Robin Noble: Marijuana: Sound off about public consumption

I am a board member of the city of Boulder’s Cannabis Licensing and Advisory Board (CLAB). I serve with respect for the fact that voters legalized marijuana sales here and appreciate responsible marijuana businesses. The views in this letter are mine.

The Boulder community must determine if we will allow public marijuana consumption. In 2019, Colorado House Bill 19-1230 made public consumption legal, but it’s up to each community to decide whether to opt in.

Social consumption (“marijuana hospitality”) could be located in everyday establishments such as restaurants, laundromats, yoga studios and tour buses. Boulder can, but doesn’t have to, opt into this expansion of marijuana commercialization.

Driver impairment is a serious concern. Challenges remain on how to test drivers for THC impairment, and how to educate consumers and businesses on what constitutes impairment.

Proponents tout public consumption as a way to decrease illegal use in, say, parks. Maybe. There is no evidence that profit-focused social consumption businesses will mean less marijuana use in other public places.

What’s certain is that legalizing on-site consumption would increase marijuana businesses in our community, expand availability and exposure to marijuana, and further normalize marijuana use, three factors that research shows impact youth perceptions and increase their use.

For kids and teens, marijuana is harmful to the developing brain. This is settled science and must be considered as we decide whether to encourage more marijuana use in our community. Public consumption may cost Boulder in ways that exceed any economic benefit.

We need to get this right. CLAB will discuss the issue at its meeting Monday at 3 p.m. on Zoom. The board is genuinely curious about community points of view. Get the Zoom link on the City of Boulder’s website by searching “Cannabis Licensing and Advisory Board.”

Robin Noble


Leslie Glustrom: Electric service: Choose partners wisely

When choosing a partner for a new business or a key endeavor, it is best to be clear eyed about the partner’s strengths and weaknesses. So it is as Boulder chooses a partner for moving forward on an equitable, cost effective, climate and clean energy transition.

To start with, it is probably good to know how clean your partner is. While Xcel Energy has made some progress, in 2019 the company was still about 70 percent dependent on fossil fuels like coal and fossil methane. That’s not very clean.

Next, you probably want to know what your partner’s spending habits are. Xcel is planning on spending more than $7.5 billion in Colorado in the next five years. Boulder’s share of that is about $300 million, with no control. Ouch. Not good news on the financial front.

You probably also want to know if your partner shares core values. Here it is important to pay close attention to what your potential partner does — not just what it says. What Xcel does is work the Public Utilities Commission system to gain rate increases almost every year. These rate increases fall disproportionately on low-income customers. That’s not well aligned with Boulder’s commitment to higher equity in the energy transition.

These assessments are particularly important now because communities around Colorado are finding that new market entrants are able to provide much cleaner electricity at considerably lower prices than they previously paid. (Search “Guzman Energy Colorado” for some examples.)

As we move through the 2020s, there is a good chance that Boulder will be able to pursue a partnership with these market entrants, probably even without continuing with the municipalization process.

Boulder beware. You will be spending about $2 billion on electricity in the next 20 years. It is important to be clear eyed and choose your partners carefully.

Leslie Glustrom


Theodore Costantino: Restaurants: Don’t dine inside

For anyone susceptible to heeding Chuck Wibby’s plea (“Phase IV,” July 1 column) to head to a restaurant for a meal — while, as he notes, you “make certain you follow common sense precautions” — the most sensible precaution is to not eat there. Take-out may be OK, but restaurants, as everyone except Mr. Wibby seems to know, are hot spots for COVID-19.

The most recent evidence comes from JPMorgan Chase. In analyzing data from Johns Hopkins University and comparing it to the usage of 30 million of its credit and debit card holders, the company found an unmistakable correlation between the level of spending in restaurants and new cases of the virus. In a June 25 statement, Jesse Edgerton, a J.P. Morgan economic analyst, said: “We find that the level of spending in restaurants three weeks ago was the strongest predictor of the rise in new virus cases over the subsequent three weeks.” Edgerton added that in-person restaurant spending, as opposed to ordering online, “is particularly predictive.”

It hurts to see our restaurants close, and none of us wants to make things worse. But for now, much as we wish otherwise, the best course of action is to avoid dining in and to support eateries by ordering out.

Theodore Costantino


D.M. McDaniel: Presidential elections: Make the system fair

In her guest commentary of July 1, Heidi Ganahl argued incoherently that we should maintain the Electoral College for presidential elections even though no other election in America or the rest of the world uses that method. And she neglected to say that it would adversely affect the people by denying each individual citizen an equal voice in determining our president.

In other words, Ms. Ganahl feels that states are more important than the people. I very much doubt that most Americans would agree with her assessment on that point. She forgets that in America, it’s the people that matter and that democracy depends on “one person, one vote.” On that we can unanimously agree.

If the Electoral College is the fairest way to elect a president, why not use it to run state and local elections and give more representation to less-populated areas?

She further stated: “With a mere 1.7 percent of the nation’s population, Colorado has received disproportionate attention from presidential candidates.” She must think it’s fair for votes of some citizens to carry more weight than votes of other citizens … a Coloradan’s vote counting more than a Californian’s or a Wyoming vote more than a Coloradan’s. That doesn’t sound like democracy. Also, the Electoral College allows votes in states with low voter turnout to count more than same size states with greater voter turnout. That’s just plain unfair for states with strong voting records.

Ms. Ganahl believes that states should decide who is president, but most Americans believe that the power to elect presidents should be in the hands of the people. Therefore, most of us believe that the Electoral College is obsolete and should be abolished.

D.M. McDaniel



Leave a Reply