Colorado's Amendment 64 Heads for the Home Stretch [FEATURE]

With only a few weeks left until election day, Colorado's Amendment 64 tax and regulate marijuana initiative is well-positioned to win on November 6, and its supporters are doing everything they can to ensure it does. Opponents are gearing up as well, and the weeks leading up to the election are going to be critical.

Amendment 64 would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants in an enclosed locked space. It also allows for the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp. And it would create a state-regulated marijuana cultivation, processing, and distribution system, including retail sales.

If the state fails to regulate marijuana commerce, localities could issue licenses. Localities would also have the right to ban marijuana businesses, either through their elected officials or via citizen-initiated ballot measures.  

If Amendment 64 passes, the legislature would be charged with enacting an excise tax of up to 15% on wholesale sales, with the first $40 million of revenue raised annually directed to the Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund. In keeping with the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), such a tax increase would have to be approved by voters.

Amendment 64 does not change existing medical marijuana laws, but it does exempt medical marijuana from the proposed excise tax. For current patients, passage of Amendment 64 would enhance their privacy because no registration would be required -- just ID proving adulthood.

Amendment 64 does not increase or add penalties for any current pot law violations, nor does it change existing driving while impaired laws (although a bill reintroduced this year once again seeks to impose a per se DUID standard.)

The initiative's provisions appear to be broadly popular. According to the latest poll, released Saturday by SurveyUSA for the Denver Post, Amendment 64 is leading with 51%, with 40% opposed and 8% undecided.

While in line with other recent polls, the SurveyUSA/Denver Post poll marks the first time in recent months that support for the initiative has broken 50% except for an outlier June Rasmussen poll that had support at 61%. The Talking Points Memo's PollTracker Average, which includes this latest poll, currently shows 49.7% for Amendment 64, with 39.3% opposed.

That 10-point lead in the polls has initiative backers pleased, but not complacent.

"There has certainly been a nice positive trend in the past few polls, but we are not letting up in our efforts to build support," said Mason Tvert of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is leading the Amendment 64 effort.

"We've got a good feeling, but at the same time, we're redoubling our efforts to push this over the end line," said Brian Vicente of Sensible Colorado, who is part of the campaign. "We haven't seen a tax and regulate measure pass anywhere yet. It's a heavy lift, but we're confident."

"It's looking good overall, the polling is good, and we're starting to make some hay within the progressive community," said Art Way, the Colorado point man for the Drug Policy Alliance's lobbying and campaign arm, Drug Policy Action Network.

The campaign has sufficient financial backing to go the distance, although it is of course always looking for more. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the main, but not the only funding mechanism, for the campaign, has taken in nearly a million dollars so far, according to the Secretary of State's Office. Related campaign committees have raised another $50,000 or so.

"We've seen a whole lot of support from around the state and the country and to see that continuing toward the election," said Tvert. "It's looking like it will come down to the wire, so late contributions will have a bigger impact than ever before."

With only $87,000 in the bank rank now, the campaign coffers may appear relatively bare, but that's deceiving, said Vicente.

"We've placed about $800,000 worth of ads that will air in October, and we bought that space months in advance because it's cheaper," he explained. "There are ungodly sums of presidential campaign money coming in now."

The only organized opposition so far, Smart Colorado, by contrast has raised only about $162,000, the bulk of it from long-time drug war zealot Mel Sembler of the Drug-Free America Foundation. And it has limited itself to the occasional press release and responses to reporters' queries. Still, it has more money than it had in 2006, when a similar initiative lost with 41% of the vote.

"I've never seen the opposition have so much money," said Tvert. "In 2006, they came up with maybe $50,000. Regardless, the fact is that our opponents will rely on scare tactics and fear-mongering and will partner with law enforcement and the drug treatment industry, who benefit from maintaining the prohibition status quo."

But other opposition is emerging, with a battle for supporters raging on both sides. The opposition has picked up the support of Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), as well as the endorsements of numerous sheriffs, prosecutors, and elected officials.

