TIME Drugs

Colorado Sold Nearly 5 Million Marijuana Edibles in 2014

Smaller-dose pot-infused cookies, called the Rookie Cookie, sit on the packaging table at The Growing Kitchen, in Boulder. Colorado on Sept. 26, 2014.
Brennan Linsley—AP Smaller-dose pot-infused cookies, called the Rookie Cookie, sit on the packaging table at The Growing Kitchen, in Boulder. Colorado on Sept. 26, 2014.

The state's marijuana overseers issued their first annual report

Colorado just got its first year-long batch of data on the state’s grand experiment with legal marijuana. In the first annual report on supply and demand, Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division disclosed on Friday that 4.8 million edible marijuana products and nearly 150,000 lbs. of marijuana flowers were sold in 2014.

The numbers will give state officials a baseline for gauging the size of the market, particularly for edibles. In July, the state attempted to estimate how much marijuana would be sold in 2014 and said they really didn’t have a method of estimating edible demand. “The data reported into the system clearly illustrates a strong demand for edibles in general, but especially for retail marijuana edibles,” the authors conclude.

The totals take into account both medical and recreational sales. While more flowering marijuana—the kind one smokes—was sold in the medical market, far more edibles were sold in the recreational market.

Colorado issued licenses to 322 retail stores and 505 medical dispensaries in 2014, according to the report. Just 67 of the state’s 321 jurisdictions, or around 20%, opted to allow medical and retail sales, but those jurisdictions include many of the state’s most populous areas. In February, a poll from Quinnipiac University found that 58% of Colorado residents say they still support the law, while 38% oppose it.

The sales figures for edibles come as Colorado officials struggle with how to regulate the marijuana-laced treats, which can range from pastries to soda pop. Some advocacy groups and state lawmakers want to ban certain types of products—like gummy bears and rainbow belts—that may be especially appealing to children and are indistinguishable from regular candy once removed from the package. Several children showed up in Colorado emergency rooms last year after accidentally ingesting the substance.

But the more value edibles represent, the harder time those advocates are going to have in convincing the industry to shut down or revamp product lines. At one point last year, officials from Colorado’s public health department floated the idea of limiting edibles to tinctures and lozenges, eliminating everything else. But their announcement caused such uproar that officials issued a release clarifying that it was “just” a recommendation and did not represent the view of the governor’s office.

Proponents of the current system argue that cracking down on popular edibles will drive consumers to the underground market—where there is no one regulating THC content or mandating childproof packaging. Eliminating the black market, while bringing in revenue for the state, was one of the selling points when voters decided to legalize marijuana in the first place.

There may also be a legal hurdle. The amendment voters passed in 2012 defined marijuana as: “all parts of the plant of the genus cannabis … and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant.” While industry players say that makes every kind of edible fair game, the Denver Post argued in an editorial that “there is no constitutional provision that says edible marijuana must be available as granola, soda pop, or candy bars that look like what children eat.”

Washington, which followed Colorado as the second state to open a recreational marijuana market, has set much stricter limits on the types of allowed edibles. Regulators setting up recreational markets in Oregon and Alaska say that avoiding the edible problems they’ve seen in Colorado will be a big focus of their work in coming months.

TIME cities

Know Right Now: Washington, D.C. Legalizes Pot

Four other states have already legalized recreational marijuana

Recreational marijuana use and adult possession (up to two ounces) became legal in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, but there’s still no way to legally buy the drug. Watch today’s Know Right Now to find out more.

TIME weather

Expect More Bad Weather in the Southern U.S. and Rockies on Monday

An Oklahoma Department of Transportation sand truck rest on it's top in the median of US 412 west of Enid, Okla. Sunday, after it was involved in an accident with another vehicle on Feb. 22, 2015
Billy Hefton—AP An Oklahoma Department of Transportation sand truck rest on it's top in the median of US 412 west of Enid, Okla. Sunday, after it was involved in an accident with another vehicle on Feb. 22, 2015

Motorists should prepare for hazardous travel conditions

The Rocky Mountains and Southern Plains are in for snowy and icy conditions Monday as a winter storm continues to move across the region.

Multiple accidents have already been attributed to the storm, with injuries being reported in Utah and Kansas, according to the Weather Channel. Motorists should continue to take utmost caution.

