Breaking News:We Just Won an Old Fight

Feature: Colorado Marijuana Legalization Initiative Trails, But the Fight Is On

Last year, SAFER Colorado largely flew under the radar to a surprise win with its Denver marijuana legalization initiative. This time around, SAFER Colorado's Colorado Marijuana-Alcohol Equalization Initiative, now known officially as Amendment 44, is not having it so easy. But initiative organizers say they are within striking distance and preparing for a frantic last few weeks before the November elections.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/rockies.jpg
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Like the Denver initiative, which legalized the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults via a municipal ordinance (and which city officials promptly ignored), Amendment 44 is elegant in its simplicity. Voters will be asked: "Shall there be an amendment to section 18-18-406 (1) of the Colorado revised statutes making legal the possession of one ounce or less of marihuana for any person twenty-one years of age or older?"

If voters approve of the measure, Colorado could become the first state in the nation to vote to legalize the weed. Or, in a perfect world, it would join Nevada, where an initiative to allow the possession and sale of limited amounts of marijuana is on the ballot and very competitive.

But the fight is on. In the last two weeks, Coloradans have witnessed dueling press conferences, a challenge to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, who owns the Wynkoop Brewery, a debate between SAFER Colorado's Mason Tvert and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, a failed challenge to some bad ballot guide language, repeated visits by high-profile, out-of-state anti-drug crusaders, and the emergence of a parents' group in favor of the initiative.

At a news conference in front of the state capitol last week, Guarding Our Children Against Marijuana Prohibition made its public debut. “We need to rethink marijuana prohibition and what it says about the priorities of Colorado and this nation,” said Jessica Peck Corry, cofounder of the organization. “The science shows that marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol and for our children’s sake it is time we treat it that way," said the conservative Republican public policy analyst with the Independence Institute in Golden, Colorado, who is also the mother of a 16-month-old daughter.

"I'm not a marijuana user," Corry told Drug War Chronicle Wednesday. "I see the drug war, however, as a greater threat to my daughter's future than the recreational use of marijuana by adults could ever be. Our government has spent $2 billion in anti-drug ads since 1998. I'd rather have this money spent on college scholarships for needy kids from our poorest communities. It's time to wake up to the fact that prohibition isn't working," she explained. "We say our nation trusts adults to make decisions in their private lives. It's time we live up to this promise."

"We're doing something right," said SAFER Colorado's Mason Tvert in between press events. "We've got two people running this whole campaign, no millions of dollars, no office, no multiple phone lines, and we're in a very competitive fight," he told Drug War Chronicle. "While the Rocky Mountain News had us down 42% to 53%, they only polled people who had voted in previous elections. But we're not too concerned with polling; last year, we were polling lower than this in Denver, and we won."

What SAFER Colorado is concerned with is winning the campaign and using innovative tactics. Thursday, for instance, Tvert issued a challenge to Mayor Hickenlooper on the occasion of the opening of the Great American Beer Fest. Since "marijuana is safer than alcohol" is SAFER's constant -- and so far successful -- refrain, Tvert challenged Hickenlooper and Peter Coors. For every beer they drank, Tvert said, he would take a hit of marijuana. Neither Coors nor the mayor bit, but the challenge garnered even more media attention for Tvert and the initiative.

"This ongoing duel with the mayor is a win-win for us," Tvert exclaimed. "Either he shows up and gets killed or he doesn’t show up and looks bad. We're trying to do something fun and new and interesting that clearly explains our position that marijuana is safer than alcohol. We hope Bill O'Reilly is watching; we'd love for him come after us."

As in Nevada, the opposition is gearing up in Colorado, and it's bringing in outsiders from national anti-drug organizations. Coming to the rescue of Colorado children are such self-appointed crusaders as Dads and Mad Moms Against Drug Dealers head Steven Steiner, who, after his son died of an Oxycontin overdose, took funding from Oxycontin's manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, to campaign against marijuana legalization and even medical marijuana. He hit town on Thursday. Already parachuting in to help stop the initiative is long-time anti-drug zealot Calvina Faye, executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation. Former White House deputy drug czar Dr. Andrea Barthwell has joined the carpetbagging crew, too; she plans to wage the fight with a series of lectures to alert people to the dangers of the devil's weed.

