Marijuana Task Force Recommends Permanent Pot Sales Ban in Jefferson County

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Tom Gorman, director of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, is one of the task force's members. Additional photos and more below.
Jefferson County has resisted marijuana businesses for years -- and that seems unlikely to change anytime soon. Several months before Jeffco's current moratorium is set to expire, the county's Marijuana Task Force has issued a 134-page report arguing that cannabis sales should be permanently banned. The document and more below.

See also: Medical Marijuana Moratorium in Jeffco: Sixty-Year-Old Zoning Code Used to Shut Down Dispensary

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Why Did Colorado Shut Down Its Most Successful Parole Program?

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A highly successful parole program that helped inmates serving decades-long sentences transition back to society -- and had the potential to save the Colorado Department of Corrections millions of dollars each year in reduced housing and medical care costs for geriatric prisoners -- has been scuttled without adequate explanation, say supporters of the program.

"First, it was on hold," says Habe Lawson, one of the volunteer mentors for the Long-Term Offender Program, or LTOP -- and, like many of the program's core group, an ex-con himself. "Then it was suspended. Then it was outright thrown away."

See also: Did Some of Colorado's Prison Reforms Die With Tom Clements?

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Fracking: Call For Ban Cites Quakes, Spills, Exploding Trains

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Only days before the United Nations Climate Summit, the environmental group Food & Water Watch has released a wide-ranging critique of the oil and gas industry, linking the practice of fracking to a host of adverse economic, health and climate impacts -- from scarred landscapes, declining air quality and community disruption to potential aquifer contamination, earthquakes and, yes, global warming.

Call it a conflation of real dangers and hypothetical risks, genuine concerns and apocalyptic visions, worst-case scenarios and sobering statistics.

See also: John Hickenlooper's Fracking Panel Snubs the Fractivists

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John Hickenlooper's Fracking Panel Snubs the Fractivists

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Colorado Springs No Fracking Zone Facebook Page
One of the sentiments that won't be discussed by the governor's new task force.
Earlier this week, when Governor John Hickenlooper announced the names of the nineteen people selected for a special oil and gas task force intended to address fracking-related land use and health issues across the state, he boasted of the group's "balanced and informed representation." It was as if he was introducing one of those ethnically diverse platoons from old War War II movies: the Italian from the Bronx, the Polish kid from Chicago, the hillbilly from Georgia, the farm boy from Ohio, the Navajo scout, the cigar-chomping noncom from Anytown, USA.

Depending on when they were made, those movies frequently left somebody out of the rainbow commandos -- the Latino, the Asian guy, almost certainly the African American (racial desegregation didn't become U.S. military policy until 1948). And Hickenlooper's group neatly excludes any of the folks who prompted its creation: Conspicuously absent from the task force is anyone who was actively involved in the recent slew of campaigns to promote more local control over fracking and impose bans on drilling in several Front Range cities.

See also: How Colorado became ground zero in America's energy wars

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Video: Pueblo Candidate Tom Ready Wonders if Newtown School Shootings Were a Hoax

Categories: Politics

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Tom Ready in a photo from his Facebook page. More images and a video below.
Given that Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace is among the area's most vocal advocates for legal marijuana sales, it's no surprise he's being challenged in this November's election by a candidate on the right -- but attendees at a debate last night were likely startled by just how far to the right is Pace's opponent, Republican Tom Ready. During the event, Ready openly questioned whether the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, which resulted in the deaths of twenty children and six staff members, was a hoax created by the federal government. Details and a video of the exchange below.

See also: Columbine to Newtown: A Tragic List of School Shootings Since 1999

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Ten Terrible Legal Moments for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People in Colorado

Categories: Politics

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Denver Public Library Western History Collection
Between legal weed and eco-friendly businesses, Colorado's enthusiasm for green rivals none. But break out the pink and rainbows and the state suddenly gets squeamish. Even before the word "homosexuality" was invented in the late nineteenth century (French philosopher Michel Foucault argued that it first appeared in 1870), the newly formed territory of Colorado had already ensured sodomy was against the law.

