Ambushing The Pot Initiative

Ambushing The Pot Initiative
Posted by CN Staff on September 16, 2006 at 21:06:43 PT
Source: Rocky Mountain News 
Colorado -- How would you react to a ballot measure allowing an adult to give "up to one ounce of marijuana to another individual 15 years of age or older as long as there is no compensation, although possession for those under 21 years of age would remain illegal"? You'd consider the measure for two seconds or less, declare it insane, and decide on the spot to vote against it. Right? Legalize the act of plying kids with drugs? Who authored such madness?
No one, as it happens. But you wouldn't know it if you only read the state's Blue Book, which is the pamphlet that goes out to all registered voters and explains this year's ballot initiatives. That misleading line about transferring marijuana to juveniles happens to be included in the final draft of the pamphlet's discussion of Amendment 44. The Legislative Council and its staff have made a serious mistake that will cloud the reputation of the Blue Book for years to come, not to mention tilt the playing field so far against Amendment 44 that the angle resembles a cliff. Amendment 44 would have had an uphill fight under any circumstances, given its goal of legalizing the adult possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. But at least its backers had a fighting chance if they could appeal to Coloradans who harbor mixed feelings about the nation's drug war, and who resent how law enforcement often lumps pot together with harder drugs. But thanks to this Blue Book blunder, the task for Amendment 44 backers may be infinitely more difficult. Did we say blunder? Strike that: The line was deliberately placed in the Blue Book and is defended to this day by the Legislative Council as a legitimate interpretation. House Speaker Andrew Romanoff told us "every single word" of the controversial line "is true" because "it is accurate in terms of the laws on possession of marijuana." Romanoff says this because state law makes it a felony to give anyone under 15 marijuana, and that law would remain in place if Amendment 44 passes. And since there is no explicit prohibition against transferring pot to anyone older, the council felt justified in maintaining that an adult could give "up to one ounce of marijuana to another individual 15 years of age or older" under the amendment. Unfortunately, the clear implication of that statement - that the amendment decriminalizes such transfers, at least insofar as the state is concerned - is simply false. It is a crime in Colorado to help any juvenile break any federal or state law, and under both federal and state law it will continue to be illegal for minors to possess marijuana even if Amendment 44 is approved. So someone giving a minor marijuana would be breaking the law as well. The Blue Book does acknowledge that 44 "addresses state law for possession only; enforcement of other marijuana laws would not change." But contributing to the delinquency of a minor is not a marijuana law, meaning the Blue Book fails to remind voters that such a law exists. Sponsors of Amendment 44 tried to have the offending language struck this week in court, but a Denver judge said he had no authority to do so. We understand the judge's reluctance to meddle in a legislative prerogative, but the result is that voters will be misled. And that's simply not right, whatever your opinion of the merits of Amendment 44.Note: Blue book language will mislead voters.Newshawk: The GCWSource: Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)Published: September 15, 2006Copyright: 2006, Denver Publishing Co.Contact: letters rockymountainnews.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Safer Choice Statewide MJ Initiative Backers Lose Ruling Marijuana Measure Raises Stink Should Butt Out of State Ballot Debate
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on September 17, 2006 at 08:03:47 PT
Just a Comment
I can't find any news to post so far today but I want to say something. Right now the Republicans are angry and they are down right scary to me. Bush wants to be able to torture and that blows my mind. If the Democrats gain more power this election will they do something about Bush and try to stop the insanity? He is such an angry man. He really does scare me. I don't like angry men that don't know how to direct their anger in a good way.
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Comment #3 posted by MikeEEEEE on September 17, 2006 at 05:30:49 PT
Who authored such madness? 
This idiot did, targeting more idiots.
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on September 16, 2006 at 22:12:54 PT
In Colorado, before the election, the state mails out and makes available a small booklet that gives an explaination of each individutal innitiative on the election ballot.It includes some pro's and con's...It is supposed to be unbiased...999This may help or hurt, depending on a combination of things.It may get plenty of press.Plenty of press may get many more young voters to the registration office and then to the polls...It may anger some and get them out... those who would like government to quit cheating on citizens...888Colorado had some similar issues with Amendment 19 in 1996 where the petitioners got enough signitures to get medical marijuana on the ballot and it made it to the blue book, and then Secretary of State, Victoria Bucley came out and said the election would not count toward legalizing medical marijuana / cannabis.A whole nother story, where She died after that decission and then people found uncounted petitions in Her desk and so it jumped up to the next election... as Amendment 20 and became known as VOTE 4 20.777(the following is copied from comment #38, )*** Remember when Colorado saw its leaders dirty work to keep the medical marijuana issue off the ballot? Victoria Buckley et al... ( )She cheated, said no go, died, got caught dead handed with hidden uncounted petitions in Her desk...( )It would have been Amendment 19... She denied it and it automatically went to the next election; & even better!!!It became Amendment 20;Known as vote 4 - 20.420During that time, Colorado's Governor Bill Owens said of Amendment (4)20; "NOT ON MY WATCH." ( )It happened on His watch.Colorado has the correct time.That time is now.123The government has tried to screw the people of Colorado before and are expected to do the same dirty dances.Now Colorado citizens have the advantage of knowing the government is very low and discredited.Now Colorado has the advantage of study after study discreding their spew; just like the one above.There is no end to how much We can discredit them, today.111This latest scam is consistant with the way the system treats people trying to make credible drug law reform in Colorado and the rest of America.
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Comment #1 posted by Wayne on September 16, 2006 at 21:44:05 PT
ballot question
Maybe someone else could explain it to me, as I am not all too familiar with the ballot initiative process...Is the 'blue book' something that everyone reads? Or do people just go to the polls, read the measure on the ballot, and vote yes or no? I guess my real question is, does this spell real trouble for the Amendment 44 movement, or is the press just blowing the whole thing out of proportion?
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