Cannabis News The November Coalition
  Marijuana Proponent Stumps 44
Posted by CN Staff on October 01, 2006 at 09:24:33 PT
By Joe Hanel, Herald Denver Bureau  
Source: Durango Herald 

cannabis Denver -- Mason Tvert is standing in front of City Hall with a whole lot of beer.

The leader of the marijuana-legalization initiative says he's ready to go "hit-for-chug" against two of the state's most prominent people to prove that marijuana is safer than alcohol. His targets are Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper - a Democrat who founded the Wynkoop Brewery - and Pete Coors, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate and serves on the board of his family's brewery.

Tvert has three 20-packs each of Coors and Coors Light and two jugs of Wynkoop microbrews.

"Oh, by the way," Tvert says. "These wine coolers are here in case Attorney General (John) Suthers decided to show up."

No one took up the challenge.

Such in-your-face personal challenges have been the hallmark of Tvert's campaign for Amendment 44, which would make it legal for people age 21 and older to possess an ounce or less of marijuana - enough for about 30 marijuana cigarettes. Currently, it's a petty offense that carries a $100 fine.

Throughout the campaign, Tvert has tried to force his opponents to compare marijuana to alcohol. He took the same tactic in a heated debate against Suthers on Tuesday. Suthers is running for re-election against Democrat Fern O'Brien.

Pot vs. Booze

Suthers rejected Tvert's argument that marijuana is safer.

"That assertion is incorrect and irresponsible," Suthers said. "Marijuana is not a harmless and benign drug.

"The only safe alternative to intoxication or mind-altering drugs or alcohol is sobriety," he said.

Unrealistic, Tvert said.

"That's like suggesting that we ban condoms because we don't want young people to have sex," Tvert said.

Opponents say that legalizing marijuana for adults would send the wrong message to children.

Also, Suthers said, a glitch in the amendment would remove the penalty for adults who give marijuana to a minor. Tvert says those adults could still be prosecuted for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Suthers said that marijuana and alcohol are both dangerous, but millions of people drink alcohol and don't get drunk. But Tvert says it's all a matter of moderation.

The federal Institute of Medicine supports many of Tvert's arguments about alcohol. Marijuana users, according to a 1999 IOM study, are less likely to be dependent than alcohol users, and their withdrawal symptoms are usually milder.

'Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right'

But that's not the point, says Craig Westberg, district attorney for La Plata, Archuleta and San Juan counties.

"Two wrongs don't make a right," Westberg said.

He agrees that alcohol is "the No. 1 problem among drugs," but marijuana is a problem, too.

"Boy, I've seen a lot of people who were really, really addicted to marijuana," Westberg said.

Westberg also opposes using a popular vote to make criminal law, something he says is best left to the Legislature.

And finally, he echoes Suthers' concern about the message Amendment 44 sends to children.

"I am convinced, if this passes, we're just going to be encouraging more kids to use," Westberg said.

The district attorney doesn't keep statistics on how many local people are charged with marijuana possession, but the county court sees "a considerable number" of cases each week, said Westberg.

If Amendment 44 passes, it will still be illegal to display marijuana in public, grow it or sell it.

And, as Westberg pointed out, possession of drug paraphernalia will still be illegal. While Westberg doesn't have statistics, he says that in most cases when police officers write petty offense tickets for marijuana possession, they also cite the suspect for possessing a pipe or roach clip.

Rights for Adults

Durango resident Ernest Eich says he'll vote for Amendment 44 on philosophical reasons.

"It's finally a law that treats adults as adults, instead of making legislation based on what people are afraid their children might do. I don't think the government in general thinks people are capable of making their own decisions," said Eich, who is not actively working with the campaign.

Last November, Tvert convinced Denver voters to decriminalize the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana in their city.

The Denver-Boulder area leads the state in marijuana consumption, with 8.58 percent of people age 12 and older reporting marijuana use in the last month.

But the Western Slope follows closely behind, with 7.49 percent, according to the federal government's National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

The numbers are an average of results between 2002 and 2004.

Marijuana use dropped since the 1999-2001 survey, when 8.37 percent of Western Slope residents and 10.33 percent of Boulderites reported using marijuana in the previous month.

Sidebar: Amendment 44:

What it does: Legalizes the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana for people age 21 and above.

Who is for it: Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation.

Who is against it: Students Against Marijuana, an organization run by Cañon City resident Beverly Kinard. State Attorney General John Suthers and other elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Jane Norton.

Who pays the bills: $113,000 from SAFER’s voter education fund. The pro-44 campaign says more than half the donations come from Coloradans.

The official anti-44 groups have small budgets and no major donors.

Note: Amendment would make it legal to possess an ounce or less of pot.