"These folks are crazy," moaned SAFER Colorado's Tvert. "These people who come out here like Calvina Faye talking about 'our' children in 'our' state -- she lives in Florida and she doesn’t even have children! And Andrea Barthwell, with her little marijuana lectures. At her first one, the only person to show up was our infiltrator, and they threw him out. The lectures are designed to convince you that marijuana is bad, but apparently you had to already agree with that to attend," he snorted.

But it's not all outsiders. Leading Colorado elected officials, including Attorney General John Sutherland and Lt. Gov. Jane Nelson are members of a new "grassroots" organization opposing the measure, Stop Amendment 44. That group has so far managed to line up the Colorado PTA, the Colorado Education Association, and the Colorado Association of School Executives against the initiative.

The group is led by Boulder County Republican Party chairman Rob McGuire, whom Tvert qualified as a worthy adversary. "He's very sharp and he uses clever positions," Tvert said. "But he's only doing this because the governor asked him to. Still, the group is a problem. Groups are beginning to come out against us."

McGuire may be a sharp operator -- we wouldn’t know because he would not return repeated calls for comment -- but the Stop Amendment 44 web site has things as crazy as anything Calvina Fay or Steven Steiner ever said. One page warns that "Marijuana Gumballs can pack enough THC to kill a small child!," a patently absurd proposition. Another page on the site, "He Was Only 12 Years Old -- Now Disabled By Marijuana" is written by Colorado anti-marijuana crusader Beverly Kinard and pretty much speaks for itself.

It looks like October is going to be a very interesting month in Colorado. Can SAFER Colorado pull another upset like it did in Denver last year? The element of surprise is gone, but the group and its allies hope their message and their media assault can combine to compensate for that and make Colorado the first state where voters have chosen to legalize marijuana.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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alcohol vs. marijuana

Since alcohol is much more dangerous than marijuana, it's nothing more than alcohol supremacist bigotry to call marijuana users 'criminals'. How about giving up some of that liberty and justice for all?

alcohol vs. marijuana

I agree, it's time to just legalize marijuana and let adults (21+) make our own decisions. I've driven both ways, high I just drive slower.... drunk I drive all over the place! No one has ever (statistically proven, too) Overdosed on marijuana. AND to say marijuana is a gateway drug to other harder drugs is pure NONSENSE! I've never had the desire to try harder drugs or will! Marijuana is GOD MADE... Alcohol is MAN MADE... NOW WHO DO YOU TRUST?! Lets get it legal in ALL 50 states. AMSTERDAM did it and look at how well the people there handle it! There aren't any pot smokers who start bar room brawls either! Time to grow up and give us our legal rights!

Marijuana Prohibition is the

Marijuana Prohibition is the gateway to harder drugs. Every day marijuana is sold by drug dealers on the street is a day where a marijuana user is turned on to meth, coke or heroin. Nobody expects a person buying a six pack of beer to become a meth addict.

Gateway Theory

In order to claim that marijuana is a gateway drug, you must clarify if you intend to mean that claim in a pharmacological sense or in a social sense. Pharmacologically, it is wrong to think that one drug will induce cravings or desires to try another drug. A drug can and only produces effects relating to itself. Alcohol for instance does not induce cravings for a cigarrette nor does marijuana induce cravings for meth. I mean this in a purely chemical sense. Socially however, alcohol and cigarrettes might go together, let's say at a bar. Marijuana because of its illegal status might be used in the company of other drugs. This however is purely a condition of its illegal status and the company that is kept while using the drug.

