Two arrested, including juvenile, in Colo. Springs hash oil extraction fire

Two people, including a child, were arrested in connection with a Colorado Springs hash oil fire Thursday that left one person injured.

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New CO report describes, in detail, retail pot’s first year

Nearly 5 million marijuana-infused edibles and nearly 150,000 pounds of marijuana flower were purchased in legal Colorado stores and dispensaries in 2014, according to an encompassing new report the state released on Friday.

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Wiretap: What do you get when you give to the Clinton Foundation?

The Clinton Foundation has raised a lot of money from a lot of major corporations to do a lot of good. Now, Amy Davidson writes in the New Yorker, Hillary Clinton is going to have to explain just what those corporations were looking for by picking the Clinton Foundation.

Rand Paul, this is not your father’s CPAC. At the heavily-libertarian convention, the attendees are much more concerned this year about the threat of radical Islam. Via the National Journal.

How a Kuwaiti-born Londoner became the face of the Islamic State. Via the Washington Post.

In an anti-ISIS summit in Mecca, Islamic leaders have a much harder time than Barack Obama in separating ISIS from Islam. Via the Atlantic.

Many Democrats can’t decide what to do about the Netanyahu speech to Congress. Should they stay or should they go? Via Bloomberg.

If you’re trying to sell bullets, all you have to do is get the Obama administration to recommend banning them. The ATF said it plans to restrict the armor-piercing 5.56-millimeter “M855 green tip” rifle bullet — used by the millions in AR-15 semiautomatic rifles — because of new handguns that use the ammunition and pose a greater threat to the police. If you want yours, you’d better get to your favorite gun shop now. Via the New York Times.

Lost in the debate over funding or defunding the Department of Homeland Security, there’s this: we might just be better off without it. Via the Daily Beast.

The dress, explained. Actually it’s not explained. Via Vox.

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#Coleg Notebook: Back to the war on red-light cameras

When should the cops get to take your money? After a red-light camera catches your car mid-intersection? While they’re investigating your dad’s business? Lawmakers heard lengthy and often impassioned testimony on Wednesday on two controversial government “cash cows” — traffic cameras and civil forfeiture.

Senate Judiciary Committee members considered Sen. Laura Wood’s SB 6, which seeks to curtail civil forfeiture in Colorado. An eight-year-old girl testified that law enforcement effectively snagged her piggy bank as part of a forfeiture seizure at the family’s house that totaled some $30,000.

In the House transportation committee, a man testified that he has conducted a “honk poll” on the red-light camera ban proposed by Kevin Van Winkle, R- Highlands Ranch. The man said a few cops not only honked, but also pulled over to commiserate about the loathsome cameras.

Then came the district attorneys, the sheriffs and the chiefs of police, tasked with defending the camera programs. They argued that red-light cameras and automated speed traps catch lawbreakers and provide vital intel for other cases, like hit-and-runs, of which there are an average of 17 a day in Denver.

It was the same general line on civil forfeiture, where testimony in favor argued that seizing the “ill-gotten gains” of pimps and dealers helps fund national, and sometimes international, interventions in human and drug trafficking.

“It sounds like we’re desperately trying to find funds for the failed war on drugs,” said Sen. Michael Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs, before joining Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Loveland, in voting for the limits on civil forfeiture.

The other three members of Judiciary, Democrats and Republicans, went the other way. In many cases not because they support the war on drugs but because they want to win the war on human trafficking.

“I know some of my constituents may call me and email me and even not vote for me, but I feel good about my decision,” said Sen. Lucia Guzman, D-Denver, who voted to keep Colorado’s civil forfeiture law as-is.

The red-light camera ban made it out of committee on a bipartisan vote.

“As Democrats we’re committed to expanding the middle class. You cant do that if you’re constantly on the backs of the middle class to fund projects in slightly subversive or nefarious ways,” said Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, who sponsored last year’s attempt at the ban. “On the Republican side I think they’re not necessarily in favor of big government and this is a way to scale that back. This is one of those rare opportunities where right and left meet for different reasons.”

 

In other news, this happened:

 And this:


In other other news, the live-stream audio out of the committee chambers continues to intermittently discontinue. Is it a violation of Colorado’s sunshine laws? Probably not. Is it (extremely) annoying and occasionally hilarious? Without a doubt.

