Tag Archives: Ron Castagno

Marijuana Moguls Succeed in Buying Off Colorado Ballot

Big Marijuana, Big Victory……..Temporarily

It’s Democracy at it’s worst when Big Marijuana buys off the process for gathering signatures in Colorado. Today, supporters of proposed initiative 139, a measure aimed to place reasonable controls on the sale of recreational marijuana in Colorado, announced that they will withdraw their initiative from potential consideration on the November 2016 general election ballot.

“I witnessed the buy off of the voting process this week, ” explained Jo McGuire, Five Minutes of Courage, Colorado Springs.

The marijuana industry has made it too expensive to move forward.  The Cannabist reported that marijuana businesses raised more than $300,000 within a few days.  The initiative would have capped the level of THC in marijuana at 16%.   Since marijuana was much weaker in the 1970s, 2-4% THC,  it’s hard to understand why 16% limit would anger the industry.   Amendment 139 was a health and safety plan to bring the number of emergency room hospitalizations down and possibly avoid at least some of the deaths caused by psychotic shooting sprees and other reactions to marijuana.   There is no money to be made in harm reduction, so supporters were not trying to make a profit.

“The Marijuana Moguls put a pile of campaign cash on the table and won. Our kids, and our communities are in crisis, for now,”  lamented Ron Castagno, a former Jefferson County high school principal one of the initiative’s designated representatives.

The move comes on the heels of a successful effort by the marijuana industry to stall the process and buy off signature gatherers to keep the initiative from moving forward.  After a two month delay, the Colorado Supreme Court unanimously rejected the claims concocted by the marijuana industry.

In addition to Castagno, the other mover behind the ballot was Denver mother Ali Pruitt.   She said: “As disappointed as I am to shelve these critical public safety reforms for now, we simply couldn’t go toe-to-toe with the Marijuana Moguls who committed tens of millions to defeat our common-sense controls on the sale of recreational marijuana.”

Supporters who developed Amendment 139 are also announcing that a new coalition is forming to hold Big Marijuana accountable. “We are not done,” emphasized Sue Anderson of the Healthy Colorado Coalition.

“With the initiative option off the table for 2016, it’s time for our elected leaders to stand with men like Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and recognize the harm that legalized pot has had on our state, and more importantly, to end their excuses and rein in an out-of-control marijuana industry.”    Denver has been forced to pay a security firm $650,000 in addition to its police force to keep it’s streets and malls safe.

“The commercialized marijuana industry once again showed that they are willing to put their profits ahead of the safety of our children and our communities,”  Castagna concluded.

For more information, contact: info@healthycoloradocoalition.org 720-931-3700

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Wheat Ridge Pushes Back Against Marijuana Grow

(Above, 420 party in Denver, 2013, AP photo/Brennan Linsley. This is the 4th in a series on Retail pot battles.) In Colorado where marijuana is legal for both recreational and medical use — a result of the vote two years ago — communities are fighting to push back against the pot businesses.  As Coloradans try to gain control of their neighborhoods from an invasive marijuana industry, voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, DC — where legalizing marijuana is on the ballot now — have a chance to learn a lesson.

A decision to legalize marijuana should not be taken lightly.   A decision to allow medical marijuana, as in Florida and Guam at the moment, is often an open door to the quasi-legalization of pot.

Battles are heated in Jefferson County, just west of Denver.  The city of Lakewood is currently voting on 2A, a ballot to ban marijuana.   Already Denver has more marijuana shops than Starbucks.

In the city of Wheat Ridge, just north of Lakewood and to the west of Denver, the community is standing together to keep pot out of their neighborhoods.  Residents may attend a city council meeting of Monday, October 27, and speak out about the proposed 10,000-square-foot marijuana grow, and about overall concerns regarding retail marijuana.

CentralColoradodispensaries map, shows where it is banned.
Colorado dispensaries map, shows where it is banned. Chart: Project SAM

The community is demanding a say in the creation of a 10,000- square-foot grow house and dispensary. The public is also calling to end to activities of a local head shop, Three Kings Dab Supply.

“Wheat Ridge jumped the gun with bringing in recreational marijuana. They didn’t look at the big picture,” says Jennifer Shepherd.   She added, “I, the mother of 2 young boys, have a recreational and medical dispensary next to our neighborhood playground.”  At this time there are five dispensaries or retail stores  in the city.

The city council voted to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana October of last year. District 1 Councilman Bud Starker, who voted to legalize recreational pot, says the people of Colorado did approve Amendment 64. “I think the (city) legislation that was introduced seems to balance the two interests — the will of the people and safeguarding the public,” Starker said.

There’s been a shocking trend of municipal ruling bodies who shut out public input into decisions regarding marijuana businesses throughout Colorado communities. Are they over-anxious and greedy for tax revenue? Many Coloradans didn’t realize their vote on Amendment 64 would be interpreted as a vote for recreational shops in their towns.

Jennifer Yates, a member of Parents for a Healthy Colorado, says, “There was rumor of a proposed 10,000-square-foot store, grow and MIPS (Marijuana-Infused Products) operation to be built 300 feet from my house. This site is in the walking path of a middle school.”

“Our city council and officials kept saying there is no application for this site, but I found a pre-application [after searching for the address]. I presented it to council Monday night and they finally admitted that this information is correct. It’s just frustrating that our elected leaders seemed to be dodging and dismissing what was really about to happen on that property.”   It turns out the proposed site will not be for a MIP.

Is the Money for Education?

Hundreds of Wheat Ridge community members joined together, rallying and appearing at the City Council meeting, filling overflow rooms and hallways, on September 22, 2014.

Wheat Ridge city council meeting, September 22.  Photo, courtesy of Healthy Colorado Kids.
Wheat Ridge city council meeting, September 22. Photo: Parents for a Healthy Colorado.

Pro-marijuana supporters stress that revenue taxes will go towards education.

“As far as taxes go, as an educator I don’t want drug money,” said former Lakewood High School Principal Ron Castagna. “It’s not worth it; I’ve watched kids die over this stuff.” The parents and educators of Wheat Ridge seem to think that banning the dispensaries, as many called their city council to do, would be a far greater advantage to their children.

Three Kings Dab Supply

A head shop in Wheat Ridge, Three Kings Dab Supply, is also a recent topic of controversy in the neighborhood. The shop sells bongs, pipes, and other smoking devices, as well as offers space to glassblowers to practice their craft. It promotes a space in which pot smokers can come and “bring your own dab.”

Three Kings Dab Supply in Wheat Ridge, CO, is where people bring their own "dabs."  Photo: News Channel 9
Three Kings Dab Supply in Wheat Ridge, CO, is advertised as a place where clubbers bring their own “dabs.”         Photo: News Channel 9

Complaints began when a neighbor who shares the driveway with Three Kings’ parking lot became frustrated with the amount of cars in the parking lot. Jennifer Yates, who drives past the supply shop several times a week to take her daughter to gymnastics, commented on Three Kings Dab Supply, “I noticed that most times there are only 2-4 cars in the lot, but on Friday nights, there were 15-20 cars.”

It will continue to be an on-going concern, because those who go to the club can party on the property, in a backyard, where noise and smoke can invade the neighborhood.  While the business does not distribute marijuana and may seem a lovely artistic gathering place, it is a concern for parents and their children.

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