Meet the hippest home ec teacher ever: Share Denver’s Becky Hensley

Becky Hensley, the driving force behind Share Denver and Denver Craft Ninjas, talks about the local craft scene, creativity and mixing in some cannabis.

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Bill on Colorado medical marijuana caregivers clears Senate committee

A crackdown on medical marijuana growers in Colorado passed its first and toughest test in the state Legislature on Thursday.

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CPAC Cruz: Applauds Colorado pot legalization, embodiment of ‘laboratories of democracy’ idea

Firebrand conservative U.S. Senator and 2016 presidential hopeful Ted Cruz is not a fan of legal weed, he told Fox News host Sean Hannity at the Conservative Political Action Conference held in a suburb of Washington today, but he celebrated Colorado legalization as a laudable example of states’ rights and experimental democracy.

“Look, I actually think this is a great embodiment of what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called the ‘laboratories of democracy.’ If the citizens of Colorado decide they want to go down that road, that’s their prerogative. I don’t agree with it, but that’s their right.”

Cruz couldn’t resist prefacing the serious portion of his answer with dope jokes, leading Hannity through an impromptu, stiff routine that had the conservative audience guffawing.

“Well, I was told Colorado provided the brownies here today,” he said, pausing for effect.

“Uh-oh, I just ate them,” said Hannity.

“Look, your viewership is going to go up 20 percent.”

“It’s going to go up a lot.”

“The ‘Magical Mystery Hannity Hour.’”

“Ah, yeah.”

Click on the image to watch the video:

cruz hannity

Cruz’s comments came in a brief question-and-answer session with Hannity after Cruz delivered a speech on how Republicans can win back the presidency in 2016. He blasted likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as a corrupted creature of Washington and contrasted Washington’s interests with the interests of the people. He said Republicans had to run a populist campaign, one that sets out a program to “bring back the miracle of America” by rebuilding the coalition of “conservatives and libertarians and evangelicals and women and young people and hispanics and Reagan Democrats” that swept Reagan into office in 1980 and has proved increasingly fractured in recent years.

CPAC draws thousands of hardcore conservative voters from across the country and marks the unofficial kickoff of the presidential campaigns to win their votes. Cruz has become a favorite at the event.

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‘Rolling Papers’: First look at SXSW documentary on pot journalism in CO

The SXSW-premiering documentary film “Rolling Papers” — which follows Denver Post and Cannabist journalists, critics and columnists covering the first year of legal marijuana sales in the modern world — released its first clip today.

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Bio-Diesel (marijuana review)

Bio-Diesel usually has two distinct waves for me: Holy $%*# I’m feeling it, followed by a more attentive high and heavy body stone. The former can be a shock, as if it shakes your head like a giant Magic 8 Ball with the singular answer “Reply hazy try again.” The latter is ideal for poker, so I usually smoke 30 minutes prior to our 8 p.m. game.

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Federal trial starts for three “Kettle Falls” Washington state pot growers

The federal case involving Washington state marijuana growers near Kettle Falls is seen as a barometer of the willingness of federal prosecutors to pursue marijuana cases in a state that had medical-marijuana laws in place and has since legalized recreational marijuana.

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Editorial: Pot fight more evidence DC trapped by whims of Congress

The DC pot fight between Congress and city officials should bring home to the rest of the country the need to redress the historic injustice of the city’s limited political powers, writes The Washington Post Editorial Board.

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Editorial: Pot fight more evidence DC trapped by whims of Congress

The DC pot fight between Congress and city officials should bring home to the rest of the country the need to redress the historic injustice of the city’s limited political powers, writes The Washington Post Editorial Board.

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House U-turns on immigrant driver’s license funding

DENVER — The House rejected a program-funding standoff on Wednesday that threatened to bring hallmark D.C.-style dysfunction to the state Capitol this legislative session. By an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 54-11, House members voted to free the Department of Motor Vehicles to spend already-collected fees to grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants at locations across the state.

The Bill, SB 161, now heads back to the Republican-controlled Senate, which has opposed including funding for the immigrant driver’s license program.

Republican House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso from Loveland signaled the end of debate when he went to the well and asked his caucus to support the spending bill, which also includes funding to expedite tax returns and to operate the medical marijuana enforcement division. DelGrosso conceded that the driver’s license program was unpopular among Republicans but said the other provisions were too important to oppose. The Senate will now accept the driver’s license funding or kill the whole bill.