[This traffic light photo is from Flickr. ]

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Littwin: GOP immigration showdown plan hitting full fizzle

As the shutdown showdown in Washington winds down, there’s no surprise in how it’s going to end.

The House may extend the argument for another three weeks, in order, I guess, to save some face, but the ending would look the same today as it will in mid-March.

I mean, this was always pointing toward a disaster for Republicans, who picked this fight and now are desperately trying to find a way to semi-gracefully throw in the towel before they lose any more important teeth. Here was the plan, in short: Instead of threatening to shut down the entire government in order to defund Barack Obama’s immigration orders, they would threaten to shut down Homeland Security in order to defund Obama’s immigration orders.

How bad was this plan? For it to work (it couldn’t work), Obama would have to back down (he wouldn’t back down) and Republicans would have to be willing to shutter Homeland Security while ISIS-eyes our country and plans an assault (a risk they wouldn’t take).

I don’t know if anyone ever took the threat seriously, but as ISIS produced one outrage after another, clearly hoping to provoke a land war with the West, it became obvious that the real threat wasn’t coming from the House of Representatives.

For this plan to work (it couldn’t work), Obama would have to back down (he wouldn’t back down) and Republicans would have to risk the danger of an ISIS-related assault (a risk they wouldn’t take). And so the Senate caved, and now it’s just a matter of time before Congress sends Obama a so-called “clean” bill, and we’re onto something else, like maybe another Senate snowball fight.

But we learned something — and it may be an important something — about immigration. For the most part, Republicans didn’t try that hard. As Dave Weigel points out in Bloomberg View, their hearts just weren’t in it.

In fact, Weigel quoted Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, saying just that. “Their heart,” Krikorian said of GOP leadership, “isn’t in the fight; they see it as simply a matter of base management. They don’t mind having these people amnestied and like the idea of being able to blame it on Obama.”

If you watched the Republican presidential contenders parading before conservative voters at CPAC convention Thursday, you got a taste of it. Everyone slammed Obama for being a “dictator” and for “amnesty.” (Here’s a thought: If Obama were, in fact, a dictator, could they actually get away with slamming him?) But nobody talked much about going over any cliffs. The CPAC attendees were definitely angrier than any of the candidates. And it’s no coincidence that Mitch McConnell and John Boehner skipped the affair altogether. They wouldn’t have gotten out two words between them.

OK, you have heard outrage from from the usual suspects — although the talk in Washington has been about how little Ted Cruz has had to say on the topic — but to little effect. While the polls show most people think Obama overreached with his executive orders, the same polls show Obama’s approval ratings climbing.

And how real is your threat when McConnell had promised no shutdown and Boehner spends weeks trying to find a graceful out?

The truth is, there couldn’t be a worse time to consider any kind of partial shutdown of Homeland Security. ISIS leaders want a land war because they’re pretty sure that, win or lose, they would still win. And so the provocations get increasingly difficult to ignore. The New York Times led Friday with the latest — a video of ISIS militants destroying ancient Assyrian works of art, some that date back to 800 B.C. The Times reported that the group emptied 30 Assyrian villages, took maybe 300 captives and demanded that Christians pay a tax, in gold.

But there’s something else, too. We must know by now how the immigration wars are going to end. There will be immigration reform, although certainly not until Obama leaves office, but probably not that long thereafter. The outcome has always been obvious — we were never going to deport 11 million illegal immigrants — but it all came into focus after Mitt Romney’s self-deport plan went nowhere. And at the same time, Obama promised he would do something. He’s done something, and there was always going to be a fight over it.

When the Texas federal judge put a temporary stop to the Obama plan, that was the obvious chance for Republicans to back away. Even Karl Rove wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal advising them to just declare victory and leave it to the courts. Instead, House Republicans stuck with a self-destructive threat that Obama was free to ignore.

That isn’t to say that the fight is over. As the 2016 race heats up, there will be plenty of talk about Obama and immigration. When we get to the debates, immigration reform will once again take center stage. Republicans who aren’t Jeb Bush will undoubtedly try to pin Obama’s orders on Bush.

And Hillary Clinton, assuming she’s the Democratic candidate, will be thrilled any time they bring that particular fight to her.

[Clown confetti shot image by JT.]

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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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