In the years since then, Colorado's legislature and voters have attempted to criminalize sodomy, cunnilingus, fellatio and sex toys. In 1992, voters passed a constitutional amendment blocking equal-opportunity legislation protecting sexual orientation; in 2006, voters banned same-sex marriage -- a last hurrah of anti-LGBT political crusaders. To see how far Colorado has come -- and where it still should go -- here's our list of the state's ten most hostile laws toward same-sex sexuality.

See also: The Fight Over Same-Sex Marriage Made This a Long, Hot Summer for Colorado AG John Suthers

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Nathan Dunlap: CNN Spotlights a Death Sentence in Limbo

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A Nathan Dunlap mug shot from twenty years ago.
It's been a long, long road from the 1993 murder of four people at a Chuck E. Cheese in Aurora to Colorado's lethal injection chamber, and convicted killer Nathan Dunlap isn't there yet, thanks to the temporary reprieve from execution granted by Governor John Hickenlooper last year. That controversial move has made this fall's gubernatorial election a kind of referendum on the state's seldom-used death penalty -- and has brought renewed national scrutiny of the Dunlap case, including "Eye For an Eye," a thoughtful episode of CNN's Death Row Stories series that airs this Sunday night.

See also: John Hickenlooper: Would He Commute Nathan Dunlap's Death Penalty If He Loses?

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John Suthers, Attorney General, on Running for Mayor of Colorado Springs

Categories: Politics

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Photo by Anthony Camera
John Suthers is running for mayor of Colorado Springs.
On Tuesday morning, Republican Attorney General John Suthers, who discusses his long, hot summer debating the same-sex marriage issue in this week's print edition, announced his candidacy for mayor of Colorado Springs. Minutes before embarking on a water tour of Colorado, Suthers took a few minutes to speak with Westword about the upcoming race, the shift from law to city politics and his plans if he is elected.

See also: The Fight Over Same-Sex Marriage Made This a Long, Hot Summer for Colorado AG John Suthers

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Ethan Abbott, Farming Activist: Anti-GMO Political Prisoner or Combustible Harasser?

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Photo by Ambrose Cruz courtesy of March Against Monsanto Facebook/Occupy Denver Facebook
A 2013 March Against Monsanto that Ethan Abbott helped to organize.
Even his supporters admit that Ethan Abbott, the embattled natural farming activist who's been feuding with county authorities on several fronts, has a bit of a temper. But Abbott, 38, who was sentenced yesterday to ninety days in jail and eighteen months of probation in Weld County Court over a 2012 altercation with a neighbor, says that there's more to the case than his orneriness -- that, in effect, he's the one being harassed and set up by influential people with ties to factory farming and fracking.

It's an attitude that the judge who sentenced him finds disturbing. "Mr. Abbott doesn't deal with conflict well," Judge John Briggs told the assembled at Abbott's tense sentencing hearing. "The way that Mr. Abbott perceives things and reacts is not always consistent with reality."

See also: "Denver's March Against Monsanto One of Ten Largest Worldwide, Organizer Says"

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Marijuana Backer Lauds Boulder for Rejecting "Racist" Anti-Pot Cages, Asks Hick to Apologize

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A "Don't Be a Lab Rat" campaign cage. Additional images and more below.
Earlier this month, we told you about "Don't Be a Lab Rat," a new campaign aimed at dissuading teens from smoking pot. The multi-media effort, backed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, includes oversized rat cages intended to be displayed in public places throughout the state.

Now, however, the City of Boulder has rejected the displays, and that cheers one cannabis-industry representative, who calls the cages racist and thinks Governor John Hickenlooper should apologize for the campaign. Additional photos and videos below.

See also: Anti-Pot "Don't Be a Lab Rat" Campaign Uses Disputed Facts That Might Be True

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