Source: Durango Herald, The (CO)
Author: Joe Hanel, Herald Denver Bureau
Published: October 1, 2006
Copyright: 2006 The Durango Herald
Contact: letters@durangoherald.com
Website: http://durangoherald.com/

Related Articles & Web Sites:

Safer Choice
http://www.saferchoice.org/

Safer Colorado
http://www.safercolorado.org/

Smokin' Debate on Pot Issue
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread22206.shtml

Foes, Supporters Spar on Amendment 44
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread22194.shtml

Pot Initiative Booster Tvert: Reach for Your Beer
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread22207.shtml


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Comment #16 posted by unkat27 on October 02, 2006 at 07:28:12 PT
From #10
"13. Health related costs of cannabis use are negligible when compared to the costs attributable to tobacco and alcohol consumption."

This is an understatement. Health problems created by alcohol and tobacco addicts are a huge source of medical bills and medicines. The profits from this area are so high, some doctors and phramaceutical vendors consider it pay-dirt. Take away enough of that profit and they can't pay for those yaghts, sports-cars, vacation homes and alimony for ex-wives.

Sounds like a major profit incentive to support prohibitionists and oppose cannabis legalization to me. Definitely an understatement.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #15 posted by global_warming on October 01, 2006 at 12:35:05 PT
are "you" getting ready?
For change, it is Time for Change



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #14 posted by global_warming on October 01, 2006 at 12:30:13 PT
re: to many wrongs
It is time for change.



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #13 posted by mayan on October 01, 2006 at 11:52:06 PT
Prohibition = Wrong
"Two wrongs don't make a right," Westberg said.

He's right. Prohibition is wrong. It must be ended.

No one took up the challenge.

Maybe Hickenlooper was too hung-over to attend. Pete Coors' likely didn't want to spend the cab fare since he can't drive due to his DUI. Regardless, they failed to pick up the gauntlet. They lost the challenge.

Mason Tvert has put these lying fools on the defensive and they don't know how to react except to regurgitate the same old tired lies but those lies don't fly anymore as witnesed in Denver last year.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #12 posted by global_warming on October 01, 2006 at 11:12:02 PT
Here we are
Deep into debt, rich George and his palace of democracy,

Millions of muslims hating "us"

How did "we" get here?

If everybody could take a toke"

Take a "breath

My place in this world

Is fleeting and concerned

That message to the "children"

Be Brave, Love, and be born to this world,

It is your hand that can steer this world

To a "higher" understanding

Where every breathing blessed animation

Can reach the Stars

Can reach Eternity



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #11 posted by ekim on October 01, 2006 at 11:00:59 PT
petty my ass
Currently, it's a petty offense that carries a $100 fine.

--question how many hundreds of thousands of people are denied employment because of this so call Petty Offense.

Which by the way stays on your record for life

question how may employers discriminate with this Petty Offence -- we allready know the schools loans do.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #10 posted by lombar on October 01, 2006 at 10:28:20 PT
Tear them new ones...
"That assertion is incorrect and irresponsible," Suthers said.

"Marijuana is not a harmless and benign drug."

Nothing else in the whole freakin world is held to this standard, why should cannabis be?

"That's like suggesting that we ban condoms because we don't want young people to have sex," Tvert said.

I think its closer to say we ban junk food because people die of heart disease... we ban bungi jumping because people commit suicide off bridges, we ban driving because people are hurt in car accidents..many people are prejudiced about teens having sex so that example would be dismissed by 50% of listeners in one heartbeat.

I don't think the government in general thinks people are capable of making their own decisions," said Eich, who is not actively working with the campaign.

No, they don't WANT you to make your own decisions, ie surrender your will to the state.

"Two wrongs don't make a right," Westberg said.

so why use violence against people who use cannabis when you believe that is a wrong? (theft of money, deprivation of liberty, dead pets...)

He agrees that alcohol is "the No. 1 problem among drugs," but marijuana is a problem, too.

He agrees with who? The DEA and ONDCP? Suthers? I agree that ignorance is the greatest threat to peace, order, and good government.

"Boy, I've seen a lot of people who were really, really addicted to marijuana," Westberg said.

That's funny because according to non-state created propaganda, the medical community does not seem to agree.. unless they are on the payroll of the DEA.

Westberg also opposes using a popular vote to make criminal law, something he says is best left to the Legislature.

Pass the buck, he basically fears the people deciding who they want in prison, taking that away from his class, the lawyers and politicians. Some democracy.

And finally, he echoes Suthers' concern about the message Amendment 44 sends to children.

That cannabis is still not legal for kids? Like alcohol?

"I am convinced, if this passes, we're just going to be encouraging more kids to use," Westberg said.

So what. The point is that YOU are sending the message that alcohol is safer because it is legal. I'm convinced that the people running our governments are willfully stupid on this issue because of politics... well maybe some of them are not so by choice.