“[The Senate] now has the option to accept a common-sense safety measure or reject it and have a lot of other public safety implications,” said Sen. Jessie Ulibarri, D-Westminster, who sponsored the driver’s license measure in 2013.

For weeks, debate around the bill has stirred rancor in the Capitol centered around two themes: process and policy.

Democrats say the license program is good policy because it ensures everyone on the road has passed driving tests and has insurance. They also say it sets bad precedent for Republicans to attack policies they oppose not through debate and amendments or alternative legislative proposals but through defunding tactics. They point as a cautionary tale to the government-shutdown politics currently threatening Washington this week, which similarly turn around Republican opposition to immigration policy.

Senate Republicans point out that Ulibarri’s controversial bill passed without Republican support. Now that they hold a majority in the Senate and three of the six seats on the powerful Joint Budget Committee, they argue it’s well within their authority to govern with the power of the purse.

By the time the debate hit the House floor this week, however, the GOP argument had shifted.

JBC member Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, said Republicans on the budget committee made the choice not to free up the funds out of genuine fiscal conservatism and a belief that the high demand for the licenses will die down over time.

His view was shared by DelGrosso.

“We keep being told that, if we don’t give them this money, we’re strangling them. That’s not true. This program has the same amount of money that they had last year when we did the budget…. There’s a process when you want to expand a program,” DelGrosso said, adding that the debate should be part of next year’s budgeting process instead of an adjustment to this year’s.

Democrats have received the new Republican arguments with skepticism. Budget committee member Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, said that it was the nonpartisan JBC staff who decided the department has the flexibility to spend more funds this year, not just next year.

Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, who co-sponsored the driver’s license legislation with Ulibarri, has his own theory.

“We know Republicans just don’t like the undocumented community and they’re pushing back on them every step of the way. It’s not a secret,” he said. “These new arguments about [the Taxpayer Bill of Rights] and about ‘We’re not really defunding it,’ those arguments are basically one word: ‘garbage.’”

Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, added that funds tied to the other programs listed in the amended bill must be released either way. “My hope is that the Republicans will do the right thing and pass [the bill].”,” she said. “We need to get this behind us as we get into the budget process, which is also very important, where we’ll also need to reach some good agreements.”

But if the immigrant driver’s license debate is any indication, it remains to be seen how many “good agreements” are in the cards.

[ Photo by John Tomasic, Highway 36, Colorado.]

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Wiretap: Legalized it, in Washington D.C.

Pot is now legal in Washington, D.C. The Republican-controlled Congress, which has constitutional oversight over the District of Columbia, seems content not to do anything about it. Though the pot laws in Washington are still fairly restrictive — the city is not Amsterdam, or even Denver — the legalization revolution that began in Colorado seems to be spreading across the country. Via the Washington Post.

Barack Obama takes his immigration case to Miami, where the plan is to turn up pressure on John Boehner back in D.C. Via the New York Times.

Dana Milbank: This time it’s Boehner who’s leading from behind. Via the Washington Post.

Everyone knows that the House will have to pass a “clean” Homeland Security funding bill eventually. What no one seems to now is when eventually will come. Via Politico.

Former Boulder police chief Mark Beckner said officers mishandled the crime scene in the 1996 JonBenet Ramsey murder case. He made the comments in an “Ask Me Anything” session at Reddit. He told the Daily Camera he didn’t realize that what he said at the mega-internet-comment-thread site was actually connected to any of the rest of the world. He thought it was some kind of airlocked ante-chamber to the real media… or something, which is another way of saying he mishandled the Reddit scene?

For those who may be confused by columns in the New York Times or articles in the Atlantic, Robert Wright explains in the New Yorker why the “Clash of Civilizations” isn’t.

A longtime Denver police officer was arrested Tuesday afternoon on suspicion of domestic assault. Via the Denver Post. 

Our allies in Saudi Arabia have sentenced a man to death for tearing up the Koran. He was convicted of apostasy. Via Vox.

There’s a bipartisan movement growing to end mass incarceration. The question is whether the movement is growing quickly enough to do much good. Via the Atlantic.

If you’re eagerly anticipating diving into Netflix’s season three of House of Cards, New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley says there’s no rush.

Rags Over the Arkansas River (ROAR) — the group opposing artist Christo’s Over the River project — outlined their complaints about the planned two-week installation of fabric above the Arkansas River between Canon City and Salida in a recent filing to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. Via the Pueblo Chieftain. 

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