Those planning on catching a flight may want to double-check the status of their bookings. Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport canceled about half of the flights scheduled for Monday after already grounding around 160 flights on Sunday. Denver International canceled more than 330 flights over weekend, according to Denver’s Channel 7 News.

Meanwhile, schools in Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Louisiana, New Mexico and Alabama have announced cancellations or delays of classes due to weather concerns.

Read next: 7 Reasons to Love This Freezing Weather

TIME Crime

Colorado Bombing May Not Have Been Aimed at NAACP

Thaddeus Murphy
AP This Sept. 1, 2009 booking photo from the Colorado Department of Corrections shows Thaddeus Murphy of Colorado Springs, Colo. Murphy has been arrested in connection with the explosion at a building in Colorado Springs on Jan. 6, 2015, that houses a barber shop and local chapter of the NAACP.

A tax preparation office may have been the target

A Colorado man was set to be charged Friday in connection with a bombing outside an NAACP office in January—an attack the man says wasn’t aimed at the NAACP at all.

Thaddeus Murphy, 44, was arrested Thursday on charges of arson and possession of firearms in connection with the Jan. 6 bombing of a Colorado Springs building. The attack initially appeared aimed at the Colorado Springs branch of the NAACP, the civil rights organization that has been the subject of violence in the past. At the time, former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond called the incident a “terrorist attack.”

MORE: NAACP Bombing Evokes Memories of Civil Rights Strife

But Murphy says that he wasn’t targeting the NAACP, and instead was looking to attack a tax preparation company, KUSA/9News in Denver reports. There was only minor property damage from the attack, and no one was hurt.

Federal agents and local officers found seven firearms in Murphy’s home along with devices similar to what was used in the attack, the Department of Justice said.

Murphy, who had been convicted of prior felonies that made it illegal for him to possess firearms, was set to be formally charged in the incident on Friday and could face five years in prison for the attack and 10 years for possession of firearms.

TIME Drugs

The Marijuana Wars Claim New Fronts in Congress, Courts

Mason Tvert
David Zalubowski—AP Mason Tvert, spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project, talks during a news conference in reaction to the announcement that a federal lawsuit is being filed on behalf of two Colorado citizens by a Washington D.C.-based group to shut down the state's $700-million-a-year marijuana industry, Feb. 19, 2015, in Denver.

The tug-of-war over marijuana continues

The fight over marijuana has moved to Capitol Hill — and the courtroom.

On Feb. 20, Colorado Rep. Jared Polis and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer introduced bills in Congress that would legalize and tax marijuana on a federal level. “Over the past year, Colorado has demonstrated that regulating marijuana like alcohol takes money away from criminals and cartels, grows our economy, and keeps marijuana out of the hands of children,” Polis said in a statement. Both lawmakers are from states where residents have already voted to legalize recreational bud, along with Alaska, Washington and Washington, D.C.

The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act would remove marijuana from the federal government’s schedule of illegal drugs and transition marijuana oversight to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Marijuana Tax Revenue Act would impose new taxes on the sale of recreational marijuana, starting at 10% and rising to 25% over time, as well as occupational taxes of marijuana businesses.

But the draw of revenue is unlikely to inspire Republican-controlled Congress to take up the bills. According to Gallup, a slim majority of Americans, 51%, favor legalizing weed, but less than a third of conservatives do. And similar bills, though branded differently, have gone nowhere in Congress.

In February, the final tallies for sales figures in Colorado came out: stores and dispensaries sold nearly $700 million worth of legal medical and recreational marijuana in 2014, the first full year when legal sales of recreational marijuana existed anywhere in the world. In the month of December, the state made an estimated $8.5 million in marijuana-related taxes, licenses in fees.

In his press release announcing the legislation, Polis acknowledged that the federal prohibition of marijuana puts players in the new legal markets at risk. “[S]mall business owners, medical marijuana patients and others who follow state laws still live with the fear that a new administration—or this one—could reverse course and turn them into criminals,” he said.

That’s no abstract argument, either. Opponents of marijuana legalization have already turned to the courts.

Polis and Blumenauer made their announcement a day after two federal lawsuits were filed in Colorado that aim to “end the sale of recreational marijuana in this state,” as one of the plaintiff’s lawyers said at a press conference. Both suits claim that legal marijuana shops are causing nuisances that puts them in violation of federal anti-racketeering laws, claiming that all players in state-legalized pot enterprises are de facto racketeers.

