Marijuana: Mayor Michael Hancock's treatment of pot industry "beyond insulting," activist says

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Photo by Kate Levy
Michael Hancock on the night he was elected Denver mayor. More photos below.
Press releases don't typically stir passions. But cannabis activist Wanda James was incensed after receiving a missive from Mayor Michael Hancock (see it below) in which he thanked the Denver City Council for passing his $3.35 million marijuana budget proposal but offered no kudos to the pot industry that generated all that extra cash.

James says that's nothing new. In her view, the way Hancock and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper have treated the cannabis industry to date is "beyond insulting."

The city council unanimously approved Hancock's proposal to spend Denver marijuana revenues. His plan calls for money to be allocated in three categories, with $1,785,700 going to "business regulations and neighborhood safety," $825,700 to "law enforcement and public safety" and $746,000 to "youth and public education."

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Wanda James.
But according to James, Hancock's salute to council members leaves out plenty of others deserving of praise. She's frustrated that "the mayor of Denver will not acknowledge all the good things that have happened for the city and the state because of this industry."

James is a veteran restaurateur and former infused-edibles business owner who's currently fronting Cannabis Global Initiative, a consulting firm "working with cities, states, organizations and even countries like Jamaica to help further the advancement of cannabis." And from her perspective, a lot of the good economic news in Denver and Colorado of late has been partly or largely fueled by marijuana legalization.

She cites increased tourism, a rise in Colorado college applications, more passengers traveling through Denver International Airport, thousands of families moving to the state so that their seizure-afflicted children can receive high-CBD oil treatment that seems to help them far more than other therapies. And that's not to mention "the number of properties that have been rented and renovated and continue to help this city grow and turn bad neighborhoods into booming districts, i.e. south Broadway.

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A file photo of Mayor Michael Hancock.
"So many entrepreneurs have come to Denver, learned this industry, invested in this industry," she continues. "And yet we haven't seen one ribbon-cutting from the mayor or the governor, and not one positive word from either of them about the amazing things that are happening here because of this industry."

She contrasts the approach of Hancock -- a vocal opponent of Amendment 64, the measure that legalized limited recreational cannabis sales to adults age 21 and over -- with recent comments from national figures.

"If the current president of the United States can acknowledge that it's time to stop arresting minority people over this, if [U.S. Attorney General] Eric Holder can understand how important this is, and if Bill Clinton can come to Colorado and say it's time for a change, how dare the mayor and the governor, both Democrats, not acknowledge the fact that great things are happening in their city and their state."

Here's the aforementioned press release:

Mayor Hancock Thanks Denver City Council for Approval of Marijuana Budget Proposal

DENVER -- Mayor Michael B. Hancock today released the following statement regarding Denver City Council's unanimous approval of a $3.35 million spending plan that will allow the city to meet immediate regulatory, safety and education needs directly tied to the new retail marijuana industry.

"As the first state to establish a retail marijuana industry, Denver and Colorado are creating a regulatory framework from the ground up. One that will serve as a model not only in the U.S. but worldwide. To ensure we get this right from the beginning, we must have the proper resources in place."

"I want to thank the Denver City Council for their thoughtful consideration of the spending plan. Their approval tonight will give the city the tools to appropriately regulate the industry and protect our neighborhoods, children, parks and other public spaces."

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Marijuana archive circa October 2012: "Marijuana: Wanda James on closure of edibles business, MMJ banking, Obama and more."

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93 comments
KathleenChippi
KathleenChippi topcommenter

Wanda James an activist?  Jesus. How about a lobbyist/entrepreneur working for corporate whores? Just sayin.....lol

Mark J Pastika
Mark J Pastika

DonCarlos... I could not care less if you douches read my comments... Listen? Do you read these comments aloud??? ILMAO!!!!!!!!

Julie DonCarlos
Julie DonCarlos

Oh yeah, we're all going to listen to you because you're a bigot, Mark.

Brian S Young
Brian S Young

get rid of this fucker along with hickenlooper

rosiorick
rosiorick

Time to elect a citizen who understands cannabis therapy and use is neither a sin or a vice... and we withing the cannabis industry can be valued members of our business community.

Clayton Capra
Clayton Capra

Acknowledgement that the sky isn't falling would be a start.

Michael A Nelson
Michael A Nelson

I'm sure he's just mad because his cronies aren't cashing in.

melbent
melbent

A lot of junkies are going to Denver. It all looks like politicians are frying kids brains with marijuana in order to make a profit. There are many good things for kids that don't include drugs. http://ow.ly/yGKsK

Bradford Ashington
Bradford Ashington

Uncle Tom is just doing what he's told to do: whitewash (suburbanize) the urban core so uptight and self-aggrandizing yuppie fucks can feel "safe."