There are quite a number of anecdotal stories of marijuana users trying other drugs but what does this really even mean? Coke users have surely tried marijuana before but does this make marijuana a gateway to coke? Let's push this argument further. Marijuana users have most likely tried alcohol or cigarrettes before using marijuana. Before using alcohol or cigarrettes, users most likely drank soda. Before drinking soda, it was milk, etc, etc. This line of argumentation can go on forever because of its flaw: one cannot determine a cause solely from an outcome. When looked at in an opposing way, most marijuana users have not tried harder drugs. The amount of people that try harder drugs is much smaller than the number of people who have tried marijuana. I hope that at some point this whole mess of a "gateway" theory gets dismissed - either through an intorduction to logic course or an introduction to pharmacology course (key word: introduction).

legilize it.

I think that we should legilize it to anyone over 13 so that is an age where we start to make our own decissions.

But then again if you look older you may be mistaken.

Im doing a cba about legilizing marijuana and its turning out to be harder then i planed it to be???

if you could help or give me some good websites that would be great.

[email protected]

<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3

Hypocricy R' U.S.

It sure is amazing how a state that is so proud of being home to Coors beer has so many people determined to keep arresting people for using a much less harmful substance.

Kudos to Mason Tvert and his team who try and wake people up to a SAFER world!

My Counter...

When people say that legalization (or medical use) of marijuana is supported by people who "just want to get high," I say that one of the medical uses is relieving stress. You say "get high," I say "relieve stress." Same thing.

Colorado has a Golden opportunity

Colorado has a great opportunity to lead the rest of the US, in changing the face of prohibition forever.
Alcohol kills hundreds if not thousands of kids per year yet no one is proposing alcohol be prohibited.
Don't let the socialist in Colorado scare you out of downsizing gov through abolishing part of the failed Drug War or prohibition on marijuana.
Kids are getting marijuana as it is now on their street corners.
We need to at least control it, take out the profit for thugs, and get it off the streets where kids as young as 10 can get it now.
Be responsible and make a change.

Go Colorado GO!

I'm someone who minds my own business, works hard, feeds a family and respects the laws. That is up to one law. Prohibition against marijuana. I no longer smoke marijuna but I miss it and its positive effects on my mental well being. I was busted when I was 17 for dealing marijuana and it really f*cked my life up. The costs and the negative life-long results of being prosecuted injured my life to this day. I paid my dues and still stuggle in my community to get by without evil looks and constant cops watching me. I do nothing wrong, I am a great citizen and the little marijuana I sold has hampered my life tramendously. Good luck finding a job for years after you get busted. It took since 1999 til now to finally find a good company that can understand that people make mistakes. I'm proud of what I have accomplished since my turn around, I even have a degree in law enforcement. I learned that busting kids for minor marijuana incidents really messes up their lives for many many years later. It's not the drug marijuana that is wrecking peoples lives. It's the prohibition act that needs another look. Listen, we all know why the gov wont change its way's- money. They love the money they make off rehab facilities, jail costs (huber), citations, and the whole system of judicial torment one has to face once arrested. Let's all work together and make this a safer, life worth living, society. Legalize marijuana!!! Hopefully wisconsin will wake up too. Thanks for listening. Good luck and best wishes to a better life for all. Peace!

why the gov spelling of "marihuana" on the ballot?

I noticed that the old government spelling, "marihuana" is on the ballot. Why the reversion to retro spelling? Kind of strange. Any ideas?

Smart People

These are some of the most read and well educated people I've read about on the noble cause to legalize marijuana.I give props to all you who help this cause.

Legalize it

Unfortunately for some, legalization is going to take much of the fun out of smoking marijuana. As in the Netherlands, there is a lower use of it. If not for tourists in Amsterdam, their would be a very small demand it seems. The hype of marijuana's effects are bolstered and sensationalized on both sides. The best pot isn't all that much more potent to mind alteration that a good morning stretch. I for one will be voting YES!!!!

The Great Conflict! Legalization and the Right To Fire law

I believe Marijuana needs to be legalized across the nation.

Focus on harmful drugs! Crystal Meth, Crack Cocaine, and illegal usage of prescription medications.

