Colorado Pot Advocates Plan Legalization Push For 2012
As new legislation regulates Colorado’s booming medical marijuana industry, pot advocates in the state are planning another attempt to simply legalize the herb for adults for recreational and medical purposes.
Activists want to place a state constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2012, reports Eric Meltzer at the Bouder Daily Camera.
Cannabis Therapy Institute, based in Boulder, Colo., announced on Friday that it will work on a legalization measure for 2012. At least one other group is also looking at a 2012 ballot measure, according to Greg Stinson, president of the Front Range chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
The medical marijuana regulations recently signed into law by Gov. Bill Ritter are too restrictive, according to CTI, and the best solution is to push for full legalization.
The Institute is forming a fundraising board and a committee to work on the initiative’s language, under the name “Legalize 2012.”
The group is considering language that would legalize the sale, transport and use of cannabis, and allow for taxation and regulation of the industry similar to the regulations around alcohol, according to its website.
Colorado’s last statewide ballot initiative to legalize pot — Amendment 44 in 2006 — lost big, 61 percent to 39 percent.
Two Colorado towns, Nederland and Breckenridge, have since voted to legalize marijuana in largely symbolic ballot measures.
According to a May poll of likely Colorado voters conducted by Rasmussen, 49 percent favor legalizing and taxing marijuana, with 39 percent opposed and 13 percent undecided.
New medical marijuana regulations adopted by the Colorado General Assembly create strict licensing requirements for dispensaries, prohibit wholesale growing operations and regulate doctors who give authorizations for patients to use the herb.
According to Stinson, who is not involved in Legalize 2012, the new medical marijuana regulations actually strengthen the argument for legalization.
Opponents in 2006 argued that legalizing marijuana would help criminals because there was no legal source from which to buy pot. Now that the state has created a regulatory and tax system for cannabis and there is also a legal system of production, those arguments have gone away, Stinson said.
“We’ve got considerably more manpower this time around, and the climate is a lot more favorable,” Stinson said.
About the author: Steve Elliott is editor of Toke of the Town, Village Voice Media’s site covering cannabis news, views, rumor and humor.