Jenni Hunter Burger
Jenni Hunter Burger

I think the mayor has been too dismissive of his role as being a mayor....weak

Joslyn Larned
Joslyn Larned

Fuck him. Get his sorry rump out of office who the he'll is this nitwit speaking for ?

daniel.belteshazzar.
daniel.belteshazzar.

So Mayor Hancock doesn't mind celebrating the alcohol industry, which cause more damage to communities than marijuana, but won't celebrate the professional enter ownership that is the cannabis industry.

Zach Carsel
Zach Carsel

He seems kind and of harsh on the homeless.

Lynn Stiles
Lynn Stiles

With the smallest chunk going to what the voters choose. I wonder how much revenue was collected from frackers..... oh that's right. Oil companies don't pay taxes.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

I am frustrated that Wanda James and the industry will not acknowledge that cannabis is still illegal, and work with activists representing cannabis patients and users in general to rescind felonies for cannabis.  I just sat and listened to her, Art Way, and Shawn Coleman paint a picture of opportunity denied to the Colorado Black Roundtable while scrupulously avoiding any mention of the fact that the State is still making felons of Coloradans (many of whom are black) over cannabis.  Hancock is beneath contempt, as is the City's scheme to waste all the proceeds from its sales tax surcharge on cannabis.  The largest portion goes to absurdly swell the staff of Excise and Licensing -- for the apparent purpose of harassing all cannabis-related businesses for violation of any regulation on the books.  DPD needs to be reconstituted from the ground up, and the many criminal actors within its ranks and administration and those of the so-called "Sheriff Department" need to be prosecuted; showering this criminal institution with money paid by cannabis-users does not serve the interests of public safety in Denver.  As for the City's absurd pretense that it will "educate" youth or the public as a whole not to use cannabis with $746,000 certainly is insulting, but some are dumb enough to buy it.  Youth's use of cannabis is down in Colorado; perhaps the millions to be spent by the City and State on efforts supposed to prevent such use will instead increase it, which would certainly please the prohibitionists.

Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson

You know what's really insulting is how the revenue is being split up and dished out. Can anyone explain to me the difference between "public" safety and "neighborhood" safety? Why is education taking the smallest share out of the three? Wasn't A64 revenue supposed to go for funding schools and education, etc.? Isn't law enforcement making enough revenue off of unconstitutional redlight/speeding cameras already? Do they really deserve more $ to squander on paying abuse/brutality settlements?

KathleenChippi
KathleenChippi topcommenter

Wanda funded HB1284 and CMMR and BEGGED for these OVER regulations.....

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... because a Rethuglykan Mayor and Governor would certainly bring a kinder, gentler and more liberal recreational drug policy.


LOL!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

BigOil brings waaaaaaaay more $$ to Colorado than the Puerile Pot Clown Circus ever has or ever will.



STFURC
STFURC

@RobertChase "I am frustrated that Wanda James and the industry will not acknowledge that cannabis is still illegal, and work with activists representing cannabis patients and users in general to rescind felonies for cannabis."


what you meant to say:


"I'm frustrated that nobody listens to me and follows the political agenda and timeline I have set out for them in my delusional little mind where I'm a very important person."


Nobody is denying that the fact that cannabis felonies still exist, nor is anyone really that happy about it. Will people work towards it? Sure. But not with you as part of the discussion. 


Nobody wants to deal with YOU anymore, Robert Chase. Mostly because you don't know when to shut the fuck up -- as your CONSTANT NEED TO RESPOND TO ANONYMOUS INTERNET TROLLS LIKE DONKEY ONLY OUT TO GET A RISE FROM YOU demonstrates. If you can't be mature enough to ignore that and spend your time more construcitvely, why should any adults let you leave the kid table in the kitchen and join them in the dining room?

KathleenChippi
KathleenChippi topcommenter

The A64 SCAMpaign lied, the yes on the prop A tax people lied and the media continues to lie............pot is not legal as the language in A64 does not legalize (nor A20 MMJ) so says the AG in Coats v. Dish...and since the state AG is arguing the voters did NOT LEGALIZE, then the tax collection/licensing of businesses by the state is also ILLEGAL.


I confident the voters in CO did NOT intend to legalize money laundering for the state and yet keep pot illegal for themselves.....


we are on it : http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2014/06/marijuana_lawsuit_special_pot_taxes_illegal.php

KathleenChippi
KathleenChippi topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay ....a, they pay less than a 1% tax...less then any other western state charges....

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@STFURC ... Hi Wanda!


What's more important, that Blacks with Violent Felony Records have to wait 5 years before they can become Licensed Pot Pimps, or that Blacks who catch non-violent Felony Marijuana offenses are banned for life?


