Pot Proposal Leaves Questions

Pot Proposal Leaves Questions
Posted by CN Staff on October 13, 2006 at 20:52:24 PT
By David Montero, Rocky Mountain News
Source: Rocky Mountain News
Colorado -- Much the way marijuana stays in a person's system for an extended period, expect some fallout to linger in the halls of government well after the Nov. 7 election if Amendment 44 passes. The reason is because the wording of the ballot measure is so simple, even the most ardent stoner could understand it. But that is also its curse because it leaves so many issues unaddressed.
Amendment 44 seeks to allow adults over 21 to legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana for their own personal use. That is all the backers of the proposal said they wanted to do - strip it of its Class 2 petty offense and the accompanying $100 ticket. "It's the most straightforward initiative on the ballot," Amendment 44 campaign manager Mason Tvert said. "It's time to acknowledge the current laws about marijuana have failed." But there still will be laws. Federal law would still exist denying the right to have pot, as it would buying, growing and selling it. The Food and Drug Administration would also have to remove it as an illegal drug to allow lawmakers to set up a tax and regulation system, much like with alcohol. The state legislature would also have to make an addition, since if Amendment 44 were to pass, it would leave a gap regarding the transfer of pot from a 21-year-old to someone between 18 and 20. Legislation would have to be introduced to re-instate a fine of $100 for that act. Opponents argue that the push to pass Amendment 44 is just one more step toward the ultimate goal of Tvert and others - the nationwide legalization of all drugs - and they point to slow but steady passage of pro-pot laws around the country in the last few years. Calvina Fay, executive director of Save Our Society from Drugs, said it started with a smattering of laws passed to allow marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes. Currently 11 states, including Colorado, allow marijuana to be prescribed for medicinal usage. Now, Fay said Colorado's Amendment 44 is pushing the envelope even further and she said the message the pro-pot group is sending - that marijuana is relatively safe - is a dangerous one for children. "When a society normalizes something and says it's acceptable to do this and tolerates a society that permits it, it sends a message that drugs aren't harmful and marijuana is akin to soda pop," Fay said. "But if you look at the data, through the years when children have been polled about their attitude about drug use, and society disapproves of drug use, children are less likely to use." Fay is alarmed because Colorado is not the only state considering legalization of marijuana for recreational use on this year's ballot. Nevada also has an initiative on the ballot this year - though that state's measure also sets up a variety of penalties for criminal offenses related to driving under the influence of pot. It also establishes a retail sales system to allow for the purchasing of marijuana. Amendment 44 does not address those questions, nor the question of how one can possess pot while one is not allowed to buy it or grow it. "Until federal law changes, there will be no way to get it legally," Tvert admitted. "But the fact is, people have access to marijuana right now, and do we want to focus our limited law enforcement resources worrying about the lowest-level private users? That's what this amendment is all about." And Tvert said federal law would trump the entire regulatory system set up in Nevada's ballot question, too. He said his campaign has been up front all along about what it wants to accomplish - namely getting law enforcement to lay off the low-level adult users. Tvert said he would eventually like to see the Food and Drug Administration approve marijuana for retail sale and subject it to a similar tax and regulation system that alcohol currently has. If Amendment 44 were to pass, enforcement for adults 21 and over possessing an ounce of marijuana would fall to the federal government. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Mike Turner said his office would have to make the arrest and the culprits would then have to be prosecuted by the U.S. attorney in federal court. "We don't have unlimited resources," Turner said. The debate over Amendment 44 is also exposing differences of opinion within the political parties. Republicans with libertarian leanings see it as a personal choice issue and want to support it, while prominent Democrats have opposed the amendment. For example, House Speaker Andrew Romanoff has opposed it, while conservative radio talk show host Mike Rosen came out in support of it. And a group of Republicans and Democrats calling themselves Guarding Our Children Against Marijuana Prohibition have come out in support of it. The name of the group is a take-off on the opposition group, Guarding Our Children Against Marijuana. Both sides have relied more heavily on news coverage than advertising campaigns, and current funding totals for both sides are modest - though Tvert argues the anti-44 forces have the federal government officials - including U.S. Drug Czar John Walters, who appeared in Colorado on Wednesday - working for them. But Robert McGuire, who