Feature: Colorado Looks At Legalizing Marijuana in 2012

Angered by a pair of bills aiming at regulating the state's burgeoning medical marijuana industry just signed into law by Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D), one group of medical marijuana advocates has announced plans to get a marijuana legalization initiative on the ballot in 2012. But there is already another legalization initiative filed with state officials and ready to go.

Colorado Marijuana Boot Camp for activists, organized by SAFER
The competing efforts suggest a certain fractiousness in the state's increasingly crowded and complex medical and recreational marijuana communities, but they also illustrate the growing momentum toward legalization on the ground in Colorado. Just last month, a Rasmussen poll showed marijuana legalization hovering on the cusp of majority support, with 49% of likely voters approving, 38% opposed, and 13% undecided. A 2006 legalization initiative got only 39% of the vote.

The initiative effort in the news this week is called Legalize 2012, and is being led by the Boulder-based education and advocacy group Cannabis Therapy Institute (CTI), which is deeply unhappy with the new regulations provoked by a massive boom in dispensaries in the past year or so. "The problem we have in Colorado is that the medical marijuana amendment didn't set up a distribution system, and now, 10 years later, that flawed language is coming back to haunt us," said institute spokesperson Laura Kriho. "The only way to cure the problems patients are now having is across the board legalization for all adults. It will simplify things for law enforcement, patients, and people who aren't patients."

Kriho had a litany of complaints about the recently approved medical marijuana regulation legislation. "Anybody convicted of a marijuana felony in the past is not going to be able to be a dispensary owner anymore. Dispensaries are not allowed to compensate doctors or patients. The local bans on dispensaries that will be found unconstitutional, but who knows when. So many hoops for dispensaries to jump through, and they can still deny a license," she recited. "The stated intent was to put a big chunk of the dispensaries out of business, and I think it will," she predicted.

"On the patient side, they're requiring three different follow-up visits to the doctor, plus registration fees," Kriho said. "For most of the patients I know, coming up with $90 for a license and $100 for a doctor's exam was the limit to what they could afford. If you push it up higher, people won't be able to afford it. "

The initiative effort is just getting under way, said Kriho. "We're just in the process of getting it going, we're forming the language committee," she said. "It's important to us to make sure the language is acceptable to all the people in Colorado. With a year and a half to write this, we should be able to get a good consensus. We have a unique opportunity now -- people have tasted that freedom and had it yanked away by the government."

"They were upset with the regulation bills and have some major issues with them," said Brian Vicente of Sensible Colorado, which lobbied for some of the provisions in the measures. "But we are committed to working with them. We do have patient access issues here in Colorado -- for example, patients with severe depression or PTSD can't currently access it under state law. If we just legalize it for all adults, those individuals would have access."

"We might have some philosophical differences with groups like Sensible Colorado," said Kriho, "but we have to remember the end goal: keeping people out of jail."

"We need to agree on what we're going to agree on and work together on these issues," said Vicente. "CTI, Sensible Colorado, and SAFER have enough common ground that I'm optimistic we can work together."

"I think we can build an effective coalition," said Jessica Corrie, an attorney, Republican, mother, and nationally known legalization advocate. "We have everybody from evangelical Christians to hard-core labor activists. There are some concerns about the radical fringe of this movement, but we can't ignore them and shouldn't ignore them. I've seen many people with passionate radical views come into the fold. In the eyes of most voters, this was all about tie-dyed hippies, but now it's people like me. The effort should be to bring people together to the extent it's possible."

"I support any effort to change marijuana laws so adults are able to make the safer choice, but this effort seems short-sighted and unlikely to garner the support of the voters," said an uncharacteristically tight-lipped Mason Tvert, whose SAFER (Safer Alternatives For Enjoyable Recreation) ran the successful 2005 Denver legalization initiative and the 2006 statewide legalization initiative that won 39% of the vote.

Tvert and SAFER already have a legalization initiative drafted and filed with the secretary of state's office. Known as Initiative 47, the measure would legalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, three seedlings, and three mature pot plants by people 21 or older. It also calls for licensed marijuana cultivation and sales outlets, and it calls for a maximum tax of $50 an ounce.

"CTI decided to announce this because they think there should be no tax on marijuana," said Tvert. "The initiative we filed has a tax of $50 an ounce at most and allows licensed production and distribution, no penalties for adult use or possession, and people can grow up to six plants. That seems to me like a proposal that will be met with support by most Coloradans."

Tvert is willing to put that to the test at the ballot box. "We have every intention of running a ballot measure," he said. "The language is approved, the title is set, but we're holding off until 2012. We shouldn't have any problem getting through that process again."

