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Mountain News: Cannabis, cash, and kids are concerns in Colorado


ASPEN, Colo. — Cannabis continues to be one of the top two or three stories in Colorado.

In Aspen, where he was interviewed by former TV news anchor Katie Couric, Gov. John Hickenlooper continues to fret about the availability of cannabis to youngsters and still-developing brains, including to people up to age 24 or 25. The worry is that using cannabis can accelerate and exaggerate some mental illnesses in teens.

To discourage marijuana use, Hickenlooper said he's pushing for a new multimillion-dollar and anti-pot marketing campaign aimed at 12- to 14-year-olds and their parents.

"This has been going on even while pot was illegal," he said, according to a report by Aspen Journalism. "Every poll we see, 20 to 25 per cent of the kids in those age groups, said they were smoking pot sometime in the previous year or two. Those are high numbers, I think alarmingly high numbers."

One campaign is going to take its cue from studies that show young teens can permanently lose up to eight points of IQ by smoking potent pot.

"We're working on a whole campaign about 'Don't be a lab rat,'" Hickenlooper said.

The issue of revenues came up in Aspen. Couric noted projections of taxes and fees in Colorado could reach $134 million a year. "That's probably on the high side for the first year, but certainly for the second year I think it's reasonable," Hickenlooper said. "The first year, I think we've backed off and are thinking something closer to $80 million."

The Denver Post, however, reported a more nuanced story yet. In an editorial, the newspaper noted that recreational sales for the first four months totaled $70 million, compared to $133 million for medical marijuana sales. It also noted that the Colorado legislative council had dramatically lowered its estimate of taxes for this year.

Denver's biggest house not a big deal in Aspen

PARKER, Colo. — The Denver Post tells of a 50,374-square-foot house for sale on the outskirts of metropolitan Denver. The asking price is $18.37 million.

The house is believed to be the largest along Colorado's Front Range, plus it has 70 acres, an indoor swimming pool, a bowling alley, and a 29-space garage.

How does this compare with Aspen real estate? It's as big as anything in Aspen and has plenty of land. But in price? Not so much.

"I could go to Aspen and show you properties in this price range all day long," Liza Hogan of Joshua & Co. said. "But this home looks like an unbelievable value compared to a lot of resort properties."

The house is owned by Cal Turner, former chief executive of Dollar General, the chain of discount stores.

Thrills galore at the entrance

WEST YELLOWSTONE, Mont. — Why go look for bears, wolves and bison in Yellowstone National Park when there's so much thrill to be had at the entrance?

The West Yellowstone News reports that a business in nearby Big Sky Resort has created ropes and zipline courses in the middle of West Yellowstone, a town located at the western gate to the park.

The facility is also self-guiding, said to be fairly unusual among zip courses in the United States.

Bouncing boulders and raging rivers

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, Mont. — Glacier National Park is noted for its grizzly bears. But what should people fear most? By the numbers, more people die from drowning than any other cause. Grizzly bears? Rare indeed.

But even driving can be risky. The Whitefish Pilot tells of an 363-kg boulder that bounced onto Going-to-the-Sun Road just a few hours after the highway opened to traffic on July 3. Nobody was hurt, though traffic was blocked for several hours.