Marijuana Legalization Initiatives Filed in Colorado [FEATURE]

A coalition of Colorado and national drug reform groups Friday filed eight initiatives designed to amend the state constitution to legalize marijuana. It was the opening move in an effort to put the question to Colorado voters on the November 2012 ballot.

The first steps have been taken toward letting any Colorado adult grow six of these legally. (Image courtesy the author)
The groups lining up behind the initiatives are SAFER, Sensible Colorado, the Drug Policy Alliance, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, the Marijuana Policy Project, NORML, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy, as well as prominent Colorado marijuana attorneys and members of the state's thriving medical marijuana industry.

While the initiatives vary slightly from one another -- part of a bid by organizers to ensure they come up with the best language and pass the scrutiny of state election officials -- they all have as their core the legalization of the possession of up to an ounce by adults over 21, the legalization of the growing of up to six plants and possession of their yield, and the creation of a system of regulated commercial marijuana production and sales. (See the draft language for the base initiative here.)

The initiatives do not allow for public consumption. Nor do they protect "stoned driving" or protect workers from being fired by employers who object to their marijuana use.

"This is basically eight variations on a single initiative," said SAFER's Mason Tvert. "One version has industrial hemp, one doesn't. One version has specific language dealing with Colorado tax law, one doesn't. But otherwise, there is virtually no difference."

The initiatives now head to the state's Title Setting Review Board, which will determine whether they meet the state constitution's single-subject requirement and come up with titles for the initiatives. The initiatives could be revised based on issues and concerns that might arise during review with board staff, Tvert said.

"We want the best possible ballot title," he said. "They will create a draft title, and then we will be able to submit what we think, then there is a hearing to determine what the title should be. This is the very beginning of a long process. If one or two get shot down, we still have other possibilities. If one gets a ballot title we don't like, we still have the ability to re-file something else."

"We starting drafting this back in January," said Sensible Colorado's Brian Vicente. "We've seen a historic and unprecedented coalition of every major drug policy reform group involved in the drafting. I'm not aware of anything like that before. And SAFER and Sensible Colorado have been active in reforming marijuana laws full-time since 2004 and 2005, respectively. We have a giant network of collaborators on the ground."

But not everybody is happy. In an ominous harkening back to last November's election, a "Stoners against Prop. 19"-style opposition has already emerged. The Boulder-based Cannabis Therapy Institute (CTI), which is working on its own Relegalize 2012 initiative, came out swinging in a press release last Friday. Calling the coalition behind the initiatives "a conservative faction of national and local drug policy reform groups," the institute's Lauro Kriho said their initiatives would "attempt to undermine" advances by the marijuana movement in the state.

She criticized the initiatives on a variety of grounds, saying they did not provide protection to workers, tenants, or marijuana users who drive. She said the initiatives "appeal to law enforcement" and criticized versions that included a 15% excise tax. She also complained that the initiatives had been filed without broader feedback.

"I'm not sure why they did this without telling anybody," said Kriho. "Even the legislature gave us more notice to comment on their proposed legislation than they did. It really shows their bad faith."

But both Tvert and Vicente said that Kriho had been sent a draft of the base initiative a week before they filed it. A copy of the draft is available on the CTI web site.

"This opposition from within the movement is certainly frustrating, and we don't want to see the movement fractured," said Tvert. "We hope that anyone who supports ending marijuana prohibition will be comfortable with this initiative and be part of this broad coalition moving forward. We've reached out extensively to various groups in the community, including marijuana business leaders and organizations, and including CTI."

It's difficult to tell how much support Kriho and her critique have in Colorado's marijuana community, but Vicente seemed more bemused than concerned about it.

"I think the Colorado marijuana community is generally quite united," he said. "Most people are very supportive of this effort. We made an incredible outreach to different communities and solicited comments from grassroots activists, lawyers, and elected officials, and did our best to incorporate their concerns in the draft language. We're still requesting suggestions and we could still change the language," he said.

In the meantime, organizers are preparing for a signature gathering drive to begin toward the end of June. They will have six months to gather 85,000 valid voter signatures, and they say their goal is to hand in 130,000 or more.

And they are beginning to look for money. "We're certainly hoping to raise money, but we haven't pursued significant funding until we have an initiative in place," said Tvert. "We haven't received any significant money, but we haven't been soliciting it yet, either."

Still, the SAFER/Sensible Colorado initiative effort appears to have enough support to make it onto the ballot in 2012. Other initiative efforts, such as CTI's, can also try to make the ballot. It looks like it's going to be an interesting next 18 months in Colorado pot politics.