If there is one thing everyone seems to agree on, it is that victory is within grasp. "We're looking for freedom for the whole plant, untaxed and unregulated as much as possible," said Kriho. "Legalize 2012 comes from that. We have to take this next step, and we have to get ready now. Legalization is polling 49% now and will be over 50% by 2012."

"I think the prospects are very good," said Corrie. "If you look at the 2006 initiative, legalization outperformed the Republican gubernatorial candidate, and we saw a dramatic shift in terms of voter demographics in 2008. Now it's polling at 49%, eight points more than any statewide candidate for office, and when you ask voters if marijuana should be regulated like alcohol and taxed, there is a jump of five or six points, which is a reflection of dire budgetary circumstances. That's where the Republicans we see on board are coming from. They think marijuana is bad, but they're tired of paying outrageous tax bills, and given some persuading that marijuana is safer than alcohol, I think they are reachable."

Married women with children have historically been one of the toughest demographics for marijuana law reform, but having activists like Corrie on board may be able to swing some of the worried mom vote. "Younger mothers worry that if we legalize marijuana, it's an endorsement of marijuana use," said Corrie. "My response is to ask whether prohibition stopped us from using marijuana. We mothers are the most powerful tool for preventing our children from engaging in dangerous behaviors, and so many women across the ideological spectrum have handed government bureaucrats the responsibility for taking care of our children," she explained.

"In speaking to older Republican women, many of them were actively involved in DARE in an effort to be the best parents they could be. They want to feel like there was some good in that, and I tell them they did the best they could with the information available at the time, but now it's time to work together with the best information to protect our kids," Corrie said. "This isn't a conversation you have in 10 minutes. This is a process of getting people to rethink ideas and concepts and political views, and that can be difficult, especially when people are forced to admit the government wasn't correct."

"I think Colorado is ready right now," Vicente laughed when asked if an initiative could pass in 2012. "But 2012 is when we'll actually have the resources."

Still, Kriho and CTI aren't putting all their eggs in one basket. "We are working with Roger Christie and his THC Ministry to bring on a cannabis religious revival," she said. "The Colorado constitution specifically protects method of worship, and we're confident the THC Ministry qualifies as a legitimate church. We may be forming branch ministries, like the church sanctuary movement. It's about protecting patients. Sincere religious practitioners should form a church to get protection," she said.

But if Colorado's marijuana community can keep from flying apart, in a couple of years, patients and recreational pot smokers alike might have made the entire state a sanctuary, through the ballot box.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Legalization = Endorsement ?

"Younger mothers worry that if we legalize marijuana, it's an endorsement of marijuana use"

We've all heard this fallacy many times before. By this logic, the government "endorses" pornography, junk food, and tongue-piercing.

Support the California November ballot initiative to control and tax cannabis. Visit http://weed2010.org

Legalize it, tax it, and let

Legalize it, tax it, and let all of us go on with your lives. Many people smoke a joint at social events or at home with no bad effects. The same goes for alcohol. Not everyone will be a jukie and neither is every going to be an alcoholic. Getting arrested is far mor damanging to ones live than smoking a joint.

Its time politicians start

Its time politicians start "Getting Real on Drugs" instead of "Getting Hard on Drugs". If parents are worried about their children using drugs then thats where interdiction should be focused not on other adults. And its time to tell young people the TRUTH! When young people are told that Cannabis is as detrimental to health as heroin, meth, and cocain, they may erroneously think that these other "hard" drugs are as benign as Cannabis after seeing no negative effects after experimentation. Its time to admit to that while overindulgence of cannabis may have negative effects ones health and professional life, it is a far cry from real physical dependance or overdose in any form. Also moving cannabis out of the black market( where these other hard drugs are sold) to a licensed monitored retailer will also have the effect of less people being exposed to hard drugs to begin with there by decreasing overall drug use in America.

Possession limits

Known as Initiative 47, the measure would legalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, three seedlings, and three mature pot plants by people 21 or older.

While I usually agree with SAFER, I have to say that this is a major flaw. If we're approaching this issue rationally, why should we put limits on possession? Why should it be a crime to own more than an ounce of marijuana?

We have two legal recreational drugs in this country, alcohol and tobacco. No one tells me that I can't own more than a case of beer or a carton of smokes. Marijuana is a recreational drug that's comparable to alcohol in some ways, but far safer and non-toxic. Why would we want to see it restricted more than alcohol? Why should anyone be a criminal because he happens to be a connoisseur and enjoys having a variety of strains on hand?

