Yes: The Marijuana-Alcohol Equalization Amendment

Yes: The Marijuana-Alcohol Equalization Amendment
Posted by CN Staff on October 13, 2006 at 06:36:47 PT
Source: Boulder Weekly 
Colorado -- Amendment 44 asks Colorado voters to decide whether or not to legalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana for adults 21 years and older. If passed it would still be illegal to consume marijuana in public, drive while under the influence, grow marijuana, sell it or possess it if you are under 21. This is an expansion of the initiative that was passed last year in Denver. Currently, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is a petty offense in Colorado and carries a $100 fine.
Proponents of Amendment 44 say that marijuana is a safer alternative drug than alcohol and that Colorado citizens should be allowed to consume it in the privacy of their homes if they so choose. Every year, there are thousands of injuries and deaths, in addition to violence, that occur as a direct result of alcohol, yet alcohol is legal. Marijuana, on the other hand, does not cause a persistent threat to public safety and carries no risk of overdose. Marijuana users are far less likely to engage in violence or erratic behavior than those who imbibe alcohol. Furthermore, supporters of Amendment 44 say that many studies have shown marijuana to be less addictive than other illegal and legal drugs. Amendment 44 will also save taxpayers money. Currently, it costs Colorado thousands of dollars every year to track down, apprehend and prosecute marijuana users. This is money that could be better spent capturing violent criminals and fighting drugs that are more harmful to the public, like crack and meth. Supporters say that arresting marijuana users for such a minor offense needlessly destroys thousands of lives and eats up taxpayer revenue. Opponents of Amendment 44 say there is no scientific evidence that conclusively demonstrates marijuana is safer than alcohol. Since marijuana is illegal, it is impossible to study the long-term effects of cannabis on the human body. However, studies have shown that THC can certainly be addictive to some people, and smoke inhalation of any kind is detrimental to the lungs, they say. Today's marijuana is as much as 10 times stronger than the pot used in the 1970s, and the effects of that heightened potency vary depending on the individual. Opponents also claim that marijuana is a "gateway" drug that introduces young people to the drug culture and encourages them to try other truly harmful drugs. They say prohibition works and it is the only viable option in the drug war. There is also the concern that legalizing pot will attract drug users to Colorado, raising crime rates throughout the state. Finally, those opposed to Amendment 44 argue that legalizing pot will not save money in the long run. The costs of enforcement are minimal when compared to the costs of addiction treatment and the drug counseling centers that the state would be forced to pay for. BW position: Opponents are full of bull, and a large percentage of Boulder County readers knows it. Why? Because they smoke pot and lead healthy, functional lives. The war on pot is a waste of money and a waste of lives. Prohibition has never worked and never will. If alcohol and cigarettes, which are demonstrably more costly and harmful to human beings and to society, are legal, then ganja should be legal, too. End the hypocrisy. Vote YES on Amendment 44. Newshawk: The GCWSource: Boulder Weekly (CO)Published: October 12 - October 19, 2006 Copyright: 2006 Boulder WeeklyContact: letters boulderweekly.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Safer Choice Drug Czar Rips Amendment 44 Czar Visits To Bash Pot Measure To Get Millions from White House Czar and Baiting 
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on October 13, 2006 at 06:46:41 PT
LTE from Laura Kriho
US CO: PUB LTE: Yes on 44  Pubdate: 12 Oct. 2006Source: Boulder Weekly (CO)Author: Laura KrihoViewed at: 
Yes on 44 Colorado was the first state to vote to repeal alcohol prohibition in 1932, and we have the chance to be the first state to vote to repeal cannabis (marijuana) prohibition with the passage of Amendment 44. In 1932, forward-thinking Colorado citizens put an initiative on the ballot to repeal alcohol prohibition. It passed with 56 percent of the vote. However, in 1937, Congress enacted cannabis prohibition via the Marijuana Tax Act. Cannabis prohibition created a new black market in cannabis, which has led to the same violence and corruption seen in the alcohol prohibition era. It also gave rise to government agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration, which not only uses your tax dollars to arrest and imprison nonviolent cannabis users, but also actively campaigns for cannabis prohibition in our democratic elections. In more than 10,000 years of almost constant human use, cannabis has never caused a single overdose. It is safer than aspirin and has many more medicinal uses. In 1988, the DEA's chief administrative law judge called it the "safest therapeutically active substances known to man." Cannabis, like alcohol, should be legal for adults to use in the privacy of their own home for recreation as well as medicine. It is prohibition that causes harm to society, not the substance. Alcohol prohibition only lasted from 1920 to 1933, a mere 13 years. Cannabis prohibition has lasted an amazing 69 years. Why has it taken so long to learn, again, that prohibition doesn't work? In 2005, Denver voters ended cannabis prohibition for small amounts possessed by adults in the city. In 2006, Colorado voters have the chance to do the same thing. Let's uphold our proud tradition as a bellwether state and be the first state to vote to repeal cannabis prohibition and end this failed policy. Bring your friends to the polls on Nov. 7, and vote YES on 44. Laura Kriho/Nederland 
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