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Colorado Editorial Roundup

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 8, 2014 at 1:07 pm •  Published: September 8, 2014
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We have high hopes the recently launched study on the impact of oil and gas traffic produces some serious solutions and action steps.

The growing number of potholes and sections of cracked pavement in our region need to be a wakeup call to citizens and government leaders that more needs to be done to address highway maintenance in northeastern Colorado.

Editorial: http://bit.ly/1qAsBKr

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The Daily Sentinel, Sept. 7, on a return to duty for two officers involved in a fatal shooting:

Two Grand Junction police officers who killed a man have been cleared to return to duty.

We find this puzzling because the district attorney has yet to determine whether the shooting was justified and lawful under state law.

An internal affairs investigation concluded the officers' use of deadly force was consistent with departmental policy. That was enough for Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper to green-light their return "when they are ready and able to do so."

Camper went so far as commending the officers for their professional handling of the incident. But the details surrounding the shooting are still a mystery. As The Daily Sentinel's Mike Wiggins reported Friday, the most specific information released by police thus far came from a one-sentence synopsis of a police report that indicated the man who was shot, Joshua Crawford, "threatened officers with a handgun." A police spokeswoman declined to elaborate.

Camper acknowledged that the internal affairs investigation is separate from the analysis Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger will conduct once he receives the results of the 21st Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team's investigation.

So why the rush to return the officers to duty? If Camper is so confident that the outside investigation will confirm the finding of the internal investigation, then why the secrecy?

We recently hailed Camper for his commitment to transparency. He wants to put video cameras on patrol officers to — among other things — eliminate suspicion of police misconduct. That's a good idea in post-Ferguson America. The fact that Camper's administration started studying the idea long before Ferguson made headlines speaks to Camper's forward-thinking approach.

That's why his handling of the deadly shooting is such a head-scratcher. Camper should either put forth all the facts surrounding the shooting to corroborate his decision to clear the officers or he should wait for the D.A. to confirm that the shooting was justified before returning the officers to duty.

Editorial: http://bit.ly/1BntABj

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The Denver Post, Sept. 7, on a 10-patient limit for marijuana caregivers:

Colorado's health department is taking the right steps to pass a rule that would limit medical marijuana caregivers from serving more than 10 patients at a time, but that number is being criticized in an unreasonable emotional debate.

Current rules allow for caregivers to serve more than 10 patients if they obtain a waiver. The rule change would provide greater oversight of the caregiver system, which law enforcement officials say can be a source of illegal diversion to the black market.

Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, adds that large marijuana-growing operations for caregivers can pose health and safety risks, especially if they are in residential areas. And processes to extract the oil that use butane also come with inherent dangers.

Additionally, the rule change would shore up what is already in the state constitution, which defines the role of a caregiver as someone who "has significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a patient."

It is hard to imagine how someone who is truly involved with patients could handle even as many as 10.

Now, only four of Colorado's 2,896 listed caregivers serve 10 or more patients. But some of those patients have desperate stories and fear a rule change could mean the loss of life-saving medicine for their disabled children. No one wants that to happen, but it doesn't have to.

Families have flocked to Colorado for the non-psychoactive pot extract with high levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, that they say has worked for their children who experience untreatable seizures.

The caregiver should be separated from the product. Plants with high levels of CBD can be grown by anyone and are not exclusive to a handful of caregivers.

One provider is Jason Cranford of Boulder, who has nearly 90 patients, many of them children. Cranford told The Denver Post's John Ingold he would lose dozens of patients under the rule change.

The question is: What makes Cranford so special? Nothing he is doing couldn't be replicated by someone else. If Cranford is truly interested in the best practices of caregiving, why can't he train another person to be a caregiver who could help 10 patients?

Why does he have to be the sole caregiver for 90?

Many caregivers are taking a proprietary or business-like approach to their mission, hiring people to carry out their caregiver roles and responsibilities so that they can continue to grow for more patients.

That isn't in line with the state constitution. It is more like a business venture and therefore should be treated as such — complete with licensing and taxes, not a waiver for virtually no oversight.

Editorial: http://dpo.st/1pHuAYd