No pot or tanning for the youngfolk; full four-year degrees from CSU online

Marijuana: it’s really just like alcohol if you’re under 21


If you’re under 21, smoking a joint beneath that rainbow parachute — or anywhere else in the state, for that matter — take note: The Colorado Senate just moved forward a bill to penalize under-age weed smoking like under-age drinking.

Carried by Sen. Pat Steadman of Denver, SB 129 states that pot users younger than 21 years old can be hit with a $100 fine or required substance abuse classes for their first offense. They would get both on a second offense. And if they’re caught a third time, the fine shoots to $250, classes are mandatory and the young stoner could be required to do up to 36 hours of community service.

“It doesn’t always work to regulate marijuana like alcohol, but in this instance that’s the recommendation,” said Steadman, who worked with the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice to draft what he called an “Amendment 64 clean-up bill.” Amd. 64 was last year’s successful ballot initiative legalizing pot.

As proposed, the money to enforce regulations would come from taxes on recreational marijuana.

The measure passed handily on second reading in the Senate by a voice vote. The bill will get a formal, and final, vote in the Senate tomorrow.

Prom is ruined? House moves to keep minors out of commercial tanning beds

Rep. Bob Gardner from Colorado Springs took some big swings at a bill in the House today that would make it illegal for commercial tanning salons to let minors under the lamp.

“This is the nanny state … one more step for big brother to control of everything in our lives,” he said.

Rep. Cherylin Penniston of Westminster, HB 1054‘s sponsor, disagreed. She noted that people under 30 who artificially tan are 75 percent more likely to get melanoma. That, in a super sunny state where the general population is already at least 15 percent more likely to get skin cancer than most Americans.

Penniston added that, in a Denver Post poll this month, 72 percent of Coloradans agreed that commercial tanning beds should be off-limits to minors.

“Tanning is a danger, I recognize that,” said Rep. Cheri Gerou of Evergreen, proposing an amendment to allow parents to give consent for teens over 16-years-old.

Debate dragged on long enough that the House decided to lay-off deciding on the bill and its potential amendment until tomorrow. In the meantime, here is a short video about how to convince your muppet teenager not to get in the tanning bed.

Home schooling: Expanding CSU’s digital classrooms

A bill (SB 114) from Senator Nancy Todd of Aurora would make it possible for students to earn a full four-year degree from Colorado State University without ever having to step foot on campuses in Fort Collins or Pueblo. They could do it all online through CSU’s Global Campus.

Right now, CSU Global offers courses for degree completion. That means a student would have to do his or her first two years somewhere else, likely a community college, before transferring to the digital campus.

Todd said that doesn’t work for many of Colorado’s non-traditional students such as military members deployed overseas or firefighters who work variable hours.

“CSU Global is global and that’s the beauty of this [bill],” Todd said, adding that the school is ranked 7th by U.S. News and World Report for best online degrees. Thirty-three percent of CSU Global’s students are first generation college-goers. Twenty-three percent represent low-income populations.

“The testimony in committee was so compelling … many of them said ‘I’m online from midnight to 2 a.m,'” said Todd, adding that CSU Global’s busiest hours are late at night and on the weekends because many of its students are juggling full-time jobs, military service and/or family responsibilities.

The measure passed on second reading and will get a final vote in the Senate tomorrow.