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Pitkin County sheriff to talk marijuana at two conferences

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times
Former Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis and current Sheriff Joe DiSalvo at the Belly Up during the 2014 Cannabis Grand Cru in Aspen.
Aspen Times file |

Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo is scheduled to speak at two conferences this spring about the public safety impacts of marijuana legalization.

“A lot of people come to these events wondering what marijuana has done to communities [that have legalized it],” he said. “They want to hear from someone in public safety.

“It’s up to me to give a responsible account.”

DiSalvo estimated he’s spoken to 20 such groups both before and after recreational marijuana was legalized Jan. 1, 2014. The sheriff said he’s never been paid to appear at the events and has to fork out his own money to attend.

“I’m very interested in the topic,” said DiSalvo, who also co-founded the Valley Marijuana Council to promote safe and responsible pot use.

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DiSalvo’s first stop will occur March 26-29 in Las Vegas, when he will be one of numerous speakers at the Nightclub and Bar Convention and Trade Show. Other marijuana-related speakers at that conference will include Ricardo Baca, former editor of The Denver Post’s The Cannabist website, and Tripp Keber, owner of Dixie Elixirs, which produces pot-infused products.

His second stop will be at the third annual Cannabis Grand Cru in Seattle on May 20. That organization “was founded in the winter of 2014, with the vision to create a quality experience for cannabis enthusiasts and professionals where they could learn, network and celebrate marijuana in all its beautiful forms,” according to its website.

In fact, the first annual Cannabis Grand Cru took place in Aspen, which featured both DiSalvo and former Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis. The group also is scheduled to hold its annual conference in Aspen next year in April, according to its website.

DiSalvo said he spoke at the Cannabis Grand Cru event last year, when many community leaders from Washington state, which had recently legalized recreational marijuana, attended and were curious about its impacts.

“My schtick, if you will, is the effect on youth and the developing brain, public safety and driving,” he said. “Basically, how this new product has affected us.”

His answer to those questions?

“There have been some pitfalls,” he said, including issues with edibles and zoning. “But they’ve been corrected.

“The fallout has not been nearly what people thought it would be.”

And as far as public safety goes, DiSalvo said the impact has been close to nil.

“People are surprised about the open dialog we have in this community,” he said. “You can’t effect change unless you have an honest dialog about things.

“I think it gives people comfort that our morality didn’t turn into Swiss cheese because of legalization.”

jauslander@aspentimes.com


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