Three plants grown outdoors might produce three pounds of marijuana. Indoors, they'd produce at least three ounces and could easily produce 12 ounces. Growers would become instant criminals.

The Bill

Note: You can't possess more than 1 ounce on your *person* at any time. You CAN have however much you want at your house, just you can't walk around with more than an ounce.


This is just to keep the NO people happy though man, if this law passes no cop is going to go through your backpack and weigh your weed lol.

About parents being against legalization

Parents don't really have that much of a choice of whether their kids end up using drugs or not. What they do have a choice over is how to deal with it if it happens. Do they want to deal with it as a family, or do they want the police to deal with it?

Brewed In The Rockies

I grew up in Colorado and have used forms of cannabis when it was a Felony here (thank God for the Juvanile Code). I was careful and never got caught. It cured my regular migrane headches with no side effects. Now the fashion in drugs have changed back towards cannabis and after over 30 years of abstintion ,I'd like to use it again without being Fucked with by the Law. Good luck in getting this amendment passed, for the DEA is going to fund a campain against it.

Negotiate a hostage release for Hemp.. "The People" vs D.E.A.

Hemp seed is the great source of protein on Earth. At a volume level of 81%, hemp oil is the richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (the "good" fats). It's quite high in some essential amino acids, including gamma linoleic acid (GLA), a very rare nutrient also found in mother's milk.... can we agree that breast milk is natures best nutrition for infants?

Does Hemp still show no medical value?
We would like to negotiate a hostage release of Hemp.
The League of Nations ceased to exist on 20 April 1946... This is the day we must go back too.

This is the day we lost 420 (cannabis culture).......

D.E.A. = Crimes Against Humanity.

The Cannabis Holding Company who brings this issue to the World Court, will be a good company to invest into.... In My Opinion

Cannabis Revitalization Lawsuit Against the DEA and the United States Government, for Prejudice and Violations of Humans Rights....... As described in the Geneva Convention.

License's for hemp cultivation are issued in the European Union, Canada, in all states of Australia, and nine states in the United States..


No limits! Tax Content!

The one oz limit is unnecessary. That isn't the issue that will be debated or make or break passage. The will be about legalization, period. The limit is going to cause problems of the kind we're trying to end. There is no reason for a limit. Same with plants. A recipe for technical stupid incidents with aggressive cops and hassles
and expense in court.

The $50 per oz tax is REALLY stupid. It is way too high and will cause massive noncompliance. It will hinder efforts to end the black market. Tax the THC, not leaves, stems and flowers. Tax the content, not the gross weight. As a grower I would concentrate all my production into hash to reduce my taxes. I can't believe anybody in a position to make policy thinks that method of taxation makes sense or good policy. License producers, then measure, test, label and excise tax product ready for wholesale distribution. Tax at rates that equate with alcohol tax rates. For cannabis that would come out to be a dollar or two per oz. Allow home growing with no permit or tax of 10 lbs of finished dried flower per residence per year. This stuff has all been worked out for alcohol and tobacco already. It works, state regulators do it now and understand it. It's easy to adapt to cannabis. Voters will understand an information campaign that explains that copying alcohol and tobacco makes the most sense especially to end the black market.

An Ounce on your person?

Unless you are planning to go on a very long trip and can't get back to your house for several weeks on end, there is absolutely no reason to carry an ounce on your person other than to go from dispensary to home.

If you are simply out on the town, an ounce is far too much to carry.  Well, unless you are prone to smoking horrible quality pot.

With a simple manually operated grinder, I can put 1/8 ounce in a pill bottle and be set for a week.  Better yet, with the little one hitters that look like a cigarette, they come with a case that will hold plenty to get me thru a weekend.

I'm all for legalization but how many times do you walk downtown with a keg on your shoulders? An ounce is simply too much to carry around. 

One-hitter economics

TheDocIsIn deserves thanks for discussing the ONE-HITTER strategy.  Some additional facts/points:

a.  Even if it don't look like a $igarette, it looks like an e-cigarette.  So persuade all your friends who are still buying the hot burning overdose torchdeath format to switch to e-cig (some starter kits cost less than 5 packs of Coffin Nail),  Bone up on the technology and teach e-cig conversion seminars. Remember $igarette money buys lobbyists, and bribes candidates and government officials to enforce high cannabis prices through drug war terror against cannabis providers and buyers.  Price differential (tobacco under $20/ounce (i.e. two packs of 700-mg $igs) vs cannabis over $200/oz) diverts some kids who would like to try cannabis into nicotine addiction entrapment instead.

