Rant: Marijuana Oversight Still Stuck In the Weeds

I’ve often written about how Colorado’s relatively positive experience with medical marijuana has given us the necessary legitimacy and momentum to make the transition to fully legalized pot as smooth as possible. Now comes news that questions many of these assumptions.

This week, Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher’s office released a report showing that the city’s lax oversight of the MMJ business could be squandering tax revenue and potentially creating public safety issues. The problems appear to be across the board and include inadequate oversight of licensing, a lack of communication between city and state revenue offices, and subpar management and understaffing of the entire operation.

Some of these shortfalls are due to state and local governments still rebuilding or modifying their operations after a few cost-cutting years. But the report calls into serious question Denver’s—and the state’s—ability to regulate the imminent legalization.

Does it have to be this complicated? All Amendment 64 did was approve the establishment of a system that mimics as closely as possible the regulation of the alcohol industry. With taxes on retail marijuana already expected to be high—and maybe going even higher—Colorado is poised to reap millions in much-needed revenue. It would be a shame if the expected windfall went up in smoke because some basic governmental benchmarks can’t be met.

Rave: Are the Buffs Poised for a Comeback?

It’s been a rough few years for CU football. With a record of 4-21 since 2010, the school’s sub-pathetic showing on the gridiron sapped virtually all the momentum its highly trumpeted move to the PAC-12 Conference was supposed to create. On top of that, last week the school’s interim athletic director called for a 10 percent cut from the budget of all sports in 2013 to make up for how much it’s cost to pay off all the coaches CU has recently fired.

Needless to say, this is not the optimal way to build a first-rate athletic program. Fortunately for CU, a revival my be at hand. Last spring, the school hired a promising new football coach, and this week, it lured former assistant athletic director Rick George to be its new AD.

In Mike MacIntyre, the Buffs now have a coach who turned the San Jose State Spartans from an abject laughingstock into an 11-2, top 25 bowl team within two years. And in George, they’ve brought in someone whose best asset is his financial acumen at a time when the school desperately needs to revitalize its fund-raising operations.

The changes can’t come quickly enough for fans of the black-and-gold, because a competitive football team benefits not only its fans, but anyone who wants to see a great state university enjoying success in all it pursuits.

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Follow 5280 articles editor Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.