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Recreational Pot Use Question to Be on Colorado Ballot in November

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(Part of) Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol bannerIt’s official. As of Monday, activists to legalize recreational use of marijuana by adults in the state of Colorado had collected enough signatures to put the question on the ballot in November. The state of Washington will have a similar ballot question. In 2010, California’s voters rejected a ballot initiative for the recreational use of marijuana in that state.

The announcement of the Colorado ballot measure comes right on the heels of 23 Colorado medical marijuana dispensaries closing shop by Monday because they were required to by the U.S. Attorney General. As this blog reported on Tuesday, those dispensaries were within 1,000 feet of Colorado schools. Reuters notes in The New York Times, that Colorado is one of 16 states plus Washington, D.C., that have legalized medical marijuana. The federal government trumps states’ laws, however, and classifies pot as an illegal narcotic.

John Ingold reports in The Denver Post that Mason Tvert, one of the Colorado ballot measure’s chief supporters, said in a statement, “Coloradans have a chance to make history this November, and we believe they are ready to do just that.”

Ingold writes:

The initiative — to be called Amendment 64 — did not make the ballot easily.

Proponents came up short of the required 86,105 valid signatures in their first attempt at submitting petitions. Given the chance to collect more signatures, they handed in another 14,000. Nearly 7,000 of those were found valid, putting the initiative over the top.

The measure would legalize possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana for those 21 and older. It also would allow for people to grow up to six marijuana plants in their home. Specially regulated stores would be allowed to sell marijuana, but communities would have the option of banning those businesses.

Art Way, Colorado Manager, Drug Policy Alliance, writes in The Huffington Post that those Coloradans who favor legalization of recreational pot in the “Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol” are heartened by recent polls showing that a slight majority of voters are in favor of the recreational use of marijuana by adults.

Way writes:

Nationally, public support for making marijuana legal has shifted dramatically in the last two decades, especially in the last few years. For the first time, a recent Gallup poll has found that 50 percent of Americans support making marijuana legal, with only 46 percent opposed. Majorities of men, 18 to 29-year-olds, 30 to 49-year-olds, liberals, moderates, Independents, Democrats, and voters in Western, Midwestern and Eastern states now support legalizing marijuana. […]

The amendment is a moderate approach to marijuana legalization, as it places limits on possession and does not allow for public use. It is also important to note that the proposal does not impact current traffic and workplace safety laws. […]

It begs whether we should continue to spend upwards of $80 million as a state to prohibit a substance that can bring in up to $40 million annually — a gross savings of $120 million.

You can see a interview with Mason Tvert here:

Image by Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, used under Fair Use: Reporting.


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