b.  Have a little screen in the crater (bowl) of your one-hitter so you can use sifted herb (with an even particle size; vapes better) without drawing material down into the channel.  You should get at least 100 single tokes (25 mg each) from a sifted quarter.  Your herb will last longer, you'll save money, get high THC value.

c.  Carry with you (maybe in a separate pouch or portfolio) a 20-inch pvc flexible tube (or hookah hose) to slip over the exit end of your one-hitter. This makes it possible to hold the crater out where your eyes have a good comfortable view of the subtle "lighting" process of vaping with a one-hitter (suck slow, don't glow; keep top of flame at least an inch below the opening, or use a heat gun, so that air entering the crater to contact the herb particles is 385F/197C). It also gives the vapors extra distance to travel, cooling down, before reaching your trachea. 

d.  Wire a strong 2-inch safety pin (Screen Maintenance Utensil) onto your tokepiece, to scratchclean the screen windows before each serving.

One-hitter economics

...All the “narcotics” seizures CBP/OAM attributes to drone surveillance consist of bundles of Mexican-grown marijuana. That’s understandable since marijuana constitutes almost 100 percent of the drug seizures between the ports of entry along the southwestern border – more than 99 percent along the Arizona border."


An R. J. Reynolds website bragged that $igarette taxes to all levels of US govt. amount to over $30BIL. yearly... well that will buy a lot of $20-mil. drones. 


In the very first comment @undeded nailed it: $2500/lb.-- but guess what, the cost-benefit favors Big 2WackGo-- AND the government(s) for which it "procures" tax revenue (by luring/scaring kids into nicotine ad(d)iction through peer pressure, hatefearteasing oops sorry advertising and so forth). 


@Rick W said:  "Main reason for the creation of DHS is to ensure that drugs such as marijuana remain illegal."  Future profits in the hot burning overdose $igarette industry depend on keeping "drugs" or "narcotics"-- i.e. cannabis-- through illegality and  seizures, scarce and expensive to import, so that a horrendous price differential advantage for tobacco can be maintained.  Example: 



In New York City a "pack" of 20 $igarettes @700 mg each costs about $10, thus two packs (about one ounce net weight of tobacco) is $20; meanwhile for an ounce of cannabis-bud you pay $200; get what I mean? 


Kids who have to do some heroic controversial smoking to get accepted into the gang will take a pass on the $200/oz, settle for the $20/oz.... ZAP! hooked for life!  $100,000 spent on $igarettes in the next 3-4 decades, etc.


Now before dumping Disappointing Barry, consider the alternative:


*  Jan Brewer and Rick Perry and other Republicans love this $$ Predator crap

*  Republican voters are 20 points more negative on cannabis legalization than Democrats


*  Big 2WackGo gives twice as much campaign money to Republicans as to Democrats


*  "Low-tar" addict Johnnie Boehner, two gunshots from the White House, hasn't quit, though Obama did; Has Bruce Gates (Philip Morris) and John H. Fish (R. J. Reynolds) on his Advisory Council-- how many millions in 15%-taxed share dividends do those two star lawbuyists make per year for their services to the corporation?  And what do you think they tell Johnnie to do about cannabis legalization?


@Texxtyn said, "It is nothing but a modern day slave trade."  The $igarette corporations "own" the addicts and the daily stream of money from $igarette purchases.  In the 1850's there were Fugitive Slave Laws to punish anyone who tried to liberate ("steal") a slave, i.e. some owner's PROPERTY.  Today legalizing cannabis amounts to liberating millions of timid "law-abiding" nicotine slaves.  A young African American male making $20,000 a year and spending $2000 a year on $igarettes is a 10% slave and there are millions with higher percentages than that. 


Cannabis can


(A) replace ad-dictive tobacco as herb of choice, or


(B) help popularize replacing the 500-mg "joint" or nicotinous "blunt" with a 25-mg serving size vapetoke utensil, and if that spills over onto the tobacco-using population, DESTROYING THEIR PROFIT MARGIN (and political power) NO MATTER WHAT HERB ('DRUG", "NARCOTIC") SOMEONE USES. 


Republicans to the rescue?  Hold nose, vote Barry.

Marijuana vs. Alcohol

I do strongly believe in legalizing pot. Has anyone ever herd of someone dieing because of the use of marijuana? no.... 273 people A DAY die from drinking alcohol. And why arent we in a prohibition of alcohol? because of the money. i say we make drinking illegal and make marijuana legal for recreational use. 

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