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Mountain News: Cannabis not top issue


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GUNNISON, Colo. — For the last two Sundays, the New York Times has been devoting great space to explaining why the legalization of cannabis that has started in Colorado and Washington should be expanded to other states.

This week's editorial, as accompanied by an essay written by Lawrence Downes, was a gem of reporting. He examined Crested Butte, the one-time mining town now reborn as a mountain resort, and Gunnison, 43 kilometres down valley that is a ranching centre, home to a small college, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Gunnison, observes Downes, is the sort of place where a $6,000 mountain bike sits atop a $700 Subaru.

Crested Butte has three retail stores for sale of recreational marijuana use, but Gunnison, so far, has resisted. Chris Dickey, editor of the Gunnison Country Times, said it's not the top issue in town.

"This is how it feels in Colorado, in Denver and beyond," Downes wrote. "Even people and places not overeager to embrace marijuana are not cowed by legalization. Seven months after plunging into the what-if world of legal marijuana, Colorado feels years ahead of the rest of the country in cannabis understanding."

He went on to say that Cheech and Chong jokes will not amuse 20-something cannabis entrepreneurs, nor, for that matter, most other Coloradans, "who are going on with their lives, living apart from the world of weed."

The report also included this observation from Gunnison-based writer George Sibley: "Above 8,000 feet (2,400 metres), it's almost always Democrat, and down valley it's almost always Republican," he said. "Down valley, it's more agricultural, self-reliant, Jeffersonian-type republicanism. But up valley, it was miners, originally, and union people, and then it became post-urban liberals with urban backgrounds."

Body of hiker found

JASPER, Alberta — The body of a 28-year-old man who disappeared on the Athabasca Glacier in 1995 was recently discovered.

The body had melted out of the glacier and was discovered by a mountain guide leading a group of hikers. Police tell the Jasper Fitzhugh that they see no evidence of foul play, although they couldn't explain why the man died.