In this April 20, 2018 file photo, an attendee celebrates at 4:20 p.m. by lighting up marijuana during the Mile High 420 Festival in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)


Study finds more edible pot use among Colorado teens

Some teenagers in Colorado, where marijuana is legal for adults, are shifting away from smoking in favor of edible cannabis products, a new study shows.

About 78% of the Colorado high school students who reported consuming marijuana in 2017 said they usually smoked it, down from 87% two years earlier. The number of teens who usually consumed edibles climbed to about 10% from 2% in the same period, while the number of users dabbing increased to about 7.5% from 4%.

Research about the way young people consume marijuana products is still limited, and the study's lead author said Colorado's survey data could provide valuable insight for public health researchers and regulators.

"Since the implementation of retail marijuana sales, we haven't seen an increase in use among youth but we are seeing a difference in how young people are consuming," said Kayla Tormohlen, a PhD candidate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Understanding that can help to inform public health efforts."

The study, published Aug. 5 in JAMA Pediatrics, is based on high schoolers' responses to Colorado's biennial health survey in 2015 and 2017.

In Colorado and other states, edibles are tightly regulated including limits on the amount of THC, the compound in marijuana that creates users' high feeling, allowed in each dose.

Dispensary employees warn that customers should wait several hours to feel the effects of one portion before eating more. Information about the health effects of dabbing — heating or vaporizing an oil or wax with a high THC level and inhaling the vapors — is limited.

State and federal surveys have found teen use of marijuana remained relatively stable since Colorado began allowing adults to buy and use marijuana in 2014. In 2017, 1 in 5 Colorado students said they had recently consumed marijuana in any form — about the national average, said Jessica Neuwirth, the Colorado Department of Public Health's retail marijuana education and youth prevention coordinator.

Sales data has consistently showed adult consumers are trending toward non-smoking products, said David Abernathy, vice president of data and government affairs for The ArcView Group.



Adams could be 1st county to enact oil & gas location rule

Adams County could become the first community in Colorado to require a larger separation between new wells and occupied buildings than the state mandates, as leaders at both the state and local level wrestle with how to implement a historic oil and gas reform law passed this year.

A draft of the county's oil and gas regulations call for a 1,000-foot buffer between wells and homes, schools and day care centers — doubling the distance the state presently requires. County commissioners will likely vote on the proposal at the end of August.

The issue of well setbacks became a hot topic during the 2018 election, when voters were asked to increase the distance between new wells and homes and schools to 2,500 feet statewide. The ballot issue, Proposition 112, was soundly defeated.

But after the passage of Senate Bill 181 in April, which ended state pre-emption over energy extraction matters and tasked state regulators with putting health and safety ahead of industry expansion, local governments now have the opportunity to increase setbacks on their own.

Adams County in March put a six-month moratorium on any new drilling so that it could rewrite its rules for the industry. There are hundreds of pending permits for wells in the county.

Lynn Granger, who heads the Colorado Petroleum Council, said Adams County is the first Colorado community to exercise its "newfound setback authority under Senate Bill 181" and that increasing that distance "certainly does have the potential to impact future development."



Recall petition for mayor submitted to city clerk

A committee that organized to recall Brighton Mayor Ken Kreutzer submitted a petition to City Clerk Natalie Hoel on Aug. 5.

The group said the petition has 1,782 Brighton residents' signatures, 646 more than the 1,136 signatures required for a special election.

A spokesperson for the city said the clerk is in the process of verifying the number of eligible signatures. The city has five days to complete this.

The petition comes after the firing of City Manager Philip Rodriguez in July, which Rodriguez's supporters claim came after the former city manager discovered what he called overcharges on water and sewer bills and led to an excess of $70 million dollars in the utility fund.

Kreutzer has insisted that had nothing to do with Rodriguez's firing and said the he doesn't "have faith or confidence" in Rodriguez to lead the city.