In one suit, a couple joined by the Safe Street Alliance—a D.C.-based group that opposes legalization—claims that the building of a marijuana cultivation facility next to their vacation home is obscuring “sweeping mountain vistas that include views of Pike’s Peak” that has made the property less suitable to hiking and horseback riding. In the other suit, a Holiday Inn in Frisco, Colo., is claiming that the planned opening of a marijuana shop nearby is already hurting their business, driving away families who won’t book there anymore.

These come after the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma asked the Supreme Court to strike down Colorado’s legalization law in December, claiming that sales of marijuana in the neighboring state are undermining their own bans on marijuana, costing them money and making more work for their law enforcement officers. The Colorado Attorney General said that case, which is ongoing, is “without merit.”

Morgan Fox, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, calls the two new suits “fairly frivolous” and the complaints “flimsy.” Marijuana law expert Sam Kamin, a law professor at the University of Denver suggested that the suits had flaws in comments made to the Denver Post, saying that the businesses the plaintiffs are objecting to aren’t even operating yet—and that being angered by obscured views might not be enough of a legal nuisance to stand on. “You have to show that your business or property interest were harmed by a corrupt organization,” Kamin told the Post. “Displeasure is not good enough.” Christian Sederberg, a Colorado lawyer dedicated to working with marijuana businesses, says that the suits appear to have a “a real challenge in terms of showing actual injuries.”

While there’s still no clear winner in the battle over legalizing weed, advocates for the cause are moving apace. In recent weeks, they’ve helped push several state bills to decriminalize or legalize marijuana in places from Texas to Vermont. In response to the Holiday Inn lawsuit, MPP began a Change.org petition on Friday, calling on people to boycott the entire hotel chain until the lawsuit is dropped. In 13 hours, the petition gained more than 5,000 signatures.

TIME Marijuana

Colorado Warns About Marijuana Danger for Pregnant Women, Drivers and Youth

Medical Marijuana
Colin Brynn—Getty Images

A state panel finishes a comprehensive review of the published science on pot

A Colorado state panel set up to review the health effects of marijuana warned citizens Monday about the dangers of using the drug during pregnancy, while driving and during adolescence and young adulthood.

The report, which was commissioned by the state legislature to clarify sometimes contradictory health information about marijuana, also found preliminary evidence to suggest that legalization in the state had resulted in increased hospitalizations, emergency room visits and poison center calls possibly related to marijuana.

“The committee’s work represents one of the first and most comprehensive reviews to assess the strength of credible scientific literature available today regarding marijuana use,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, the executive director and chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

For years, a lack of scientific research and distrust of the federal government’s historic rhetoric on marijuana led to conflicting ideas about the drug’s negative health effects among users. In the 1930s, Harry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics, warned Americans that the drug increased criminality. “Some people will fly into a delirious rage, and they are temporarily irresponsible and may commit violent crimes,” he said in congressional hearing. “Other people will laugh uncontrollably. It is impossible to say what the effect will be on any individual.”

Today the scientific literature has advanced beyond such outlandish claims, though it is far from complete. Violent criminal behavior is not considered an expected result of marijuana use, and there are inconclusive findings on the permanent effects of marijuana use among adult users. Scientists have repeatedly found short-term memory effects lasting up to a week after heavy adult use. While marijuana has many of the same carcinogenic chemicals as tobacco, the lung cancer risk of the drug has not yet been conclusively identified.

For specific populations, however, marijuana use can have clear negative impacts, the Retail Marijuana Public Advisory Committee found in the review of scientific literature. The rate of motor vehicle crashes, for instance, doubled with recent use of marijuana. The committee also found that maternal use during pregnancy was associated with negative effects on exposed offspring, “including decreased academic ability, cognitive function and attention.” Some effects of the effects may not appear until adolescence.

Most of the committee’s warnings were focused on teens and young adults. Youth marijuana use is associated with higher future risk of using other drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, opioids, methamphetamine and cocaine. Use by teens is also associated with decreased school performance and memory impairments that last as long as 28 days after use. There is also a demonstrated correlation between early and heavy marijuana use and the development of psychotic symptoms and disorders like schizophrenia in adulthood among certain populations.

