Top ten Westword marijuana news stories of 2011

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From regulations changing and shops being raided, to pizza delivery guys calling the cops on tokers, it has been an interesting year for medical marijuana in Colorado.

Below is our top ten list of Westword's most popular marijuana stories of 2011 as well as links to the original posts.

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Puff-puff-pass, Mr. President.
10. Marijuana: Colorado to formally ask DEA to designate pot Schedule II controlled substance
When House Bill 1284 was passed into law, many people were upset by the regulations it created. But one small section also forced our state to take an active pro-marijuana position with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

By the end of the year (like, in a few days), the Colorado Department of Revenue director Barbara Brohl has to request that the DEA reschedule marijuana from a schedule I substance with no medicinal value, to a schedule II controlled substance with some recognized medicinal value. Unfortunately, the governors of Washington and Rhode Island beat her to the punch when they both petitioned for the rescheduling together (our own guv has declined to follow their lead).

As of December 20, the letter from Colorado hasn't been mailed. Department spokesman Mark Couch assures us that it's on Brohl's end-of-the-year to-do list, though.

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The raid in progress.
9. Marijuana raid: Cherry Top Farms compliant with state, but feds still seize plants, medicine
Colorado had remained somewhat free of Federal intervention in our dispensary system since shops started flourishing back in 2009, until this raid. The unfortunate part of the story? The DEA wasn't specifically targeting Cherry Top Farms at all. Instead, they were going after the owner Earth's Medicine, Nathan Do, who was allegedly illegally shipping marijuana out of state.

Federal agents followed Do as he made a delivery of what Cherry Top Farms assumed was legal marijuana to their shop and moved in to snag him. Cherry Top Farms managers swear that they were 100 percent compliant, but since Federal agents can't ignore a 2,500 plant grow when they see one - Cherry Top went down with Do and hasn't reopened since.
Some argue that this proved the state's regulation system is working to keep legal shops in business while weeding out bad seeds like Do, while others say it is just a small taste of the massive raids to come.

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Leonard Frieling.
8. Med. marijuana patients pulled over by cops talking their way into jail?
When a guy who used to have to prosecute marijuana cases as judge tells you how to avoid a ticket, you listen. At least, that was the case earlier this month when Latest Word editor Michael Roberts caught up with former Lafayette judge Leonard Frieling.

Despite the urge most patients would have to hand over their card the minute any sign of trouble arises, Frieling says to do the opposite: "Don't drive impaired. Don't break two laws at the same time. And don't confess." When the cops ask "What's that I smell?," Frieling suggests responding with: "I don't smell anything," or, "If you want to have any discussions like that, they have to be arranged through my lawyer.

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$5 says she's not a real nurse.

7. HempCon 2011: What do fake orgasms have to do with medical marijuana?

As I wrote at the time: What does a skeezy beauty pageant, and "hot ass" and "best orgasm" contests have to do with medical marijuana? Nothing.

Both were scheduled events for HempCon 2011 held at the end of September, though after my phone call to the promoters for the original story they pulled the events from the schedule. Some people agreed with us, while others thought our take was prudish. Either way, the story blew up and the discussion in the comment section was one of the best all year.

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8 comments
MMJ Tiimy Top
MMJ Tiimy Top

Absolutely! Westword has always been the premier news source for Denver. And you guys have absorbed the Denver MMJ scene just like everything else, with great writing and excellent, unbiased(as possible) coverage!

Keep it up!!Here's to 2012! Happy Holidays!Cheers!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

At the risk of being a spoiler, the most significant story about cannabis of 2011 has yet to break:  Federal threats to prosecute dispensaries (or their landlords) within 1000' of a school will result in the closure of most dispensaries in Denver, very likely within the first quarter of 2012.  The political prostration of the movement has not gone unnoticed at the United States Department of Injustice and the White House -- Obama believes he can close most dispensaries and still win in Colorado (and he is probably right).

marijuana doctors
marijuana doctors

Number 8 would be the event I won;t forget. It happened to a friend of mine as well. great List.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

And an excellent, awesome job reporting Westword.  Westword is the number one source of cannabis news in Colorado.  Keep up the great work into 2012, Breathes, and all the rest of the 420 crew at Westword.  Major Props!

Ean
Ean

We may disagree about a lot of things regarding marijuana, but I stand by your statement today.  I couldn't agree more!Happy Holidays HCC, Will and Westword.  Keep up the good work in 2012!

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