Medical Use of Marijuana Legal Findings of Fact

The findings of fact that have been accepted by the Ontario Court of Appeal would provide a standard for factual information about cannabis:

1. Consumption of marijuana is relatively harmless compared to the so-called hard drugs and including tobacco and alcohol;

2. There exists no hard evidence demonstrating any irreversible organic or mental damage from the consumption of

3. That cannabis does cause alteration of mental functions and as such, it would not be prudent to drive a car while intoxicated;

4. There is no hard evidence that cannabis consumption induces psychoses;

5. Cannabis is not an addictive substance;

6. Marijuana is not criminogenic in that there is no evidence of a causal relationship between cannabis use and criminality;

7. That the consumption of marijuana probably does not lead to “hard drug” use for the vast majority of marijuana consumers, although there appears to be a statistical relationship between the use of marijuana and a variety of other psychoactive drugs;

8. Marijuana does not make people more aggressive or violent;

9. There have been no recorded deaths from the consumption

10. There is no evidence that marijuana causes amotivational syndrome;

11. Less than 1% of marijuana consumers are daily users;

12. Consumption in so-called “de-criminalized states” does not increase out of proportion to states where there is no de-criminalization.

13. Health related costs of cannabis use are negligible when compared to the costs attributable to tobacco and alcohol consumption.

http://www.ontariocourts.on.ca/decisions/2000/july/clay.htm

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #9 posted by FoM on October 01, 2006 at 10:27:17 PT
Picture from Article
http://durangoherald.com/news/06/images/news061001_1a.jpg

JOE HANEL/Herald

Mason Tvert, right, stands behind cases of beer Thursday at the City and County Building in Denver. Tvert, leader of a statewide initiative to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, offered - unsuccessfully - to go "hit-for-chug" with Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and former Senate candidate Pete Coors to prove that pot is safer than alcohol.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #8 posted by global_warming on October 01, 2006 at 10:22:19 PT
re: last year
"Last November, Tvert convinced Denver voters to decriminalize the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana in their city."

Mason did not convince anybody, Mason is the galvanizing rod, people have a mind and they have used the "vote" to override the district attorney Westbergs and and all those "legislators" who ride comfortably on the backs of hard "working" people.

It is time for change, God Bless You Mason Tvert.



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #7 posted by global_warming on October 01, 2006 at 10:11:59 PT
Westberg
"Westberg also opposes using a popular vote to make criminal law, something he says is best left to the Legislature."

I am trying to figure out how to put into words the sound of a snorting "pig", it is time for a chage, SAFER is BETTER.



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #6 posted by global_warming on October 01, 2006 at 10:08:51 PT
You Must Be an Adult to read: agree or disagree
'Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right'

But that's not the point, says Craig Westberg, district attorney for La Plata, Archuleta and San Juan counties.

"Two wrongs don't make a right," Westberg said.

He agrees that alcohol is "the No. 1 problem among drugs," but marijuana is a problem, too.

"Boy, I've seen a lot of people who were really, really addicted to marijuana," Westberg said.

Westberg also opposes using a popular vote to make criminal law, something he says is best left to the Legislature.

And finally, he echoes Suthers' concern about the message Amendment 44 sends to children.

"I am convinced, if this passes, we're just going to be encouraging more kids to use," Westberg said.

The district attorney doesn't keep statistics on how many local people are charged with marijuana possession, but the county court sees "a considerable number" of cases each week, said Westberg.

If Amendment 44 passes, it will still be illegal to display marijuana in public, grow it or sell it.

And, as Westberg pointed out, possession of drug paraphernalia will still be illegal. While Westberg doesn't have statistics, he says that in most cases when police officers write petty offense tickets for marijuana possession, they also cite the suspect for possessing a pipe or roach clip.

Rights for Adults

Durango resident Ernest Eich says he'll vote for Amendment 44 on philosophical reasons.

"It's finally a law that treats adults as adults, instead of making legislation based on what people are afraid their children might do. I don't think the government in general thinks people are capable of making their own decisions," said Eich, who is not actively working with the campaign.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #5 posted by museman on October 01, 2006 at 10:08:24 PT
'Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right'
If that is the case, our entire non-representative government should be disbanded, because there is nothing 'right' about it.

Mr. Bush did absolutely nothing wrong. Right?

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #4 posted by global_warming on October 01, 2006 at 10:03:36 PT
You know what "they" say
'Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right', so lets keep the system the way it is, people who use Cannabis shall be locked up, people who use alcohol are okay.

Unacceptable, it is time for a change.



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #3 posted by FoM on October 01, 2006 at 09:54:38 PT
global_warming
Why is it illegal? I wish I knew.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #2 posted by global_warming on October 01, 2006 at 09:50:30 PT
Rich and Full
This article is so full, it is time for a change, 800,000 people in jail here in the US of A that was last year alone, how many this year, and all the years before and millions of people on this planet will not be ignored or dismissed, Cannabis is far less harmful than alcohol, tell me again, why is Cannabis illegal?



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 01, 2006 at 09:46:07 PT
Hit-for-Chug
Sounds like an excellent idea.

[ Post Comment ]

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