Craig briefs: Successful marijuana age compliance checks

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The Colorado Department of Revenue, Marijuana Enforcement Division announced a successful operation in underage compliance checks for marijuana businesses in Colorado. In partnership with the Denver Police Department, the Marijuana Enforcement Division is able to report 100 percent compliance within the regulated marijuana businesses in recent underage compliance checks, according to a news release.

The Marijuana Enforcement Division Investigators and the Denver Police Department conducted 16 underage operations to prevent minors from obtaining marijuana or marijuana products. Underage compliance checks are operations in which underage operatives, under the direct supervision of police officers, attempt to purchase marijuana from retail and medical facilities. Those who sell to a minor can face a license suspension, a fine per individual violation, a fine in lieu of suspension of as much as $100,000 and/or license revocation depending on the mitigating or aggravating circumstances. Sanctions also may include restrictions on the license.

Throughout the past few months, the Marijuana Enforcement Division has conducted 20 underage compliance checks on businesses located in Denver and Pueblo, all of which were found to be in 100 percent compliance when it relates to sales to those younger than 21.

The Marijuana Enforcement Division works with local law enforcement agencies across the State of Colorado to ensure public safety within the community. The underage compliance checks are just one measure utilized to ensure that youths in Colorado are safe and protected.  

Boaters reminded of responsibility on water

Boating season has begun across the state, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding everyone heading to their favorite lakes or reservoirs to be safe this year.

Following the state’s boating laws not only can help prevent deaths and injuries, it will help stop the spread of aquatic nuisance species, a serious threat to Colorado’s waters. In Northwest Colorado, several boating areas officially have opened for the season.

At Highline Lake State Park, northwest of Grand Junction, a dredging operation to remove a buildup of silt has been completed. The popular lake opened to boating and other water recreation April 14.

The required equipment may vary depending on the type of watercraft. At a minimum, boats must have one U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device per person on board. Youths 12 and younger are required to wear an approved PFD at all times while on a boat. Other required equipment includes an approved sound producing device, a Type IV throwable device and a fire extinguisher on some motorboats.

In 2013, 20 percent of all boat accidents involved the use of alcohol, drugs or both. Boating under the influence can be punishable by a year in jail, a loss of boating privileges for three months, fines as much as $1,000 and 96 hours of community service.

Data reveals all of state at high risk for radon

Twelve Colorado counties previously considered to be at moderate risk for radon exposure have been upgraded to the high-risk category, according to a press release. The change means all 64 Colorado counties are categorized as Zone 1 for radon, or high-risk by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Counties in Zone 1 have an estimated indoor radon average greater than four picocuries per liter, the action level where EPA recommends homeowners install mitigation equipment.

The 12 affected counties are: Alamosa, Archuleta, Conejos, Costilla, Eagle, Hinsdale, La Plata, Mineral, Rio Grande, Routt, Saguache and San Juan. Although the designation does not mean that every home in the county will have radon above the action level, state officials strongly encourage all Colorado residents to test their homes for radon and to consider installing mitigation systems if radon levels exceed four pCi/L.

“We’ve always known radon was a problem in Colorado,” said Chrystine Kelley, manager of the radon program at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “But this new data confirms a need for heightened awareness, more testing and a more proactive mindset, such as building new homes with radon-resistant construction from the start.”

A colorless, odorless radioactive gas, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Radon, which occurs naturally from the decay of uranium in soil, is abundant in Colorado. The only way to know if your household is being exposed to radon is to test. Test kits are inexpensive and the tests are easy to perform. For additional information, visit www.coloradoradon.info

NRCS hosts program for ag energy efficiency

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Colorado is participating in a pilot program aimed at sharing information about the numerous resources available to producers interested in increasing energy efficiency. The collaborative effort will bring existing resources and partners together while leveraging new opportunities aimed at making energy efficiency easy, according to a press release.

“According to the Colorado Energy Office’s 2013 Market Research Report, energy costs account for 7 percent of the Colorado agricultural industry’s overall expenses. The dairy and irrigation sectors represent the greatest potential for savings, as irrigation was responsible for 50 percent of the total electric expenses in 2008 for Colorado’s agricultural sector,” the report stated.

The pilot program will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will consist of a series of energy assessments and audits of 12 agricultural operations across the northeastern portion of the state, and the second will consist of the implementation of energy efficiency improvements identified in the assessment and audits on at least two dairy operations and two powered irrigation systems. Phase 1 is slated to be complete by September 2014.

Other organizations participating in the pilot include Colorado Department of Agriculture, Colorado State University, Colorado Rural Electric Association, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, Rural Development and the Western Dairy Association. For more information about NRCS, visit www.co.nrcs.usda.gov, and for more information about the agency’s participation in the energy pilot, call Gene Backhaus at 720-544-2868.

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