Denver, CO
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Statement from CCPC Regarding Filing of Initiatives

I met with Brian and Mason last Thursday to discuss the language of the draft initiative and working together for legalization in 2012. Neither so much as mentioned that Brian had just filed eight versions of it that morning.  I do not know how we can work together while they continue to pretend that they are the CIA and that we are enemy agents. Their coalition went to great lengths to exclude activists on the ground in Colorado from the drafting process, and it will be difficult for those who have worked so hard for cannabis-law reform and been so thoroughly snubbed to support an initiative sponsored by such a coalition.  By endorsing an unconstitutional law (HB10-1284), failing to include any representative of the grassroots in the drafting process, deliberately withholding polling data which might bolster their position, and by repeated demonstrations of bad faith, the national coalition has radicalized and completely alienated some of the most aware and involved activists in the State, among whom I number myself. I am determined to consider initiatives on their merits despite the personality conflicts which plague our movement, but I cannot work with Brian or Mason.

 

Robert D. Chase
Colorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers
(720) 213-6497

Oh great, internal divisions might do us in again

Well, at least they're out in the open almost 1 1/2 years before the voting. These folks need to find a way to work together, that's all I've got to say.

@Robert Chase : No one wants

@Robert Chase : No one wants to work with you either. You are completely unprofessional of all manners, in everything you touch. For instance, see your above email.

Anonymous Attacks

Wrong -- if you want to drop lies into the conversation, have the decency to identify yourself.

You appear very immature.

You appear very immature. Your poor grammar and sentence structure and aggressive manner reflect this. I wouldn't want to work with you either.

"Your poor grammar and

"Your poor grammar and sentence structure ..." -- really?  You don't cite any error.  I do make them, but I score within the top 1/10 of a percent on tests of English usage; perhaps you are barking up the wrong tree.

There is very little awareness of what has been happening in Colorado outside the State, much of it having been substantially distorted by the groups named above, or ignored by the corporate media.  I'm sorry to have to burst some bubbles, but your anointed leaders here are dishonest and mostly disengaged from the day-to-day politics of cannabis.  That, of course, is because they've been on Mt. Sinai for much of the past year, conferring with Jehovah.  Of course it is galling, because any number of us have been doing more and harder work without remuneration.

I will support legalization, but you should not expect people just to line up behind this imposed leadership.  I do think that it is important to convey the information that the coalition has not worked with local activists (contrary to the representations above), but instead has pursued a strategy of marginalization.  If the coalition wants to try to mend fences, it can start by sending Steve Fox to the Great Legalization Debate (rather than Mason), and he should be prepared to lay out the case for the various compromises in the initiatives in detail.  Instead of circling the wagons, consider that there may be cause for our complaints.

@Robert, From my in-depth

@Robert, From my in-depth understanding of the issue, many thousands of people were solicited for comment. Many local people, and mmj businesses made suggestions. To suggest otherwise is false and misleading. Why are you going there?

For the record, Robert Chase represents "me and others who think like me". He has no membership in his organization, and his .org has never received any donations from anyone.

From your Anonymous perspective

I wrote that no grassroots activists were included in the drafting process, and that is absolutely true.  It is easy for you to claim an in-depth understanding hiding behind your anonymity, but you have not demonstrated any.  For the record, the Colorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers (CCPC) represents everyone in Colorado who believes that the rights of those whose doctors have recommended their use of cannabis and of those who supply it them under Article XVIII, Section 14 of Colorado's Constitution must be defended against the depredations of the State -- there has been a counterrevolution against medical cannabis underway here for the past two years, and we have been losing a fighting retreat, usually unaided by the national drug policy reform groups or their local minions, and sometimes actually opposed by them (as in the endorsement, tacit or explicit of unconstitutional SB10-109, HB10-1284, and HB11-1043).  I count people who support our constitutional rights as members.  Patients and caregivers (as opposed to profiteers) consistently agree with my public positions, I represent millions of Coloradans.  I have an effect disproportionate to the size of my e-mail list and despite the fact that I have no budget.  As for not having received donations, you can rectify this outrage by sending contributions to the CCPC at copatientsandcaregivers@gmail.com via PayPal.

Robert is NOT representative of Colorado MMJ patients!

Robert you state "For the record, the Colorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers (CCPC) represents everyone in Colorado who believes that the rights of those whose doctors have recommended their use of cannabis and of those who supply it them under Article XVIII, Section 14 of Colorado's Constitution must be defended against the depredations of the State -"

So, let me get this straight, again. You have no official membership - just members who you think, think like you - but they never actually said that, or signed anywhere saying that. mmmm OK... I'm lost.... how many real world people have signed up for your .org? Where is its website? I can't find it anywhere on Guidestar either...

Also, you can't claim "I represent millions of Coloradans." (above email from Robert @ 3:44pm) when in fact you represent only your strange inflated ego. To do so is harmful to the mmj patients in CO since they are then not getting any real, true, and honest representation with your facade.

