RETAIL POT SHOPS OPEN IN COLORADO
The nation’s first recreational pot industry opened in Colorado yesterday, kicking off an experiment that will be watched closely around the world and one that activists hope will prove that legalization is a better alternative than the costly American-led drug war. Business owners who threw their doors open for shoppers yesterday morning are hoping the fledgling industry will prove to generate as much revenue as state officials hope it will. At least 24 pot shops in eight towns scrambled to get ready for the opening, increasing staff and inventory and hiring security. Skeptics worry the industry will make the drug more widely available to teens, even though legal sales are limited to adults over 21. They fear that the increased availability will lead to a rise in drug abuse and crime. Preparation for the retail market started more than a year ago, soon after Colorado voters in 2012 approved the legal pot industry. The Moffat County Commissioners Tuesday read the first reading of an ordinance that prohibits the use or consumption of marijuana or marijuana products on commercial and industrial zoned property. A similar moratorium expired Tuesday. The second reading of the ordinance will be held at a future meeting.
BOB RANKIN TO HOLD TOWN MEETING IN CRAIG
State Representative Bob Rankin will hold a Town Hall meeting in Craig tomorrow to talk about the upcoming legislative session. The 2013 session was not a good one for Republicans, with Democrats pushing through new laws on civil unions, gun control and energy regulations. There are reportedly over 600 bills up for consideration in the 2014 session, and Rankin would like to talk about them with Craig residents tomorrow. This will be the only time Rankin shows up before the legislative session, which begins next week. The meeting will be held at the Craig VFW at 5:30 tomorrow evening. Pictured: Bob Rankin
UPCOMING LEGISLATION WOULD LIMIT POWER FOR E.P.A.
An effort is being made by House Republicans to limit the power of the Environmental Protection Agency. A bill that will come up immediately in the House, contains three parts. The first, by Colorado Representative Cory Gardner, would remove a requirement that the EPA review regulations under the Solid Waste Disposal Act every three years. Under the new rules, the EPA the rules would be reviewed only when necessary. It would also prohibit the EPA from imposing overlapping rules on state that already have rules dealing with solid waste removal. The second part of the bill was added by Ohio Republican Bob Latta, and requires all federally owned facilities to comply with state requirements on hazardous substances. The third, and probably the most important part of the bill was added by Republican Bill Johnson, also of Ohio. It would require the President to consult with states before enforcing federal environmental law. That has been an issue for Colorado leaders who have felt the heavy hand of the federal government on everything from energy and water, to species protection and oil and public land access. Democrats are not expected to support the bill.
BROPHY WRAPS UP TOUR OF ALL 64 OF COLORADO’S COUNTIES
As part of his campaign announcement, State Senator Greg Brophy promised to visit all 64 counties of Colorado. Monday night Brophy fulfilled his promise at Ollie’s Pub in Frisco. Summit County was appropriately chosen as the final county of the tour. In a press release Brophy talked about his visit with coal miners in Moffat County that have had difficult times. He said “These people’s jobs are hard enough without the pressure of government bearing down on them. They’ve given up on fighting tax increases. They just hope they can keep their own jobs.” Other western slope citizens talked about how poorly the Federal government is managing the land that surrounds them. In eastern Colorado, Brophy heard his neighbors talk about SB-252 and the electric rate increases farmers will have to pay, with no tangible benefits. Senator Brophy accomplished his goal by finishing the tour before the General Assembly convenes next week. Pictured: Greg Brophy
NO MORE INCANDESCENT BULBS TO BE STOCKED IN U.S.
Incandescent light bulbs, which have been in use in the United States for more than a century, are on their way out in the new year. The federal government has prohibited their manufacture and import starting yesterday. The latest ban covers 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs. The 100-watt and 75-watt varieties had already been phased out. The bans were signed into law by President Bush in 2007 as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act. Opponents of the law protest that the government is making decisions for consumers rather than letting the marketplace determine the products people want. The prohibition has also led to U.S. job losses, as factories that made incandescent bulbs have been forced to close. Energy efficiency experts say the new light bulbs benefit consumers, who will pay more on the front end for the new-generation bulbs but will save money over time because they last longer – up to 23 years for LED bulbs and about nine years for CFLs. Consumers can still purchase the incandescent bulbs as long as supplies last, and they remain in stock at many home-product retailers around the country. Once those are gone, however, the newer bulbs will be the only ones available.