The state of pot politics in Colorado Springs and more 


Quiet on local RMJ front

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10, you can hear talks about both the politics of pot and the deal with fermented foods, all because the UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art love a good brain dump. Noted local chef Aaron Retka will handle the funky stuff at ChitChat2015: Pot Politics & Fermented Foods, while activist Mark Slaugh will do the rest.

So how are cannabisian affairs of state?

"Nationwide, we're seeing more support," says Slaugh, who owns the iComply consulting service and also heads the pro-recreational-marijuana group Every Vote Counts. "Here in Colorado we're taking new directions on cannabis. Rather than having messaging that is Prohibition-based, it's much more [responsibility]-based, and the 'Good to Know' campaign that the [Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment] launched was a huge shift in the cultural stigmatization."

It's a slightly different story in Colorado Springs, however.

"I think the political climate is still one of a moral high ground for banning cannabis, and [politicians] certainly burying their heads in the sand, pretending the problem has been resolved," he says. "But the reality is if you don't provide legal access for a legal substance in the second-largest population area in Colorado, you're creating more problems than solving them."

Slaugh says there was hope City Council would put an RMJ question on the April ballot, but instead lawmakers "ran out the clock." He cites the timing of the election, an off year in the springtime, as a factor in making it hard to turn out pro-pot voters even if it had made the ballot. No plans are being made to gather signatures until at least the 2016 presidential election. Slaugh also says there are no plans to run a cannabis candidate in either the upcoming Council or mayoral elections.

"And we'll have to see what the field looks like," he says. "I think it's too early to tell if there are enough candidates that are pro-freedom. A lot of people claim to be and then certainly choose to restrict the rights of others."

Tickets to the talk at GOCA 121 (121 S. Tejon St., #100) are $5 to $10.

Summarized knowledge

Recent state laws have mandated two notable moves: First, $8 million in funding given for new research on marijuana, and then the creation of a report summarizing existing research, of which the state released an 188-page version Monday.

"Monitoring Health Concerns Related to Marijuana in Colorado: 2014" — which you can read at tiny.cc/9degtx — offers takeaways familiar to frequent followers of the topic. One summary sentence makes clear the general difficulty, however: "Marijuana use was illegal everywhere in the United States prior to 1996," it says. "Research funding, when appropriated, was commonly sought to identify adverse effects from marijuana use. This legal fact introduces both funding bias and publication bias into the body of literature."


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