Furthermore this statement is especially disconcerting... "I have an effect disproportionate to the size of my e-mail list and despite the fact that I have no budget."  (above email from Robert @ 3:44pm)
Anyone care to touch that?

 

Guesty1's Lies ARE Repesentative of the Devolution of Debate

Anonymous turd,

There is no reason to pretend that you are an honest participant in this discussion.  You have nothing to say about medical cannabis, patients' rights under Colorado's Constitution, or the debate over legalization.  It is striking how anonymous detractors have started following us around the Net immediately after we pointed out that Mason and Brian are lying about the nature of the drafting process.  Keep on trying to marginalize; your book has exactly one play in it.  I trust that thoughtful readers will see you at least for what you are.

Robert - stop the pesonal attacks

"Honest participant"?  Did I not just go over how you have no membership, but claim to "represent millions". Where is the honesty in that? Please answer this.

If I wanted to marginalize - I would simply point out that CTI - the people who are complaining - are known anti-semites bent on destroying of the civil process as demonstrated by Laura Kriro's radical websites such as http://www.levellers.org/

http://www.whois.net/whois/levellers.org (info on who owns this website)

which just yesterday was proudly flying a Nzai swastika on its page -

http://i54.tinypic.com/2nsrgk4.jpg  (Before publicly announced)

http://i56.tinypic.com/m7ce3n.gif  (After)

I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out why CTI attacked this broad collation when they were planning on do their own initiative.

The Facts in Colorado

Legalize 2012 Reply to the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER alliance

http://the420times.com/2011/05/safer-colorado-responds-to-legalize-2012-campaign/

May 23, 2011

The MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER alliance has lost the trust of everyone in Colorado by making a unilateral decision to file 8 ballot initiatives without letting anyone in the state outside of their small group read or comment on them.

Mason Tvert of SAFER sent Legalize 2012 a draft of one of the initiatives on 5/12. He never indicated that he was on the verge of filing on 5/19. He gave no deadline for comments.

Legalize 2012 invited the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER alliance to participate, in good faith, in a community policy debate on June 22 so that we could try to find some common ground among all the groups that have ideas for the 2012 ballot and bring unity and focus to the Colorado cannabis movement.

Mason sent Legalize2012 a letter on May 16, 2011 that stated, "I can't stop thinking about how exciting and impactful it would be if we were able to join forces and move forward together. It would be such a huge catalyst for the movement, and we could really make things happen."

He gave no indication that they were on the verge of filing. Mason gave no deadline for comments.

Mason sent Legalize2012 a list of people who had read their initiative language prior to May 12 when we received it. The list was quite lengthy, and when Legalize2012 complained, jokingly, that we were the last ones in the state to see it, Mason wrote to Legalize2012 on May 17: "You made it relatively clear quite a long time ago that you were not interested in working together and would be working on your own initiative."

Legalize 2012 responded, "I am really getting tired of how you are spreading misinformation about our campaign. We never said we didn't want to work with you. You were one of the first people I told about our Legalize2012 campaign last May 2010, -well before- you ever said you were working on an initiative of your own. In November 2010, you complained again that we never asked you to help with our initiative, so I sent you a personal email on Nov. 5, 2010 that said, 'I am eternally sorry that my invitation to work with us a few months ago wasn't more meaningful to you.' And I included a more formal invitation to help on our campaign. For you to now say that we made it 'clear' that we 'were not interested in working with you' is a lie."

So, instead of working together with the rest of the state, MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER chose to file 8 ballot initiatives unilaterally without showing the final version to anyone outside their small group. This shows extreme bad faith on their part, and will make it very hard for anyone to trust them on any level about anything ever again.

This is not a repeat of Prop, 19 in California, this is a repeat of what happened in Colorado with Soros and Kampia in 1997/98.

Read the full story here about how this is an intentional nationwide strategy by MPP/DPA/Soros to divide and demoralize the grassroots by spreading lies and misinformation:
"Can we win the war without the troops? An Analysis of the Americans for Medical Rights Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative Strategies in the 1998 General Election"
http://www.levellers.org/inits98anal.htm

Contact these people and ask them to stop spreading misinformation about local reform groups:

Ethan Nadelmann <enadelmann@drugpolicy.org>
Brian Vicente <brian@sensiblecolorado.org>
Steve Fox <sfox@mpp.org>
Mason Tvert <mason@saferchoice.org>
Art Way <away@drugpolicy.org>
Sean McAllister <mclawoffice@comcast.net>
Rob Kampia <rob@mpp.org>
Rob Corry <robert.corry@comcast.net>

Legalize 2012 is CTI

Legalize 2012 is CTI (cannabis theraphy insitute)

A person named "Tim Tipton" is fully enmeshed with this group and is involved with everything they do.