Positives to consider: State tax on marijuana sales. Increased revenue for the state itself that could fund social betterment programs. I have a Down's Syndrome daughter that cannot get any financial assistance because Colorado is in last place out of 50 states in assisting it's Down's Syndrome children. There is no money! Yet... this state can find Biillions of dollars to support the national war machine. Billions! I know this because I am a retired USAF Master Sergeant and I participated in Colorado military contributions to our war efforts.

Increased jobs! Minus those they created under Reagan's "Just Say NO" campaign... Drug testing centers will get kicked out the window to the curb when local employers have to face the music for firing their employees under Colorado's "Right to Fire" laws. As it is high tech employers prefer to hire outside of Colorado and transfer their newly hired personnel to Colorado. This is a great way of lashing back at high tech companies/employers who simply refuse to hire the vastly overlooked Colorado workers.

Military personnel will face urine testing for marijuana usage. Even after it is legalized! Those with national security clearances will risk loss of such access upon discovery of marijuana usage. This is going to be a long drawn out fight. The trench is deep, and the resistance to change is very much present on this matter. As a registered Colorado Republican voter I am voting for legalization of marijuana because it is an item that requires no government intervention on my behalf.

I Couldent Possibly Agree More

Im a college student in the state of Florida, which has some of the most strict marijuana laws. I have clearly seen from personal experience and the observation of others that marijuana is by far more safe than alcohol. I strongly support the legalization of marijuana throughout the country. Somthing many people may not realize is that legalizing marijuana will actualy make it harder for kids and teenagers to obtain. As of now it is much easier for any highschool student in an urban or suburban city to get marijuana than it is to get alcohol. Do you know why? It's because people who sell marijuana dont care how old the person they are selling it to is, where as liquor stores do because they dont want to loose their liquor license. If marijuana is legalized and treated like alcohol it would better the country in more ways than most people could possibly imagine. SAFER deffinatly has the right idea and I have alot of respect for them for putting the time effort and energy into this. The main reason that marijuana is still illegal is because not enough everyday normal citizens have stood up and questioned the government on its rediculous policy. This country needs to stop punishing good, hard working, law abiding citizens that might enjoy the occasional joint. They government needs to admit to the mistakes that it has made, and stop ruining peoples lives for somthing so simple. I can only hope that the citizens of Colorodo will pass ammendment 44 and that this will spring up discussion and help the rest of the country into moving into the right direction. It's time people started asking questions and thinking instead of letting the government think for them. It's time for change, it's time to make America a better place to live.

Legalize It!!!!

It's time to legilize pot, no question about it. All of the research shows that it is not as harmful as once thought. Please see this link http://www.webmd.com/content/article/23/1728_57309, and this link from Washington Post - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/AR200605..., the all tell the truth that goverment does not want you to know, to protect the pharmasutical companies lobby! This is the greatest cover up in US history re: effects of pot on humans. UCLA 30 yr study showed that THC-the main ingridient in Marijuana actually stops and destroys the cancer cells before have a chance to become actual cancer, a brand new study last week also confirmed that use of Marijuana can stop Alszimer's desease in it's tracks. How much more info do we need to stop this government from our freedoms, especialy something that god gave us, and grows on Earth! Instead our government wants us to get hooked on Prozack's and many other various drugs that they get to make money on. Wake up America and legalize it.

wow.

I'm 17, and am a regular smoker of marijuana. I really truly believe that part of the reason of me doing it, is because of its prohibition. As said in one of the above comments, alcohol is harder to get because of the dealer losing his liscense. Smoking cigarettes, and drinking alcohol are far more dangerous to your body and mind than smoking the occasional bowl. Smoking up by no means makes any smarter than you are, but it does allow you time to sit down and really look at whats going on in your life, and stay optimistic about the things that are going wrong; whereas alcohol just blurs it out. I have a simple little pun that everyone should think about: have you ever seen two people stoned get in to a fight or make stupid rash decisions such as get drunk into a car? _Thanks for the time, Me.