Still, Amendment 64 has been impressive on this count too, picking up endorsements from the state Democratic, Green, and Libertarian parties, the NAACP, local elected officials, the ACLU of Colorado, as well as the Gary Johnson campaign and the drug reform movement, among others.

"Government officials have been standing in the way of marijuana policy reform for more than 80 years, and the public has come to realize their opposition is not based on evidence so much as politics and the fear of change," Tvert said. "We've seen public support grow significantly in the past 15 years despite the fact that we still largely see elected officials opposed, and now we're seeing things like Gov. Hickenlooper being ripped into by newspaper editorials after he came out against. There was a time when papers like the Denver Post would have paid him kudos for standing up against this, but now, they criticize him for being hypocritical."

One area where the campaign doesn't have to worry too much is the marijuana and medical marijuana community. While there has been some grumbling in the ranks from those in search of the perfect initiative, unlike the "Stoners Against Prop 19" movement in California in 2010 or the internecine warfare in Washington state this year, the friendly fire in Colorado has been fairly muted.

"We occasionally hear people complaining, but the back and forth has been focused almost entirely between us and the no campaign," Tvert said. "By and large, the people who support ending marijuana prohibition in Colorado have come together to support this initiative."

"We're not worried about losing the base," agreed Vicente. "We went to great efforts to involve lots of stakeholders, including lots of dispensary owners and activists, when drafting the language and formulating the campaign plans. People feel bought in win our initiative; it appeals to all Coloradans, but to our base as well."

Another reason Colorado hasn't seen the circular firing squad that is taking place this year in Washington is that Amendment 64 doesn't include some of the controversial provisions included in the Washington initiative, said Vicente.

"There are some key differences with Washington," he pointed out. "We allow adults to home grow and we don't dictate a DUID level. By steering clear of those issues, we help maintain our more traditional base."

If the base appears secure, another key demographic is definitely in play, and it's an uphill struggle for the campaign. The polling throughout suggest that parents with children at home and especially mothers remain a weak spot. The campaign is acutely aware of that and has created another campaign organization, Moms and Dads for Marijuana Regulation, to address it.

"One of the most powerful ways that parents are becoming educated about the benefits of the tax and regulate system is conversation with other parents," said Betty Aldworth of Moms and Dads. "Moms and dads are starting to recognize that taking it out of unregulated market and putting it behind the counter where we can tax and regulate it is a better model. We're encouraging moms and dads to talk to other moms and dads. We've tapped a lot of parents to be spokespeople and will be continuing to educate about why marijuana is safer."

Parents who are open to the conversation can be brought along, Aldsworth said.

"Marijuana is universally available," she said, explaining what she tells concerned parents. "And our options here are to place it behind the counter where a responsible businessperson is checking ID or to leave it in the hand of criminals. When you talk to parents about that specific scenario, which is the reality of marijuana in the world today, they understand that we can do the same thing with marijuana that we did with alcohol, only now we have the advantage of having programs to start rapidly reducing youth access."

"We knew 18 months ago that the soccer moms would be a crucial demographic, and we still have an issue with that area," said Way. "That's why Betty Aldworth is working on that, but we're also making inroads with Women for Medical Marijuana, and the League of Women Voters will be having an event. We're making inroads, but it's not showing up in the polling so far."

"We find that people's fallback position is 'How will it affect my kids?' and we've been trying to engage in a public discussion about how regulating and moving it off the streets is a more effective way to reduce teen use than the failed policy of prohibition," said Vicente. "We've been doing billboards and some TV, as well as the face-to-face," he said.

The Amendment 64 campaign is poised, practiced, and ready to roll to victory in November. It has identified weak spots in its support and is working to bolster them. It's up nine or 10 points a little more than six weeks out, but knowing how previous initiative campaigns have played out, expect that margin to shrink as election day draws near. Victory is within reach, but this is going to be a nailbiter.

CO
United States
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Is A64 an out of State funded plan to use Colorado as a lab rat?