is heading up the Colorado chapter of Florida-based Save Our Society from Drugs, argues that Tvert gets large chunks of funding from the Safer Voter Education Fund. Through Sept. 27, Tvert's Alcohol-Marijuana Equalization Initiative Committee had $10,899 in funds on hand, while Guarding Our Children Against Marijuana had $2,746 on hand. The main opposition group, Save Our Society from Drugs, had $10,884 on hand. The largest contribution by one group to Tvert's group in the last filing period was $19,501 from the Safer Voter Education Fund. Save Our Society from Drugs got a $20,000 contribution from Denver businessman Kevin Kaufman in the last filing period. Amendment 44 Would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. Who supports it: Sponsor is Alcohol-Marijuana Equalization Committee and the Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation. Also supporting it is the group Guarding Our Children Against Marijuana Prohibition. Since the end of July, the campaign has spent $46,362, and the largest donor was SAFER Voter Education Fund, giving a total of more than $41,490.  Who opposes it: Save Our Society from Drugs, Guarding Our Children Against Marijuana, Students Against Marijuana and Drug Free Schools Coalition of Colorado. Save Our Society from Drugs reported spending $9,635 through the last filing period, and Denver businessman Kevin Kaufman is listed as the group's largest contributor, donating $20,500.  For more information: for the opponents' side, and for the proponents' side.  If the ballot passes:  Would pot be legal? No. Under federal law, an adult still cannot legally possess marijuana, but if a person were to be arrested for possession of an ounce of pot, he would have to be arrested by federal agents and tried in federal court - something the federal government says it doesn't have the resources to do.  Could you grow, buy or sell pot? No. The amendment does not address that issue and it would still be a crime to grow, sell or buy pot. The amendment only tackles the possession issue. Note: Issues aren't addressed in ballot measure that would legalize marijuana.Source: Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)Author:  David Montero, Rocky Mountain NewsPublished: October 12, 2006Copyright: 2006 Denver Publishing Co.Contact: letters rockymountainnews.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Safer Choice To Un-Demonize Marijuana Czar Visits Two States To Slam Pot Initiative Czar Rips Amendment 44 To Get Millions from White House Czar
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on October 15, 2006 at 12:42:00 PT
It also might be the only intoxicant that is mild and controllable enough to be able to say, "Don't bring me down."Because everyone with any experience, knows that you can come down in a hurry from the euphoria associated with cannabis when things going on around you have to get serious.
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Comment #6 posted by OverwhelmSam on October 15, 2006 at 12:31:50 PT
American Cannabis Consumers
We will no doubt become collectively the most informed users of cannabis in the world. Cannabis is not toxic, moderate use does not render the consumer seriously impaired, and it is probably one of the safest recreational drugs in existence.
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Comment #5 posted by whig on October 14, 2006 at 12:51:22 PT
Medical Marijuana Mi
Got a picture for you:'re there, right?
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Comment #4 posted by ekim on October 14, 2006 at 08:24:55 PT
National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden CO
on Sep 20 on the History Ch from 8-9 pm the show Renewables was shown.It went to the NREL headquarters and spoke with the researchers doing the work on feed stocks for ethanol.It was stated that switchgrass could produce 1,150 gals of ethanol per acre. With the needed industral enzymes costing 25 cents per gal.I wonder why with all this talk of Cannabis not a word about this great break thru has been mentioned in the news.
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Comment #3 posted by mayan on October 14, 2006 at 06:39:14 PT
Supposedly, one person spent less than one hour composing GRAMNET's anti-44 release...GRAMNET: No laws were broken Cops would never lie. Oh well, looks like they've spent their fifty bucks worth of lies. Won't be hearing much more from them! Other news...Marijuana dispensary owners, 7 others face federal charges: Marijuana Mi, thanks for saving me a search. I knew that Kaufman fellow had some vested interest to protect! Oil & gas, go figure! 
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Comment #2 posted by whig on October 14, 2006 at 01:00:51 PT
Medical Marijuana Mi
Good catch.
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Comment #1 posted by Medical Marijuana Mi on October 13, 2006 at 21:19:10 PT
Colorado Oil & Gas Association
"Save Our Society from Drugs reported spending $9,635 through the last filing period, and Denver businessman Kevin Kaufman is listed as the group's largest contributor, donating $20,500."Colorado Oil & Gas Association
Vice Presidents:
Kevin Kaufman, K.P. Kaufman.
1675 Broadway, Suite 2800, Denver, CO 80202
Ph: 303-825-4822 Fx: 303-825-4825
Email: kpkauffman FUEL
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