Google

Tim Tipton MMJ scam.

Remember: Bird of a feather flock together.

Vendetta against Tim Tipton

Sure, if you are the sort of moron who believes everything they see on the Internet, go ahead and google that.  I know Tim to be an effective advocate (again, one of those who actually goes to hearings and testifies) and a caregiver.  I know him to be engaged in caring for very sick, indigent patients.  You are an anonymous, slandering troll.

Google: Tim Tipton CO MMJ scam

Robert - There are over 170 messages on ONE board alone telling stories about your best friend, and patron, Tim Tipton.

So are you saying that people created 10's of accounts and posted 1000's of messages in NO relation to Tim Tipton, just to slander Tim Tipton? Do you know how much time that would take?

 

Google: Tim Tipton CO MMJ scam

 

Robert Chase defends this low-life.

""You made it relatively

""You made it relatively clear quite a long time ago that you were not interested in working together and would be working on your own initiative."" From CTI's above attack letter.

 

CTI was explicitly working on their own ballot initiative. Why did they have to so vehemently attack the SAFER initiative?

We just need to get a

We just need to get a legalization initiative to pass.  When we do that we'll soon see it happening in other states and before long the federal government will back down and allow for a regulated market, provided they can add in excises too.  The one ounce limit in this initiative is too low. But, I read the initiative and nothing in it precludes the state legislature from raising or eliminating that limit, and the same applies to the limits on how much an individual can grow.  And the 15% excise is a maximum amount, not a minimum.  This means the state cannot go higher than that, except for general sales taxes, and it doesn't apply to medical marijuana. The feds can come in with their own excise tax, but if they do that they'd have to legalize at the federal level and then we'd have a actual legal marijuana industry where competition will heat up, big corporations will get involved, and the wholesale price of marijuana will drop to a tiny fraction of current prices. 

Unless they go too crazy with taxes, people won't even notice them because pot will probably be cheaper for consumers than it is now, even with super high taxes.  The only reason high grade pot costs thousands a pound is because it is illegal, subject to seizure, and not being grown on large farms like other crops.  If legal, premium grade product could be grown in row after row of greenhouses spanning many acres like large hothouse tomato growing operations.  I'd be surprised if it costs hundreds of dollars a pound to produce then.  I wouldn't be that surprised to see producers get the costs down to below a hundred a pound even on premium grade.  They'll make their money not so much on high markups but instead on volume of sales.  Hopefully they'll do a good bit better than the $200 or $300 an acre profits farmers hope to see with many other crops, but they won't be making hundreds of thousands of dollars or more an acre in profits as is possible now.  Competition will drive prices and per acre profits much lower than what we see now while marijuana is still an illicit product. 

Even "legal" medical marijuana is way way more expensive than it would be with if it was really legal, if it could be grown on a large scale like other crops by big players who are too afraid to get in the business now for fear of arrest by the federal government and loss of their considerable investment in their operations.  When marijuana is really legal it could be so cheap that taxes would have to be several hundred percent of the actual price before the cost to consumers is as high as it is today. If, for example, a $120 quarter ounce of premium pot could be had for $20 in a legal environment, taxes would have to be 500% for consumers to be paying as much for that pot as they are today.   A 15% excise will be nothing, and it can't be raised I guess unless there is a new voter initiative raising it. 

This initiative isn't perfect.  There are a lot of restrictions you don't see with alcohol.  But I don't see a legalization initiative passing unless it's very restrictive because people know that pot is still illegal under federal law and even if legal in Colorado there may very well not be any pot shops until the feds allow for it or any large scale commercial growing, so people will still buy from the black market and things won't be much different until the feds change their laws.  In time when the feds allow for a true legal marijuana industry the need for these restrictions will disappear and we'll probably see the legislature allowing people to grow and possess more, and maybe even get rid of the possession limits altogether because there won't be much point in them when there is a thriving legal market for marijuana and most all pot is going through legal channels.

I sure hope that the Legalize 2012 people don't keep trying to sabotage this initiative.   It looks like it's a good start and it might actually have a chance of passing.  Support for legalization is growing, but there is still strong opposition and at least on the national polls a slim majority is still opposed to legalization.  What's worse is that older voters who tend to be the ones always most likely to make it to the polls are mostly strongly opposed to legalization.  Even if 51% of people surveyed on telephone polls say they are for legalization, odds are the initiative only gets forty some odd percent of the vote because so many of those for legalization just don't make it to the polls, the younger ones mostly. For an initiative to have any chance of passing now it has to be restrictive to quell some of the fears of those opposed and those on the fence. Let's get this one through and then work on things like the one ounce limit later.  We'll be able to tweak and change things, especially when the feds loosen things up in the future.  When we get it legalized in a state or two, the feds will come around. We'll have majority support around the nation within a few years, as more of the old people who came of age before pot became popular die off and are replaced by younger voters, most of which have smoked pot. The same thing is happening to our older law makers as the oldest Baby Boomers are 65 now and them and people younger than them are replacing our most senior lawmakers who really call all the shots in our legislative bodies.  Legalization at the federal level is coming, sooner rather than later if we can get legalized in a few states pretty quickly.

There is a range of opinion

There is a range of opinion on the subject, and while I support CTI, I am open to any reasonable concessions in an intitiative to legalize cannabis which do not create new criminal penalties if the initiative also substantially reduces the criminal liability associated with cannabis overall.  Legalizing only for those twenty-one and older, setting arbitrary limits on the amounts legal to possess or grow, a fifteen percent excise tax — these are all provisions to which enthusiasts object, but they are also the kinds of provisions which appeal to (some of) the voters we need to persuade. Legalization is worthwhile on almost any terms, because it strikes a deathblow at the prohibitionist system, and would create the political conditions necessary to consider further deregulation and to release prisoners convicted of cannabis-related offenses — after we legalize for adults, our sense that those prisoners are unjustly imprisoned can become general and make it politically possible to free them. We must always aspire to better, but there is no basis for imagining that we can win total legalization from the disinformed, disengaged general populace. Legalization even with restrictions promises to slash the number of people arrested, improve safe access to cannabis, and lower the price of good cannabis; inarguably, this would be progress.

The misperception that Legalize 2012 is trying to "sabotage" the national coalition's initiative serves the purpose of marginalizing all criticism of it.  I will vote for legalization of cannabis and I will work for it too, but I will not work with Mason or Brian for the reasons I indicated above.  Rather than continuing to try to marginalize CTI, the national coalition should send Steve Fox, who headed the executive committee that did draft the initiatives, to CTI's upcoming Great Legalization Debate.  What is necessary to move forward together is nothing less than a complete reversal of policy in dealing with us -- Steve should put a carefully reasoned case with supporting evidence before activists here.

Robert, I don't think it's a

Robert, I don't think it's a misperception that Legalize 2012 is trying to sabotage efforts of groups like the MPP.  Look at their website. It's like they're taking their lead from right wing nutjobs and DEA types when they talk about the MPP and other organizations.  They go on about George Soros and all this, taking a very derogatory tone. 

I'm not a member of any of these groups.  I'm just another one of the millions who believes that marijuana should be legal.  I'm a lawyer who has handled thousands of pounds worth of pot cases, big and small. I think we're doing way more harm than good trying in vain to keep up the ban on marijuana, and I agree with you to a great degree that people should have the right to put what they want into their bodies, although I'm not for completely legalizing all drugs. 

I've been keeping up with marijuana laws and attitudes on legalization for many years. I'm kind of a numbers guy and am pretty experienced in sizing people up and figuring out what makes them tick and how they're likely to vote. I do a lot of that when picking juries, and for me that starts with looking at all the information I have on the jury pool, things like age, employment, education levels and other variables on their jury questionnaires. Ultimately I have to trust my gut when picking jurors, but aside from questioning them in voire dire I'm looking at an awful lot of polling data for people with various demographic characteristics, looking at things like drug use statistics and so on. I'm also going to have locals go over the jury pool list for me and look at some other information available to me, but I can tell a lot just from demographic information because I've studied all of this so much.  I know who on that jury pool is most likely to have smoked marijuana, who is most likely to be for legalization even if they won't raise their hands when that question is asked, and so on.  I have a pretty good idea about who is most likely to not want to convict or at least not want to hammer my clients too much, and what arguments will fly with people and what won't.

I've looked at these Colorado initiatives that have been submitted and I think they're pretty good.  Legalization is a tough sell to a huge portion of the population. So many are so strongly opposed that we'll never get them on our side.  When you dig into polls on legalization what you generally see is that while forty some odd percent typically are for legalization, those opposed are much more likely to be "strongly opposed" and those for legalization are more likely to "somewhat favor" legalization rather than strongly favor it. I'm not up on Colorado's polling data but nationwide we don't have majority support yet and a lot of the support we have is pretty tenuous. I don't know that there is enough support in any state to get a legalization initiative through at this time, but win or lose it's going to be close. 

I think a lot of "enthusiasts" just don't get it. If we can get a state or two to legalize in 2012 it will be by the skin of our teeth.  We won't get an initiative through if it is not very restrictive. It would be easy to put an initiative up for vote that scares away a lot of voters who would say they support legalization when polled.

