Northern hemp party
At the second annual NoCo Hemp Expo 2015, people can expect to find everything imaginable involving hemp: hemp CBD products, hemp apparel, hemp food, Colorado Hemp Beer, a hemp movie room, caricatures on hemp paper, over 30 expert speakers on topics about hemp, and even a "hemp-bodied sports car." The event will be held April 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Ranch Events Complex/Thomas M. McKee Building in Loveland (5260 Arena Circle, nocohempexpo.com). Tickets are anywhere from $15 to $100, with standard costs set for $20 at the door.
Pot beats feds in court
The IRS has settled with Denver-based dispensary Allgreens, LLC for $25,000. Last July, Allgreens sued the IRS over a tax penalty imposed on companies that pay payroll taxes in cash. As Allgreens cannot bank, and therefore cannot pay electronically, it felt the policy was unfair.
In February, the IRS told Allgreens the penalty would not be waived just because Allgreens couldn't get a bank account. According to the Denver Post on March 19, though, the IRS settled with Allgreens and refunded $25,000 in paid fines. It's considered one of the first legal victories by the marijuana industry over the federal government.
By settling, rather than letting the court set a precedent, the IRS has not removed the penalty against cash businesses. It has agreed to waive the penalty for Allgreens, but other marijuana businesses may have to go to court to get out of similar penalties. That said, Allgreens' attorney, Rachel Gillette, is cautiously optimistic. In an interview with the Post, she said "Not applying [the penalty] to other businesses uniformly would be as ludicrous as having applied it in the first place."
What's in your weed?
A Denver laboratory named Charas Scientific made headlines on Monday for its report at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society. "We've seen a big increase in marijuana potency compared to where it was 20 or 30 years ago," said lab founder Andy LaFrate in a video released by the Society. "I would say the average potency of marijuana has probably increased by a factor of at least three. We're looking at average potencies right now of around 20 percent THC."
Though THC concentrate in bud is often in the 20s, LaFrate says he's even seeing percentages in the 30s. He also says he sometimes finds marijuana covered in fungal spores, or featuring traces of heavy metals. "It's a natural product. There's going to be microbial growth on it no matter what you do," said LaFrate. "So the questions become: What's a safe threshold? And which contaminants do we need to be concerned about?"