen."

The Dominicks found an industrial space to rent in Glenwood Springs last fall and have since added their childhood friend Ryan Nuccio, who also works on the cultivation team at Silverpeak's High Valley Farm, to the team. They tapped Carbondale artist Chris Hassig to create the brand's identity and website, but when his rate exceeded their budget, they gave him an ownership stake.

Together, the four-man team of founders is burning the midnight CBD oil to crank out bars in five flavors: Cashew Lemon Ginger, Peanut Butter & Jam, Tropical Blastoff, Mexican Chocolate and Apple Pie. Each bar is packed with 25mg of CBD, sourced from Colorado Cultivars, an organic hemp farming co-op in Boulder. The certified organic and fair trade ingredients like oats, dates and almonds, mango, pineapple and coconut are ordered in bulk through International Harvest.

Wise Bar's CBD line is available in Aspen at Local Coffee House and Aspen Shakti, Heirlooms and Confluence Coffee Café in Basalt and True Nature Healing Arts in Carbondale.

Retailing for $9, Dominick admits, "That's a lot of money for a health bar, but we hope that people recognize the quality of the ingredients that go into each one, the quality of cannabis we use and the fact our packaging is completely compostable. We didn't want to skimp out on the cost of anything and are really proud of the fact that our bars are made by hand in the valley."

You can also find Wise Bar at the third annual Lead With Love Summit (Oct. 25 to 28) where they are the organization's first-ever cannabis brand sponsor. As a "1 Percent For The Love" partner, one percent of Wise Bar sales during the conference will support Lead With Love's Leadership, Wellbeing and Service initiatives with the Wise guys present to offer up samples during daily snack breaks between sessions.

"We (also) discovered Wise Bar at our favorite Aspen coffee shop, Local Coffee House and were really excited to see a CBD-only edible that was local to the valley. Both of our teams are very small with big hearts, so in speaking to them, we found a lot of synergies," says Lead With Love program director Nicole Lindstrom. "We can't wait for our attendees to try their product and meet the creators!"

"It's a huge exposure opportunity for us and it takes some courage on their part. They are willing to say, 'This is something that we know is important for wellness,'" Dominick says. "We're at a point now where it just makes sense for cannabis to be incorporated holistically into your daily routine versus medicines that treat one symptom."

While the CBD lifestyle has finally arrived at altitude, also look for Wise Bar's THC line this winter when it's slated to launch on shelf in local dispensaries and beyond.

Katie Shapiro can be reached at katie@katieshapiromedia.com and followed on Twitter @kshapiromedia

Federal prosecutor: Loopholes remain in Colorado’s regulated marijuana industry

DENVER — Colorado’s system for regulating marijuana has too many loopholes that disguise illegal activity and jeopardize public safety, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday, detailing his motivation for boosting scrutiny in the first state to broadly allow cannabis sales.

U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer said he is particularly concerned with how companies that grow marijuana account for damaged product and the state’s system allowing people to grow a certain number of plants at home for medical use. He said both situations create an opportunity for marijuana to be sold on the black market and require federal prosecutors to take a closer look at Colorado’s regulated marijuana industry.

“If somebody is licensed by this state, should they feel at increased risk of federal prosecution now?” Troyer said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Yes. They should. We do a public safety analysis, not an analysis of whether someone has a piece of paper from the state.”

Troyer first discussed the enforcement shift in an op-ed published this weekend by The Denver Post, writing that a successful crackdown on illegal marijuana grows on federal land has given Colorado-based authorities the resources to investigate other issues.

He said that could lead to enforcement actions against businesses licensed under the state regulatory system Colorado developed after voters’ 2012 approval of a constitutional amendment broadly allowing marijuana sales to adults. State-tracked sales now total more than $1 billion per year.

“You can do plenty of harm to the community and still be in compliance with state law because those laws have a lot of loopholes and they’re very permissive,” Troyer said.

Troyer said police still find large illegal marijuana grows inside residential homes, run by organizations hoping to sell the plants in other states. Colorado lawmakers in 2017 lowered the number of plants people can legally grow at home for medical use to 16, aiming to make it harder to grow outside the regulated system undetected.

Troyer said he’s skeptical of how some marijuana growers licensed by the state account for damaged product, which must be reported to regulators.

A state-commissioned study in August found that the reported percentage of contaminated or destroyed marijuana product fell from 9.2 percent of all production in 2015 to 1.9 percent in 2017. The authors said that suggested “broad improvement in compliance” and other improvements in the industry and regulatory system.

Troyer’s other concerns focus on public health, including vaping devices designed to look like highlighters or eyeliner pencils that may appeal to people younger than 21, Colorado’s legal age for marijuana use.

He also highlighted a May phone survey of marijuana retailers conducted by Denver Health researchers.

The researchers posed as pregnant women, telling marijuana dispensaries’ staffers about morning sickness and requesting advice about cannabis products. About 69 percent recommended a marijuana product to treat the side effect and less than a third recommended talking to a doctor first.

At the time, an industry group said the survey showed more staff education and training was needed. State regulators issued a bulletin reminding retailers about mandatory product labels warning of marijuana’s potential risks to pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Colorado’s marijuana industry has had a muted response to Troyer’s strategy.

Mason Tvert, a spokesman for The Marijuana Policy Project and a key supporter of Colorado’s constitutional amendment, said the industry has always operated in an uncertain environment, selling products that are federally illegal.

“It’s important that they take advantage of this being a regulated system and not go breaking down doors,” Tvert said. “Instead, they should be picking up the phone and calling. What they’ll find is that these businesses want to follow the rules and do whatever they can to work with local, state and fed officials to stay out of trouble.”

In response to Troyer’s op-ed, a spokeswoman for Gov. John Hickenlooper said that state officials work closely with federal authorities.

“We remain committed to maintaining the integrity of the system we’ve built,” spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said. “That means attentive regulatory oversight and enforcement and, where necessary, criminal enforcement against anyone who abuses our rules.”