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

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John Hickenlooper during the 2013 press conference when he announced his decision about Nathan Dunlap. Additional photos plus audio clips and more below.
In June 2013, a month after Governor John Hickenlooper granted Chuck E. Cheese killer Nathan Dunlap a reprieve from execution but didn't commute his sentence, a poll showed that Colorado voters disagreed with his decision by a three-to-one margin. Since then, the furor has faded -- but the issue is primed to move front-and-center in Hickenlooper's reelection bid against Republican hopeful Bob Beauprez thanks to a newly released audio recording (hear it below) in which Hick speculates about granting clemency to Dunlap should he lose.

Will the election come down to voters picking who's most likely to kill Dunlap? And how much ugliness will emerge along the way? Continue to get a sense of the possibilities, featuring responses from those on both sides of the controversy.

See also: John Hickenlooper Gives Nathan Dunlap Reprieve From Death Penalty but Doesn't Grant Clemency

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

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This week's cover story traces the dramatic shift in direction of the Colorado Department of Corrections since the 2013 murder of its chief, Tom Clements, by Evan Ebel, a violent parolee who'd just spent six years in solitary confinement. The death of the reform-minded Clements had a profound impact on DOC operations, leadership and morale, but the lasting effects of the tragedy on prison policy and public safety are still being debated.

See also: After the Murder of Tom Clements, Can Colorado's Prison System Rehabilitate Itself?

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Secretary of State Scott Gessler Accused of Harassment, Retaliation by Ex-Office CFO

Categories: Politics

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Mark Manger
Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler.
The former chief financial officer for the Colorado Secretary of State's Office is accusing Secretary Scott Gessler of harassing her, retaliating against her and eventually demoting her after she "began to push back on the financial mismanagement" she reportedly saw in the office. Heather Lizotte took issue with Gessler's use of the office's $5,000 discretionary fund and federal grant funds meant to improve state elections, according to a lengthy claim notice filed with the Colorado Attorney General's Office.

See also: Scott Gessler is always right...right?

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Breckenridge Marijuana Shop Fights Move to Force It Off Main Street

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Photos from the Breckenridge Cannabis Club Facebook page.
Breckenridge has a well-founded reputation for progressive marijuana policy. The town's voters decriminalized pot in 2009, years before the passage of Amendment 64.

Nonetheless, officials passed a law banning new pot shops from opening on Main Street, and a grandfather clause for the Breckenridge Cannabis Club, which was already located there, is about to expire. But the latter's co-owner says an extension has been granted and she's hopeful the BCC will be allowed to remain for the long term.

See also: Sean McAllister on Breckenridge's decriminalization of weed, the Board of Health's medical-marijuana action

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Pot Legalization is Boring and Colorado Is Filled With NIMBYs, say NY Times Readers

Categories: Politics

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New York Times columnist Frank Bruni was back in Colorado last week, eating (and tweeting) at Acorn, attending a book signing for Helen Thorpe's Soldier Girls (which not only earned a good review in the Times, but a rave in People, of all places) and, it turns out, researching this weekend's column describing this state as "A Battleground and Bellwether."

See also: Helen Thorpe, Ex-Colorado First Lady, Lauded on the Daily Show for Soldier Girls

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Marijuana: Ex-Bronco Supports Plan to Turn Women's Prison Into Pot Factory

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A photo of the prison facility from the Colorado Farm Products Facebook page.
A women's correctional facility in Brush closed in 2010. But it could reopen soon -- as a retail marijuana grow, shorthanded by the media as a "pot factory."

Problem: Brush currently has a moratorium on marijuana businesses. But the city council could lift that ban after a town hall meeting tonight -- and Nick Erker, the man behind the proposal, is hoping a sales campaign and a pitch from a popular former Denver Bronco will help him convince officials to give him a chance.

See also: Marijuana: $24.7 Million in Recreational Pot, Edibles and Concentrates Sold in June

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Same-Sex Marriage Issue Made It a Long, Hot Summer for Boulder Clerk Hillary Hall

Categories: Politics

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For 35 days this summer, Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall made Colorado history when her office issued more than 200 same-sex marriage licenses. In doing so, she defied Colorado Attorney General John Suthers's threats of legal action. Late last month, after the Colorado Supreme Court issued a stay on same-sex marriage until it could review the case in late 2014, Hall's office once again limited marriage licenses to opposite-sex couples, and she left town for a much-needed vacation.

The 48-year-old Hall grew up in Boulder, did undergraduate work at the University of Northern Colorado, studied culinary arts in Oregon and worked as a chef in San Francisco. She has used her cooking skills to aid the Democratic Party and the Community Foundation's Open Door Fund, which offers grants to LGBTQ organizations. She served as chair of the Boulder County Democratic Party and was elected county clerk in 2006 and re-elected in 2010; she'll be running for a third term in November.

On the morning after she returned from vacation, Hall spoke with Westword about this summer's events.

See also:
Clela Rorex Planted the Flag for Same-Sex Marriage in Boulder Forty Years Ago

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GMO Labeling Initiative Will Get a Healthy Study from Healthy Democracy

Categories: Politics

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At the start of the year, it looked like Colorado's November ballot might overflow with citizen initiatives. That flood became a trickle; there will likely be only four to consider on November 4. But one of those, Initiative 48, which would require mandatory GMO labeling, could create plenty of controversy all on its own. And Healthy Democracy, a nonpartisan group dedicated to elevating voter awareness, wants to make sure Colorado residents have a healthy amount of information on the measure.

See also: Initiative #48 Would Require Labels on Genetically Modified Food

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Clela Rorex Planted the Flag for Same-Sex Marriage in Boulder Forty Years Ago

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On June 25, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Utah's gay-marriage ban, setting a precedent for states in its jurisdiction, including Colorado, where voters had adopted a ban on same-sex marriages in 2006. Hours later, Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall began issuing same-sex marriage licenses. For weeks, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers threatened Hall with legal action for violating state law. Her office warded him off in court and issued over 200 licenses before the Colorado Supreme Court finally announced on July 29 that it would consider Suthers's arguments in late 2014 -- and ordered Hall to stop issuing licenses in the meantime. Meanwhile, the Utah case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This summer, Clela Rorex has been watching history repeat itself. Thirty-nine years ago, she was not just the first Boulder county clerk to issue same-sex marriage licenses, but the first clerk to do so anywhere in the country.

See also: A Same-Sex Marriage Plaintiff's Open Letter to John Suthers

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