You've got the REGULATIONS you naively begged for, now bend over and lube up so you can feel "legitimized" by the Fist of Government.



RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@STFURC It makes you mad and frustrated that I point out that none of the supposed reform organizations are even engaged with the most significant obstacle to ending Prohibition in Colorado and that industry is also doing nothing to help, doesn't it?  I don't recognize the name "STFURC", but it seems a safe bet that you represent one of these organizations or businesses, but fear to disclose your affiliation, because you know that I am right and that there could be fallout.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@KathleenChippi ... BigOil CRUSHES the pathetically puny pot revenue !!



In 2012, Colorado’s oil and gas industry recorded $9.3 billion in production value, accounting for some 29,300 direct drilling, extraction, and support jobs with average annual wages in excess of $101,000


[ How many "budtenders" even make 1/5 that much? ]


Coupled with the oil and gas supply chain within Colorado — transportation, refining, wholesalers, parts manufacturers, and gasoline stations — direct employment totaled more than 51,200 jobs, with average wages over $74,800, which are 49% higher than the  state average for all industries. 


Collectively, this industry contributed slightly more than $3.8 billion in employee income to Colorado households in 2012, or 2.8% of total Colorado salary and wages. In addition, $614 million 

went to private land owners in 2012, assuming private land owners capture royalty and lease terms similar to those of the government. 


The oil and gas industry contributed substantial public revenues in 2012 — totaling nearly $1.6 billion, of which $1 billion was derived directly from severance taxes, public leases, public royalties, and property taxes. 


[ that's BILLION with a FUCKING B! ... Colorado won't even see the $40 million promised by the Lying Liars who promoted A64 ]


This industry is subject to taxes and assessments beyond what other industries contribute. Ad valorem taxes, for instance, are 3 times higher for oil and gas production than for commercial property within the state and 11 times higher than residential property. Oil and gas property taxes exceeded an estimated $600 million in 2012.


http://www.coga.org/pdf_studies/UniversityofColorado_LeedsSchoolofBusiness_Oil&NaturalGasIndustry_EconomicStudy2012.pdf



RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay  So you agree with me entirely as to the substance of my complaint, but agree with Wanda/Art that I must be a very self-important person for pressing it -- typical.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

P.S.  As I have already related, the failure to disclose the information that cannabis is five kinds of felony is very deliberate -- since the MPP/DPA/SSDP/NORML talking points all begin "since Colorado legalized marijuana ...", they sure aren't going to then bring up the fact that people are still being convicted of felonies and serving time due to cannabis in Colorado.  Wanda, Art Way, and Shawn Coleman did not tell their audience at the Colorado Black Roundtable any lies; in fact, I agreed with most of what each said, but their omission of any mention of the felonies for cannabis still being imposed on Coloradans, many of them minorities, was inexcusable -- they very deliberately induced their audience to think that the primary concern for black voters should be the fact that felons must wait five years before being employed by cannabis-businesses, and that was both fundamentally dishonest and disinformative.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RobertChase ... typical ... for a self-absorbed egomaniacal bombastic blowhard like you.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RobertChase "the MPP/DPA/SSDP/NORML talking points all begin "since Colorado legalized marijuana ...",


Rule #1 = Pot Pimps ALWAYS Lie


Rule #2 = see rule #1


Rule #3 = ref. Lyin' Brian Vicente, Mendacious Mason Tvert and Bullshit Betty Aldworth



RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay  You are irrational; anyone who takes a stand in public is subject to such accusations, but it is crazy to attack people when you agree with their positions, especially when the accusations made against them are baseless, malicious, and originate with your enemy.  I would suggest saving such invective for the many people drawing a salary to pervert our policies on cannabis.  My advocacy for our right to use cannabis is long-standing and unremunerated.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RobertChase ... your Asperger's prevents you from comprehending the root of your social ineptitude. 

brmomich
brmomich

@DonkeyHotay @RobertChase 

Some day people will just stop responding to the ignorant like Donkey and go on living their lives as if individuals like Donkey don't matter. Oh, I forgot! Most intelligent people browsing this forum already have :) lol

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay  Just more ad hominem -- issued from behind the cloak of anonymity; even as an anonymous personage, you rarely declare your own beliefs.  Lacking a coherent political program yourself, you are reduced to endless insinuation and detraction regarding others'.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@brmomich ... yet here you are, reading and replying to my comments.


Not very intelligent, are you numbnuts?



fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@RobertChase @DonkeyHotay


You two kids are hilarious.  Bobbie the egomaniac socialist debating stinky the egomaniac communist.  The funny thing is, neither of you realize you are the butt of the joke.  

Hot.Sauce
Hot.Sauce

There's your unbridled ego again. When will you learn it's not about the messenger, it's the message.

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