Let's say for instance voters had to decide on an initiative that legalizes pot, and releases everyone with a felony marijuana conviction from prison and requires that they be pardoned.  That will turn a lot of those who "somewhat favor" legalization right out of the box, because just because they think pot should be legal doesn't mean they like drug dealers, and pot dealers are drug dealers to them, really evil people or at least people who knew good and well they were breaking the law when they were engaged in their illegal easy money schemes. Some people would love to put provisions like that in a legalization initiative but that would be a poison pill that would galvanize those opposed and just be too hard to swallow for many of those who support legalization.  But, if we get it legalized in a state it probably won't be long before the legislature in that state passes something to release marijuana offenders because prisons are too full in every state and they're always trying to figure out ways to empty more beds to make room for new convicts because it's too expensive to keep building prisons like we did for decades before.

You have to look at the first legalization laws as a starting point.  You have to keep in mind that at first things aren't going to be a whole lot different in the marijuana market. Most everyone will still buy their pot from the black market. Hardly anyone is going to want to open up a shop and risk federal prosecution. Big players won't want to get into production or sales because the risks are too high. The feds will likely crack down and at least make some symbolic busts where they put people away for a long time.  The states where pot is legalized will stall and do everything they can to keep from implementing the new laws with respect to the legal marijuana industry, not necessarily possession and small time home growing. And, there will be a lot of people who grow their own and sell some. I think that's a lot better than big criminal organizations supplying so much of the market, but at first at least people are going to have to feel like there are strong safeguards in place to prevent some free for all where pot is so much more available to kids and so on.

The laws have to be very restrictive at first if we want to have any chance of getting one of these things to pass.  The one ounce limit is too low, but it's a heck of a lot better than the current laws that say it's illegal to possess any amount. Like you said, things will be better than they are now even if the new laws are too restrictive. And I am absolutely confidant that as the years go on the perceived need for such restrictive laws will wane and we'll start seeing laws that make more sense come about.  People just have to see that the sky isn't going to fall in when we legalize marijuana, and within a few years they will see that and we'll revisit restrictions on how much people can grow and possess and that sort of thing. 

Organizations like the MPP have the money and expertise necessary to get an initiative on the ballot with the best chance of passing and to promote that initiative.  They've collaborated and come up with an initiative they think has the best chance of success in Colorado and they probably aren't going to change it a lot, or any.  I hope they are successful, not just for people in Colorado, but because it will be a good thing for all of us across the nation. We need for it to be legalized in a state two to get the debate to really heat up and finally get the feds to back down.  What the initial laws look like don't really matter that much because they'll change over the years anyway. We need headlines that say Colorado Legalizes Marijuana! (and or California or any other state) . We need for people to see that legalization is coming and turn the debate from whether it should happen to how we should implement it,

I hated seeing so much opposition to Prop 19 from people who supposedly support legalization.  They were shooting themselves in the foot but they were too stupid or proud or whatever to realize it. You want marijuana to be legalized?  Let these organizations with the money and expertise come in and do it and don't fight them every step of the way because their initiatives don't do as much as you want. It really does not matter so much what the initial laws look like because those laws won't be fully implemented until the feds back off anyway and they're going to change after that anyway. 

Personally, I doubt there is enough support for any legalization initiatives to pass just yet, no matter how they are worded or which states they are submitted in. Conditions aren't quite ripe yet for that. We need the oldest Baby Boomers to get a few years older.  We need more of the old people who came of age before pot became popular to die off and be replaced by more voters likely to have smoked it and more likely to support legalization. In 2016 the oldest Boomer will be 70. A much greater percentage of our 65 and older crowd will be people who have smoked pot, as will a much greater percentage of the members of our law making bodies and especially those heading up the most important committees and calling most of the shots.  Honestly, I will be very surprised if any initiative passes in Colorado or anywhere else, but it would sure be a pleasant surprise and I think it would certainly hasten the end of marijuana prohibition in this country. 

If I had to bet on it I'd say the first state won't legalize till 2016 or later and pot won't be legal at the federal level until some time in the Twenties.  By then we'll have majority support and those who call the shots in this country will be people who came of age in a time when the majority of young people at least tried pot. The older voters in the Twenties will be much more likely to support legalization than our current crop of older voters, and that's important because older voters tend to actually exercise their right to vote, and politicians court them more than any other age demographic. The climate will be a lot different them for legalization advocates. 

I think the only way we'll see marijuana legalized at the federal level before the Twenties is if we get it legalized in a state or two pretty quickly. If that happens in 2012, the feds will probably back down before the decade is over.

"...I'd say the first state won't legalize till 2016..."

Yeah, I just don't see it happening in 2012 in Colorado, not when the polls show a thin ice majority.  I think California will have a better chance than Colorado, but I think how both sides frame and convey their message will determine the results.  Mason Tvert is a very intelligent communicator and relates well with college-age crowd, but he needs someone to help him reach out to their parents.  We aren't going to legalize marijuana with a youth revolution.  People 40 and older make up the majority of voters, you have to be more in your face with these people, and you have to know how to relate to them.