Godliness

God is perfect; man is not. Man made whisky, but GOD made pot!

your crazy to vote no

Marijuana I believe heals. If pot were legal it would be far more easier to stop all the tweekers because if pot was legal the pot heads would help stop tweek.
Through out my life my ideas and morels have never gone sour smokin pot now beer it has, anything else it always does.
I am a relgiuos man and in the bible it says all herbs and plants are for are you but it does say stay a way from thistles and thorns, So there you go. There are so many goods that come from pot no hangover,good supply for oil if legal, better than a sunflower seed plant for biodeisil, also it makes good paper and last, good clothes. I love pot it is what has kept me a true not a fake person in life. I truley believe it has made me keep good values on life and the people in it.

WOOOO WE CAN DO IT!

Wow I havent read a dont legalise it articale on hear yet. The people of coloradoe need to get with it. You know all these people here smoke pot already and its prohibition just screws there lives. Even if you dont smoke pot, you know its not that bad, you just know it, and you probaly drink alchola, do the right thing, give the rest of us a break, vote yes. I know we can make this country a better place to live. Lets do it, GET OUT THERE AND VOTE. VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!!! YESSS!!!!!
CAN I HEAR AN AMEN?!!

Gateway Theory

In order to claim that marijuana is a gateway drug, you must clarify if you intend to mean that claim in a pharmacological sense or in a social sense. Pharmacologically, it is wrong to think that one drug will induce cravings or desires to try another drug. A drug can and only produces effects relating to itself. Alcohol for instance does not induce cravings for a cigarrette nor does marijuana induce cravings for meth. I mean this in a purely chemical sense. Socially however, alcohol and cigarrettes might go together, let's say at a bar. Marijuana because of its illegal status might be used in the company of other drugs. This however is purely a condition of its illegal status and the company that is kept while using the drug.

There are quite a number of anecdotal stories of marijuana users trying other drugs but what does this really even mean? Coke users have surely tried marijuana before but does this make marijuana a gateway to coke? Let's push this argument further. Marijuana users have most likely tried alcohol or cigarrettes before using marijuana. Before using alcohol or cigarrettes, users most likely drank soda. Before drinking soda, it was milk, etc, etc. This line of argumentation can go on forever because of its flaw: one cannot determine a cause solely from an outcome. When looked at in an opposing way, most marijuana users have not tried harder drugs. The amount of people that try harder drugs is much smaller than the number of people who have tried marijuana. I hope that at some point this whole mess of a "gateway" theory gets dismissed - either through an intorduction to logic course or an introduction to pharmacology course (key word: introduction).

try it you might like it

I am from the Island of Trinidad and Tobago. Marijuana is illegal here as in most parts of the world, personally I don't know why. I have gone to bars and watched people drink and get rowdy not all but it does happen, and I have also sat on the corner with some friends and smoked a joint and never once during the course of us sitting there smoking has there been a fight or even an argument for that matter I'm not saying that people don't argue when their high but I must say there is a lower instance of it. This coming from my experience though. Getting high for me allows me to just relax. Many have tried to pick an argument with me when I was high and not once has prevailed in doing so, most of the times I would just say what I wanted to say in a slow and mostly low tone, (who shouts when their high any way), or I would say nothing at all.

Anyway to all those out there who are apposed to marijuana all I have to say is try it.Then go get drunk not at the same time though, cause if you have a low tolerance your likely to get sick, but try it and then tell me which you prefer. tell me how you felt after getting drunk and then tell me how you felt after smoking some nice hard(as potent) weed.

Just like any mind altering substance there are negative effects to the smoking of weed but just like with anything in life too much can have negative effects. Too much video games can cause someone to become antisocial and some say develop psychopathic tendencies but again that's just opinion, and in most causes life circumstances is the cause of the problem rather than the video game itself or the smoking of weed.

legilization

I think weed should be legal all over the Us. Cause every one smokes weed. It makes life better.

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