Mountain News: Visitors buying most of the pot in Colorado 

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  • Pot of Gold

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. — Non-residents are proving to be the major buyers of marijuana in Colorado.

Writing in the Denver Post, editorial page editor Vincent Carroll cites a new report from the Colorado Department of Revenue that finds 90 per cent of retail sales of marijuana in mountain resorts so far have been to out-of-staters. Statewide, it's running 50 per cent.

But Colorado's heaviest marijuana users appear to be sticking with medical marijuana, which is taxed at a much lower rate.

Tax revenues through April were little more than half of what was projected.

In Crested Butte, the three cannabis stores now in operation are doing a booming business, reports the Crested Butte News. And, as has been observed in other ski towns, editor Mark Reaman finds that it's primarily visitors, and especially those who are older, checking out the bud and edibles.

"We get kids who are 21 and people coming in on their walkers," said David Niccum, general manager of a store called Acme. "I had an 86-year-old grandmother in the Ridgway store come in to try it for the first time. She was with her daughters, who were in their 60s. They were shopping as a family. In fact, I'd say the majority of our customers are older than 50. Our smallest group is probably the 21 to 25 year olds."

He added: "There's no stereotypical stoner out there. They are young and old, conservative and liberal, rich and poor. We are finding out that everyone smokes marijuana."

Another store owner previously had a store in the university town of Boulder. "In Boulder the clients were a bunch of 20-somethings with bad backs," said Chuck Reynolds, co-owner of Soma. "Here we are seeing a big part of the business coming from people probably 45 and older. We see a lot of people in their 60s and they love that it's legal now."

Across the Elk Range in Snowmass Village, the Aspen Marijuana conference will be held on Sept. 15-17. Topics will range from how to cook with marijuana to how to find a job in the industry.

One organizer said that Aspen-Snowmass was the logical place for the conference because of the approach to marijuana regulation of local governments.

Jasper sees rise in beetle-killed trees

JASPER, Alberta — By standards of Colorado, British Columbia, and Idaho, the mountain pine beetle epidemic in Jasper National Park is vanishingly small. Just 2,000 trees have died this year.

The Jasper Fitzhugh notes that what makes the dead trees newsworthy is the near geometric increase. Just a few years ago, park officials expected to see maybe 200 dead trees.

Suppression of all fires that began about 70 years ago resulted in older and more unhealthy trees. Too, the cold snaps of -40 C (also in this case -40 F), which substantially knocked back beetle populations, have become infrequent.

Oil spills replace grain as chief railroad worry

WHITEFISH, Mont. — In 1989 and 1991, large amounts of grain were spilled from passing trains on the Great Northern Railroad that passes through Whitefish and Glacier National Park. That problem has largely been solved, but the group formed to address the grain spills now has another problem: the potential for derailed trains carrying oil from the Bakken fields.

The Great Northern Environmental Stewardship Area group met recently to talk about preventing spilled oil, as opposed to cleaning it up. Slowing trains, improving tracks, and shortening the 100-car train lengths were all mentioned, reports the Whitefish Pilot.

Get your prostate exam and check out Babe's car

TELLURIDE, Colo. — It makes sense, if you think about it, although it seems bizarre. A new resident of Telluride is proposing a new festival in 2015 that is intended to draw people of great wealth who are in love with cars of distinction.

"We have Babe Ruth's car, the ambulance and the hearse used to transport JFK (after his assassination), and a Formula One race car that people can sit in and have their picture taken," Ray Cody told the town council.

In Cody's envisioned Festival of Cars and Colors, some well-heeled customers will be helicoptered in.

Here's where it gets a bit weird. Cody proposes to offer free prostate tests for men. "This is a sausage fest, a guy thing," he explained, "So why not focus a little bit of attention on men's health issues while they are here?"

What makes more sense is working with restaurants to come up with festival-specific menus or items during the festival.

So far, the Telluride council seems to be with him all the way, but the devil is always in the details of such matters.

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