We are generally in agreement

We are generally in agreement as to the nature of a successful legalization initiative, but your gloss on CTI and its position is superficial.  You write "Organizations like the MPP have the ... expertise necessary to get an initiative on the ballot ...  They've collaborated and come up with an initiative ... and they probably aren't going to change it a lot, or any", which is a sort of response to my assertion of our own special expertise; it betrays the same sort of lockstep arrogance we've come to expect from the organizations above (of which you're not a member).  You are satisfied that the collaboration was between the appropriate parties, and that is the measure of the depth of your ignorance of what has been happening in Colorado, and who have been the leaders in the debate.

As to the substance of the initiatives, there are some glaring defects in their conception.  It is reactionary and incompetent to insert mention of cannabis in schools and driving under the influence of cannabis -- this is totally unnecessary language that anticipates possible objections -- and introduces them.  The forensic acumen behind the calculation that attempting to reassure voters that cannabis still won't be legal in schools or on the road somehow outweighs the foolishness of introducing possible attacks our enemies might launch by way of reference; this vaunted work product of a national collaboration of supposed legal experts speaks for itself.  It is hard to believe that they could pass a debate class.

Make that "The forensic

Make that "The forensic acumen behind the calculation that the value of attempting to offer voters who might need it reassurance that cannabis still won't be legal in schools or on the road somehow outweighs the foolishness of introducing possible attacks our enemies might launch by way of reference speaks for itself; this is the vaunted work product of a national collaboration of supposed legal experts."

We just need to get a

We just need to get a legalization initiative to pass.  When we do that we'll soon see it happening in other states and before long the federal government will back down and allow for a regulated market, provided they can add in excises too.  The one ounce limit in this initiative is too low. But, I read the initiative and nothing in it precludes the state legislature from raising or eliminating that limit, and the same applies to the limits on how much an individual can grow.  And the 15% excise is a maximum amount, not a minimum.  This means the state cannot go higher than that, except for general sales taxes, and it doesn't apply to medical marijuana. The feds can come in with their own excise tax, but if they do that they'd have to legalize at the federal level and then we'd have a actual legal marijuana industry where competition will heat up, big corporations will get involved, and the wholesale price of marijuana will drop to a tiny fraction of current prices. 

Unless they go too crazy with taxes, people won't even notice them because pot will probably be cheaper for consumers than it is now, even with super high taxes.  The only reason high grade pot costs thousands a pound is because it is illegal, subject to seizure, and not being grown on large farms like other crops.  If legal, premium grade product could be grown in row after row of greenhouses spanning many acres like large hothouse tomato growing operations.  I'd be surprised if it costs hundreds of dollars a pound to produce then.  I wouldn't be that surprised to see producers get the costs down to below a hundred a pound even on premium grade.  They'll make their money not so much on high markups but instead on volume of sales.  Hopefully they'll do a good bit better than the $200 or $300 an acre profits farmers hope to see with many other crops, but they won't be making hundreds of thousands of dollars or more an acre in profits as is possible now.  Competition will drive prices and per acre profits much lower than what we see now while marijuana is still an illicit product. 

Even "legal" medical marijuana is way way more expensive than it would be with if it was really legal, if it could be grown on a large scale like other crops by big players who are too afraid to get in the business now for fear of arrest by the federal government and loss of their considerable investment in their operations.  When marijuana is really legal it could be so cheap that taxes would have to be several hundred percent of the actual price before the cost to consumers is as high as it is today. If, for example, a $120 quarter ounce of premium pot could be had for $20 in a legal environment, taxes would have to be 500% for consumers to be paying as much for that pot as they are today.   A 15% excise will be nothing, and it can't be raised I guess unless there is a new voter initiative raising it. 

This initiative isn't perfect.  There are a lot of restrictions you don't see with alcohol.  But I don't see a legalization initiative passing unless it's very restrictive because people know that pot is still illegal under federal law and even if legal in Colorado there may very well not be any pot shops until the feds allow for it or any large scale commercial growing, so people will still buy from the black market and things won't be much different until the feds change their laws.  In time when the feds allow for a true legal marijuana industry the need for these restrictions will disappear and we'll probably see the legislature allowing people to grow and possess more, and maybe even get rid of the possession limits altogether because there won't be much point in them when there is a thriving legal market for marijuana and most all pot is going through legal channels.

