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CannaBiz: 60 Minutes comes to Colorado 

Colorado's close-up, Part 1

On Sunday night, 60 Minutes reported on the medical marijuana industry in Colorado with a piece titled — you guessed it — "Rocky Mountain High."

The CBS report comes out two weeks before voters here and in Oregon and Washington state vote on whether to legalize marijuana use in general. And with reporter Steve Kroft marveling that there are 204 medical marijuana dispensaries in the Denver area — three times the number of Starbucks and McDonalds combined — the segment highlights how mainstream the plant's presence has become in Colorado.

As part of their reporting, Kroft and company tour Dixie Elixirs, the leading manufacturer of marijuana-laced edibles. What would happen, the news anchor asks, if he downed a bottle of Dixie's sparkling red currant-flavored drink?

"You would have a very long, but mellow afternoon," says Tripp Keber, Dixie CEO, doing his part in the 13-minute segment.

The news crew moves from highlighting the more upscale aspects of medical marijuana "boutique" culture to pointing out that, yes, the Federal Controlled Substances Act insists marijuana is "every bit as dangerous as heroin, with no medical benefit."

Perhaps the most useful part of the piece: U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole goes on record as saying that "we're not interested in bothering people that are sick and are using it at the recommendation of a doctor." Ultimately, he says, "we are concerned with people who are using it as a pretext to become large-scale drug dealers." The report doesn't mention the federal crackdowns on dispensaries deemed too close to school buildings.

You can find the full story, and a 60 Minutes Overtime segment focused on edibles, at cbsnews.com.

Colorado's close-up, Part 2

Continuing on the subject of the "green rush," Newsweek published a cover story Monday titled the "New Pot Barons," where Denver is cast as the new California: a place for smart businesspeople to invest and hope they strike gold.

"This is our Facebook," says Norton Arbelaez, owner of multiple dispensaries and a founding member of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, in the article.

The magazine's eyes are for the capital city only; as is true of the 60 Minutes piece, Colorado Springs earns nary a mention.

Smoke screen

All it takes is a $10 "love donation" to get yourself into a "film exhibition that changes everything." On Friday night, Marmalade at Smokebrush (219 W. Colorado Ave., #210, smokebrush.org) presents Cannabis Kills Cancer, where from 5:30 to 10 p.m. a variety of movies and speakers will cover that very notion. Among the latter is Dr. Bob Melamede, of Cannabis Science and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs fame.

  • And Newsweek drops by too.

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