City names its first-ever woman fire chief

Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar has selected Barbara Huber as the first female fire chief in the city.

Huber will take over on Aug. 31 pending city council approval.

Gradisar says Huber will replace acting fire chief Rick Potter, who held the position after former fire chief Shawn Shelton's retirement in April.

Officials say Huber has been a fire captain since 2007 and became the second female firefighter in the history of the Pueblo Fire Department when she first arrived in 1998.

Officials say Huber also served 20 years in the military and was an El Paso County deputy sheriff.



2 armed men handcuffed at police shooting protest

Two bail bondsmen were arrested Aug. 5 after they allegedly drew guns during a scuffle with demonstrators who were protesting the fatal police shooting of a robbery suspect.

At least one protester struck the men during a demonstration outside police headquarters, leading to a larger fight during which the men pulled their guns, Colorado Springs police Lt. James Sokolik said. He did not have an estimate of how many people were involved, but The Gazette reported that there were more than 30 people fighting in the street.

Dustin W. Brooks and Justin J. Brooks, both 33, were arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, police said. Authorities did not say whether the men were brothers.

They wore bulletproof vests and bail bonds badges and carried handcuffs, Sokolik said, and it's possible there was confusion about whether they worked for law enforcement. Police asked protesters to leave the area after the arrests.

Earlier, more than 60 people marched to the building to protest the killing of the suspect on Aug. 3. Video shows they entered the first of two sets of glass doors and chanted for justice as officers watched from inside the lobby.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is investigating the shooting and is in charge of releasing information about it. It says police identified two people suspected of robbing a person.

After police found the suspects, the office said that one of them reached for a firearm and at least one officer fired a shot at the suspect. Some witnesses say they did not see a weapon on the suspect and that he was running before he was shot.



Coroner: Worker at tank fire died of self-inflicted wound

The Weld County coroner says a man found by officials responding to a fire at an oil tank near Windsor died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Coroner Carl A. Blesch released the determination Aug. 2.

Kris Kazian, chief of Windsor Severence Fire Rescue, says responders extinguished a fire atop the tank. There, they found the man's body.

A firearm was recovered from the scene.

Kazian has said previously that the man is believed to have been at the site alone performing maintenance.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation at press time.



Bear killed by electric shock while climbing utility pole

Wildlife officials say a bear was killed by electric shock when it climbed a utility pole southwest of Steamboat Springs to escape traffic and touched power lines.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer Jack Taylor says a resident saw the bear trying to cross a county road when an oncoming car scared it. It ran into a field and climbed the pole.

Taylor says Parks and Wildlife received two reports last year of bears being electrocuted.

He says they sometimes climb utility poles the same way they climbs trees when fleeing from danger.



Another protest at immigration detention center

Activists protested at an immigration detention center where a group of people last month replaced the American flag out front with a Mexican flag.

Organizers of the latest protest Aug. 5 outside the privately-run GEO Group center asked on Facebook that participants bring signs and noisemakers and reminded them to conduct themselves in a "peaceful manner."

A July 12 protest against the Trump administration's immigration raids drew about 2,000 people to the center, which contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Police say hundreds of them crossed a makeshift barrier to trespass onto the center's property, and some pulled down the American flag and two others.

A 37-year-old suburban Denver woman was cited with a single municipal code violation of criminal tampering.



Colorado agencies tell landowner to stop water discharges

Colorado agencies have sent cease-and-desist orders to a landowner, telling him to stop discharges of water on his property that have weakened walls of a canyon where Interstate 70 passes through.

State officials have accused Rudolph Fontanari of pouring large amounts of water into a dry basalt rock quarry, threatening businesses and motorists in De Beque Canyon.

The state attorney general's office told Fontanari's lawyer in a letter in July that the state Department of Transportation will work with police to pursue legal action if he doesn't heed the warning.

Fontanari says most of the water that accumulated in the quarry came from a collapsed mine.


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