I sure hope that the Legalize 2012 people don't keep trying to sabotage this initiative.   It looks like it's a good start and it might actually have a chance of passing.  Support for legalization is growing, but there is still strong opposition and at least on the national polls a slim majority is still opposed to legalization.  What's worse is that older voters who tend to be the ones always most likely to make it to the polls are mostly strongly opposed to legalization.  Even if 51% of people surveyed on telephone polls say they are for legalization, odds are the initiative only gets forty some odd percent of the vote because so many of those for legalization just don't make it to the polls, the younger ones mostly. For an initiative to have any chance of passing now it has to be restrictive to quell some of the fears of those opposed and those on the fence. Let's get this one through and then work on things like the one ounce limit later.  We'll be able to tweak and change things, especially when the feds loosen things up in the future.  When we get it legalized in a state or two, the feds will come around. We'll have majority support around the nation within a few years, as more of the old people who came of age before pot became popular die off and are replaced by younger voters, most of which have smoked pot. The same thing is happening to our older law makers as the oldest Baby Boomers are 65 now and them and people younger than them are replacing our most senior lawmakers who really call all the shots in our legislative bodies.  Legalization at the federal level is coming, sooner rather than later if we can get legalized in a few states pretty quickly.

"Now's the time - Legalize!"

"...if we can get it legalized in a few states."

Or, when we get it legalized in a few states!

"Come together!"

"Get-R-Done!"

"Where there's a will there's a way!"

Applauding your work & singing to your success:

http://www.youtube.com/patrickm00re1#p/u/2/0Hp9MfhbNFc

http://mooreson.ipower.com/heavensent.mp3

"We can work it out!"

 

 

 

In Canada

six will get you mandatory 6.With a Harper majority watch as this country goes back to the days of imprisoning more people per capita than even the USA.This government is evangelical and hates drug and drug culture more than murder and rape.They are already altering election law to ensure that they have a huge advantage over all parties and have gerrymandered to where 40 % gets them a huge majority.We are in for some serious trouble and draconian drug policy.

Harpur and his disunited opponents

Harpur keeps winning because the 4 other parties, all opposed to his hardline policies, keep splitting the anti- Harpur vote. They are letting down the anti-Harpur majority by refusing to cooperate to cut him down to size. A very sad situation, Harpur's got a real nasty edge to his personality, an enemies list that includes the majority of the country, and he believes alcohol is either God's drug or no drug at all, science and (real) crime stats be damned.

Harper, whatever

that mean look on his face is all you need to know about him.

The initiative sounds pretty

The initiative sounds pretty good to me based on the description here. There is no way to make everyone happy. I don't get why I, as a normal voter, is supposed to care about the infighting in the various movements. Robert doesn't like Mason because he didn't come to his debate, Tim doesn't like Ethan, everyone hates Tim... who cares??? What does this have to do with reforming marijuana laws? 

 

I do know that in California, for prop 19, a bunch of dispensaries got together to protect their big profits at the expense of the average smoker. This sounds suspiciously like that situation.

 

Put up an initiative better than the current laws, and lets all vote for it.  

We support legalization, but

We support legalization, but not the liars placed in charge of it.  Your gloss is just a parody -- there is some substance behind the squabble.
 

Robert- There is no "WE" when

Robert- There is no "WE" when you speak. Its YOU and your little group of 4-5 people(CTI).

Be honest or leave.

Give It Up

Hey you collective group of assholes you may as well give up your legalization agenda and go to the house! Look MMJ is great, but don't think that we who have made a lifetime commitment to using cannabis don't just see this as a stepping stone to complete legalization. Here is a list of all the countries in the world where marijuana is legal:____. That's right, the next one will be the first one. Same goes for states. Let's stop parsing semantics and get some really intelligent people working for the common cause of stopping the drug prohibition, beginning with marijuana! I am sure the established justice system just laugh and laugh when they see the discord in the so called do gooders put up the legislation and the knee jerk ego bruising that follows. Like I said earlier, an organized agenda is the only way out of this mess. Scott M and his folks need to put together a think tank, and use the old Algebra trick of factoring, to put down our core values, find a susceptible government (local, state, federal, whatever) and hammer away ad infinitum until there is a crack. Because overwhelming force is what wins. Nothing more and nothing less. Hey if nothing else, if you got a bag of seed, next spring go out and throw them in the woods. If marijuana grew everywhere it would be the overwhelming force.

This is good news both for

This is good news both for people who like and use Marijuana and those who would rather not partake and are even against its use. Legalized regulation is a better way of keeping drugs away from kids than having them illegal and is much more profitable than wasting money trying to control an uncontrollable substance.

legalize marijuana

i see why not it at least the least damaging substance on earth if you do research the government is not accurate about the dangerous of smoking marijuana. medical marijuana is a joke most of the people that have them have them so they cant busted from possession. There will always have marijuana in this country legal or illegal we should tax it so we can  stop making people rich from selling it on the black market th the money made from tax ravaune we could afford to have are kids a better educational schools giving them the newest book from their various classes.

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