The Home Front: The hemp industry in Colorado, where ‘the sky is the limit’

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The Home Front: The hemp industry in Colorado, where ‘the sky is the limit’

“While the beginnings of the hemp industry in Colorado are ever-changing and uncertain at times, others see that as a wide-open opportunity where the sky is the limit,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Sure, there’s a lack of processing facilities. The quality of hemp seed from other places is uncertain. And the market is volatile, with prices varying wildly and basically being whatever someone is willing to pay or receive from moment to moment. But there are also opportunities. Big ones, and the excitement from those involved is palpable when they talk about building a foundation for hemp in western Colorado. The uncertainty doesn’t seem to be stopping people from entering the industry, as Montrose, Delta and Mesa counties have each seen exponential growth in the number of acres of hemp planted each year since the crop became legal to grow in 2014. Colorado itself is a leader in the hemp industry, with 8,988 acres of hemp grown in 2016, compared to 14,054 acres grown across the whole country.”

“After dealing with a plummet in revenue this year, the Garfield County Library District isn’t yet out of the woods,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “And the library board is still considering asking voters for a property tax increase, possibly on the 2018 ballot. The libraries have suffered as property tax revenue tied to oil and gas production has slumped, and it’s the libraries’ user and staff who have felt the pinch. Early this year the library board started openly talking about asking for a tax increase, though it wasn’t clear at that time what funding mechanism it should pursue.”

“With the Great American Beer Festival right around the corner, it’s a big week for craft beer lovers, and two Greeley breweries plan to capitalize on that,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Wiley Roots Brewing Co. and WeldWerks Brewing Co. will collaboratively host the first Greeley GABF Kickoff Party on Wednesday for beer enthusiasts from all across the country. WeldWerks, 508 8th Ave., will open at 11 a.m. and Wiley Roots, 625 3rd St., Suite D., will open at noon for a day full of beer releases and specials. A complimentary shuttle will run between the two breweries beginning at noon and food trucks will be on site. Thousands are expected to make the trek to Greeley for the party and throughout the weekend.”

“The employees at Agrium’s brand-new headquarters in Loveland helped design a pretty sweet work environment for themselves,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The agricultural products and services company celebrated a grand opening Monday for the 120,000-square-foot, four-story Rangeview V office building at 5296 Harvest Lake Drive off Rocky Mountain Avenue in Centerra.”

“A proposal for a new housing development, which could add 86 housing units close to the base of Steamboat Ski Area, won a preliminary nod of approval Sept. 28 from the city of Steamboat Springs Planning Commission,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Members of the commission voted 5-2 in favor of the diverse mix of housing being proposed by a local development group The developers of Urban Street at the Mountain plan to build 12 row houses, four duplexes, eight triplexes and two condominium buildings just off Walton Creek Road and across Owl Hoot Trail from Casey’s Pond on a six-acre site zoned for high density.”

“Welcome to winter,” reports Summit Daily, where ski resort execs talk climate, a snowstorm wrecks havoc on mountain roads and I-70.

“The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday denied Citizens for Quiet Skies’ request for the high court to review the Colorado Court of Appeals’ decision in favor of local airport business Mile-Hi Skydiving,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Citizens for Quiet Skies and members of the group sued Mile-Hi Skydiving and the company’s owner, Frank Casares, in October 2013. The plaintiffs alleged that Mile-Hi planes corkscrew over some homes in Boulder County with loud planes in order to gain altitude, causing a nuisance. Casares’ attorneys argued that he was following Federal Aviation Administration guidelines for where he can operate his planes and abiding by Longmont regulations in regards to airport noise.”

“Fort Collins officials hope to send a reassuring message to immigrants that they are welcome in the city, regardless of their citizenship status,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “The City Council on Tuesday is scheduled to consider a resolution affirming the city’s support for the immigrant community and taking steps to enhance communication between city departments and residents. The resolution is meant to clarify city policies on what its employees, including police officers, may ask residents regarding their immigration status, according to a city memo. Current policy prohibits questioning residents about their immigration status unless it is pertinent, such as required by state or federal law.”

“During the last five years, the City of Florence has been steadily losing water revenue because of the Federal Bureau of Prisons cutting their usage,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “The federal prison systems in Florence are one of the largest water customers for Florence. In March, the council raised water rates against the federal prisons to address the problem, but Patterson said the federal prison systems are fighting the city on the new rates. Patterson explained that in 2008 the federal government ordered that all federal agencies work to eliminate their carbon footprint. The federal prisons system began cutting back on its water usage — a cost-saving measure for the prison but a problematic measure for Florence.”

“A proposed shift in daily operations at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless has inspired mixed emotions — including concern, frustration and optimism — among the north Boulder neighbors who live near the facility,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. During an informal meeting Monday evening at the Shining Mountain Waldorf School, the dozens of people who attended were asked to offer feedback on the proposal, which calls for more intense use of the shelter and service to a different level of clientele. Under the drafted changes, the shelter, on north Broadway, would open 160 beds year-round for homeless people classified as having “moderate” or “high” needs. Those people would be allowed to stay at the shelter during the daytime, whereas now they are sent away in the mornings and welcomed back in the evenings.”

“Family members wept and wrapped one another in prolonged embraces at the Colorado Springs Airport on Monday evening while reuniting with at least five people returning from the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, where a gunman fired fusillade after fusillade into the crowd from a nearby high-rise hotel,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “A father who endured the deadly show hugged his teenaged daughters. A husband held his wife, who also survived the trauma. Returning travelers recounted the heinous chain of events – seeing the dead and wounded, hearing the screams of the masses and feeling the panic and confusion.”

“A rare special legislative session that began Monday could end as soon as Tuesday, with Republicans and Democrats at an impasse over a marijuana tax error costing RTD and other entities hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue each month,” reports The Denver Post. “A Republican-led Senate committee killed one of two bills brought by Democrats to fix the mistake, signaling what’s likely to be a fruitless attempt by Gov. John Hickenlooper to address the problem. Republican members of the Senate Transportation Committee — Ray Scott, Randy Baumgardner and John Cooke — voted down the measure on a 3-2 party line vote. Democratic Sens. Nancy Todd and Rachel Zenzinger were in support.

“Manufacturing is a small piece of Durango’s economy, but it is growing at such a healthy pace that employment for manufacturing jobs hit a 16-year high in 2016 in La Plata County,” reports The Durango Herald. “‘There is a post-recession story to manufacturing that is very, very positive,’ said Roger Zalneraitis, executive director of La Plata County Economic Development Alliance.”

“Colorado Senate Republicans said Monday morning, at the dawn of special session, they needed the extra three and half months before the next regular session to find a solution to fix a bill they helped mess up in the last regular session,” reports ColoradoPolitics. “‘There’s been a lot of controversy and firestorm about what’s getting ready to happen here today, and a lot of back of forth with the first floor, the governor’s office, whether we’re going to have a special session or not have one and what’s going to happen,’ Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, said Monday morning. Gov. John Hickenlooper called the special session without first consulting Republicans on whether they would get on board with an October fix rather than deliberating on it during the regular session that convenes in January.”

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About the Author

Corey Hutchins

is a journalist in Colorado, and Columbia Journalism Review's Rocky Mountain correspondent for the United States Project. Follow him on Twitter @CoreyHutchins and email him at CoreyHutchins [at] gmail [dot] com.

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