Adult use in Colorado is higher than the rest of the country, according to two surveys included in the report. In one survey, 3% of adults reported increased use of marijuana since retail legalization. The data on marijuana use rates among youth are contradictory—one 2013 survey found lower high school use than the national average, while another from 2012 and 2013 found higher middle school use than the rest of the country.

Medical marijuana has been allowed in Colorado since 2000, and recreational marijuana was legalized in 2014. The full 188-page report can be found here.

TIME real estate

These Are the Cities With the Largest Homes

many-green-houses-large-red-house
Getty Images

Not so surprisingly, the cities with the largest homes are on the whole more sparsely populated than major urban cities in the U.S.

This post is in partnership with 24/7 Wall Street. The article below was originally published on 247WallSt.com.

American families tend to spend about a third of their annual income on housing. Yet, depending on their location and the level of the family’s income, home sizes can vary widely. Based on data from property listings website Realtor.com, the largest homes in the U.S. are located in the Provo-Orem, Utah metropolitan statistical area, with a median home containing nearly 2,000 square feet.

Areas with the largest median home sizes also had among the nation’s higher estimated median home prices. Homes in seven of the 10 urban areas had median prices of more than $200,000 as of November 2014. A typical home in Boulder, Colorado cost $380,000, the 14th highest estimated median home price among all large metro areas.

While it is not particularly surprising that larger homes cost more, in many spacious homes were also pricier by square foot. In seven of the 10 cities the median price per square foot of property was in the top half of all metro areas reviewed, at over $105.

Relatively high incomes are required to afford these larger homes. All of the areas with the largest homes had median household incomes well above the national figure of $52,250 in 2013. Residents of Boulder were particularly wealthy, with a median household income of more than $71,000 last year.

While large urban areas tend to be relatively densely populated, the areas with the largest homes are on the whole more sparsely populated. The population density was well below the average across all metro areas of 6,321 people per square mile in all of these areas. Raleigh, North Carolina had just over 1,850 residents per square mile, one of the lower densities nationwide. By contrast, the areas surrounding Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City all had well over 10,000 people per square mile.

To identify the cities with the largest houses, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed median home square footage in the 200 largest core-based statistical area (CBSA) from Realtor.com. CBSAs are larger than most other geographies organized by the Census Bureau, and they often include several metropolitan areas. Median household income and educational attainment rates came from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Figures on population density are from the 2010 Census. Metropolitan area names and boundaries may have changed slightly since the data was collected. Unemployment rates came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and are for October 2014.

These are the cities with the largest homes.

10. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
> Median square feet: 1,828
> Median estimated price: $150,000 (88th lowest)
> Median household income: $57,398 (62nd highest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.8%

The living space of a typical house in the Dallas-Fort Worth area was 1,828 square feet, the 10th largest median home size in the nation. Most metro areas with the most spacious homes are relatively sparsely populated — perhaps freeing space for larger construction projects. Less 4,000 people lived in a square mile in Dallas in 2010, among the lower population densities. By contrast, the average metro area had 6,321 people per square mile. High incomes also likely explain the area’s large homes. A typical area household earned $57,398 last year, versus the national median household income of $52,250. This figure was also third highest among the 25 metro areas in Texas.

9. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
> Median square feet: 1,837
> Median estimated price: $207,000 (57th highest)
> Median household income: $61,750 (32nd highest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.0%

As in several other areas in Texas, Austin area residents seem to prefer larger homes compared to most Americans. A typical house in the region contained 1,837 square feet of living space. The median price of $207,000, however, was on the high end. The area is home to some of the state’s wealthiest and most well-educated residents. A typical household brought in $61,750 last year, the second-highest figure in for a metro area the state. Also, 41.5% of adults had attained at least a bachelor’s degree as of last year, one of the highest rates nationwide and the highest rate in Texas. The unemployment rate was also well below the national unemployment rate, at just 4.0%.

8. Fort Collins, CO
> Median square feet: 1,851
> Median estimated price: $272,000 (29th highest)
> Median household income: $59,052 (50th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 3.0%

The large homes in Fort Collins reflect the area’s prosperity. Just 3.0% of the area’s workforce was unemployed in October, far below the national rate. Area residents were also well-educated, with 43.3% having attained at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013. The strong economy and well-educated populace helped raise incomes in the area, which in turn may have afforded residents the luxury of larger homes. A median home was quite spacious, with more than 1,850 square feet. Fort Collins’s was relatively sparsely populated, at just 2,712 residents per square mile in 2010. By comparison the average metro area had 6,321 people per square mile.