Get the facts: Is A64 an out of State funded plan to use Colorado as a 'lab rat' for their own agenda?

http://www.gazette.com/articles/legalize-144808-marijuana-amendment.html

"Amendment 64, Colorado's ballot initiative to legalize marijuana possession, is billed by one leading advocate as "a grassroots effort here on the ground," but an examination of contributions to the campaign tell a different story." Reports the I News Network

"Records from the Secretary of State's office show that the four registered committees supporting legalization collected more than $1.4 million through Sept. 12, with more than $1.2 million from outside Colorado."

A20, patients, caregivers, growers and center entrepreneurs have made Colorado the king of Medical Marijuana in the USA.

A64 may put the king at risk. After the lobbyist lost ground in Cali, are they now putting A20 at risk just to score a short-lived legal victory?

Colorado is the king of medical marijuana.

Amendment 20 is her queen.

A64 may win, but it may also create more problems than it solves.

Could it force the FEDS to increase the crackdown on patients and centers?
Could it force the SCOTUS to rule both A64 and A20 null and void?
Could it endanger all the rights won in Colorado in the last 12 years?

If one examines recent history, one will see that the FEDS have already drawn a line in the sand (it's 1,000 ft. from a school.)

Indeed, the FEDS own the board on which we play.

Sept 19th, 2012 - Huffington Post Medical Marijuana Crackdown In Colorado: 10 More Dispensaries Near Schools Forced To Shut Down http://huff.to/S4ORGr  

   God save the queen and long live the king.

To Protect A20 and Patients' Cargivers' and Centers' Rights | We will vote NO on A64

 

 

 

The benefits outweigh the negatives

 

 

One of the most positive aspects of A64 is that if it passes and the FEDs crack down, the publicity of those infringements will put a spotlight on how the Obama administration doesn't respect states rights and emphasize the president's hypocrisy and his about face on the issue. That's assuming the worst. Who knows what Obama will do in a second term? 

 

The overreaching of by the government will further sway public opinion against marijuana prohibition, especially in these tight fiscal times. That perception of the infringement of our choices and freedoms will alienate voters. If A64 doesn't pass the prohibitionists will claim victory, which will only prolong the drug war. The passage of these legalization initiatives will only make life more difficult for the president's current position and force him to deal with the growing sentiment that the public won't support his raids on dispensaries.

 

 It's a no-brainer. Vote yes on A64!

prop 64

I think your opposition is entirely based on money and greed.  Shame on you

You have to start somewhere

No one should oppose this initiative.  Change has to start somewhere.  If these initiatives in the three states don't pass, then that will be the end.  We'd never have legalized marijuana in the US, and it'd only be a matter of time until medical marijuana got shut down completely as well.

This is the make-or-break point where this issue will either make a stand, or FOREVER be defeated.  You HAVE to vote YES to make a point, or accept the status quo for another hundred years.

Not True, KC

KC Stark- aka GoGreenCross.

Your business is being the "middleman" between patients and Doctors. Your business would likely close if Amendment 64 passes.

Clearly, you have a vested interest against Amendment 64, and therefore I am not surprised in the least you are spreading disinformation and lies.

Amendment 64 will not effect Amendment 20. If you read the text of Amendment 64, it says that explicitly.




 

Legalizing Recreational benefits Medical!

I don't think the full medical benefits of cannabis will be able to be realized and utilized until the plant is legalized for recreational purposes.  A-64 is a big step in the right direction.  Good for patients; makes getting medicine practical.  Good for stoners.  So what?  Fine!  Great!  And, good for non-users; they get to walk down the sidewalk without encountering so-called "drug crime"; instead, they can walk past, or into, a pleasant hash/coffee shop.  Imagine such civilization!

Yes on 64!

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re. melvin sembler, abuser

isn't it something how the scum rises to the top in this perverse culture of dogma addiction. it says something also that this scum is a prominent supporter of a major presidential candidate. how sad and sick.

Taking on MJ

Taking on MJ competition(Pharma and Alcohol)..AND Hemp competition(Monsanto, ADM ect ect) at the same time!!?? Huge set on these '64' proponents! Wall Street(and that means the Whitehouse) stand to lose bigtime if this passes... if it does pass, be prepaired to see a snowball effect.

Coloradans have learned from California's mistake

Voting no on Prop19 opened the doors for the Federal goon squads. And the dispensaries in California who made common cause with reform's enemies forgot the old adage that if you lay down with dogs, you'll get up with fleas, and these 'fleas' carried the Fed plague into their own midst.

A State that passes a relegalization law is in essence inoculating itself against further Fed attacks. The repercussions of passing such a law will be deep and widespread.  The Feds would have to resort to courts rather than brute force in order to avoid the citizens, in anger at their votes being de facto nullified by Fed intransigence, start calling for a Constitutional Convention.

That's one Pandora's Box best left unopened, but will be the result if the Feds try to ignore the expressed political will of the people of Colorado. Either there is 'federalism' or imperialism, and the States are nothing more than provinces....and those residing in them are not citizens but subjects.You can't be both, State and province, citizen and subject. but the Feds have been acting as if they were. Time to settle this business of whether the States do indeed have specific rights or not.

All the Feds can do at this point is try to scare the already mainly cannabis-supportive populace with more Reefer Madness...which has lost its' luster after having been worn down to a bad joke.

The Feds provided the impetus for re-legalization with their tyrannical actions in MMJ States. May they be hoist by their own petard in making it clear than half-measures like MMJ don't cut it anymore. It's the whole enchilada, or nothing. Re-legalization or bust!

Everybody that doesn't like

Everybody that doesn't like pot suck my cock, and eat a bag of extra dicks as well.

VOTE SMART

November 6 is just around the corner and Colorado is in play. I know that a lot of pro 64 people are considering third party presidential candidates who are marijuana friendly. But, as we all know, none of these candidates truly have a chance to be elected. Colorado citizens must decide whether Romney or Obama will be more likely to favor a change to federal law which would eliminate current conflicts. I know that there has been a great deal of grumbling regarding the Obama administration closing dispensaries. However, if you will look at those closures you will find that in each case the dispensary was operating outside of existing state law. No dispensary following state regulations has been touched. There is every reason to believe that sales made pursuant to a successful prop 64 would go unhindered. Governor Romney, however, represents a party that is opposed to individual liberties that don't line up with certain puritanical beliefs. He also represents corporate interests of the sort that made marijuana illegal in the first place. There is every reason to suspect that he would have his justice department prosecute every dispensary worker, owner, and customer he could lay his hands on. It is clear that we will be better off with Obama serving a second term. To that end I would urge you to give the president your vote. With the margins in Colorado a vote on "principle" for a third party candidate is actually the same as a vote for Romney. Go vote. Get your friends to vote. Make those votes count toward ending prohibition by voting Obama Biden.

VOTE

November 6 is just around the corner and Colorado is in play. I know that a lot of pro 64 people are considering third party presidential candidates who are marijuana friendly. But, as we all know, none of these candidates truly have a chance to be elected. Colorado citizens must decide whether Romney or Obama will be more likely to favor a change to federal law which would eliminate current conflicts. I know that there has been a great deal of grumbling regarding the Obama administration closing dispensaries. However, if you will look at those closures you will find that in each case the dispensary was operating outside of existing state law. No dispensary following state regulations has been touched. There is every reason to believe that sales made pursuant to a successful prop 64 would go unhindered. Governor Romney, however, represents a party that is opposed to individual liberties that don't line up with certain puritanical beliefs. He also represents corporate interests of the sort that made marijuana illegal in the first place. There is every reason to suspect that he would have his justice department prosecute every dispensary worker, owner, andcustomer he could lay his hands on. It is clear that we will be better off with Obama serving a second term. To that end I would urge you to give the president your vote. With the margins in Colorado a vote on "principle" for a third party candidate is actually the same as a vote for Romney. Go vote. Get your friends to vote. Make those votes count toward ending prohibition by voting Obama Biden. 

These politicians get money

These politicians get money from the pharmaceutical and the alcohol industry that is why the try to stop it. Don't set these politicians take away your freedoms for their greed. Mary J.

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