7. Greeley, CO
> Median square feet: 1,854
> Median estimated price: $224,000 (44th highest)
> Median household income: $58,611 (54th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 3.6%

Greeley had just 2,212 residents per square mile in 2010, one of the lower densities reviewed. Being a less crowded community may have helped encourage residents to build larger homes. Area homes were not only large, but also relatively expensive. The median home price in Greeley as of this past November was $224,000, among the higher values for a large metro area. Greeley’s home prices have increased at a faster rate than homes across the nation over the last five years. Residents were also relatively wealthy in 2013, with a household median income of $58,611.

For the rest of the list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

TIME Television

1,200 Ticket Refunds Requested for Bill Cosby’s Denver Shows

Comedian Bill Cosby performs at The Temple Buell Theatre in Denver, Colo. on Jan. 17, 2015.
Barry Gutierrez—Reuters Comedian Bill Cosby performs at The Temple Buell Theatre in Denver, Colo. on Jan. 17, 2015.

Returnees amount to 40% of the tickets sold

A total of 1,200 ticket-holders requested refunds for two Bill Cosby comedy shows held in Denver, Colo., last week.

Around 3,100 tickets were originally sold to the event, meaning nearly 40% of those purchased were returned, according to the Denver Post.

Cosby, 77, was not heckled or harassed despite dozens of protesters outside his Jan. 17 gig, chanting phrases like, “rape is not a joke.”

The comedian has been embroiled in controversy since November after more than 15 women claimed he drugged and sexually abused them on various occasions spanning the last 40 years. Cosby has denied all accusations and has not been charged with a crime.

[Denver Post]

TIME Drugs

Marijuana-Infused Sex Spray To Hit Stores in Colorado

The product will be launched at the X Games next week.

As the marijuana industry evolves in Colorado, which legalized recreational use in 2012, so too are the product offerings.

The latest, according to USA Today: Foria, a spray containing marijuana extract that claims to improve sex for women. As part of an intensive marketing campaign, the spray will be launched at the X Games in Aspen on Jan. 22 and be available in Colorado for people 21 and older.

Foria, a product from the California medical marijuana cooperative Aphrodite Group, has been available in California for holders of medical marijuana cards for several months, and it doesn’t come cheap. While card holders don’t buy the product, they “donate” about $44 for a 10ml bottle, according to USA Today.

Colorado and three other states — Washington, Oregon and Alaska — and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana use, though recreational sales are currently only allowed in Colorado and Washington.

[USA Today]

TIME Colorado

Colorado Church Halts Funeral Because Woman Was Gay, Friends and Family Say

Cheyenne Poorbear, Samantha Getman and Victoria Quintana display photographs of Vanessa Collier and her partner, Christina Higley, during a rally outside New Hope Ministries in Lakewood, Colo. Jan. 13, 2015.
Craig F. Walker—The Denver Post/AP Cheyenne Poorbear, Samantha Getman and Victoria Quintana display photographs of Vanessa Collier and her partner, Christina Higley, during a rally outside New Hope Ministries in Lakewood, Colo. Jan. 13, 2015.

Reports of the canceled funeral of 33-year-old Vanessa Collier led to protests in the Denver area

A church in Colorado reportedly canceled a woman’s funeral on Saturday after learning that she was gay.

Friends of the woman, Vanessa Collier, who died in December at the age of 33, claim that a church in Lakewood refused to hold a memorial service for her because she is a lesbian, the Denver Post reports.

Collier’s friends claim the funeral at New Hope Ministries was canceled 15 minutes after the service was supposed to start because the church would not allow a picture to be shown of Collier proposing to her wife, according to 9 News.

“Her casket was open, flowers laid out and hundreds of people sitting in the pews,” according to a Facebook post about a “Death in Dignity” rally that was held Tuesday for Collier.

“Give us an apology!” protesters chanted, according to the Denver Post.

According to the newspaper, Collier’s death was “unexpected.” She leaves behind her wife and two children.

This article originally appeared at PEOPLE.com

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser