Opponents, Proponents Tangle Over Marijuana Ballot

Opponents, Proponents Tangle Over Marijuana Ballot
Posted by CN Staff on October 28, 2006 at 07:46:57 PT
By Charles Ashby, The Pueblo Chieftain
Source: Pueblo Chieftain 
Denver, CO -- Legalizing small amounts of marijuana in Colorado will lead to increased drug trafficking in the state, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.That, at least, was the message Pueblo Police Chief James Billings Jr. and other ranking officers from across the state conveyed at an anti-Amendment 44 press conference on the west steps of the Colorado Capitol Building.
Because the initiative on this year's ballot would allow Coloradans to possess less than an ounce of marijuana - but would still leave it illegal to grow, purchase or sell - means people would have to break the law in order to possess the weed.And that, the law enforcement officials said, will lead to increased drug trafficking."We have major problems with the people who are transporting the drugs," Billings said immediately after the press conference. "There's already so much violence related to drug trafficking. The ramifications of a society that openly condones through its laws the use of marijuana is dangerous. Currently, there's already a huge amount of marijuana that's being trafficked into Colorado."Amid loud heckling from proponents of the measure, the sheriffs spoke out against the amendment along with Gov. Bill Owens and Attorney General John Suthers, who also said the initiative would lead the state's teens to try other, harder drugs.Suthers, who was shouted down the loudest by supporters of a group calling itself Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation, said there is nothing safe about marijuana.The attorney general said the active chemical substance that is responsible for the high from marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, has been increasing in the marijuana plant."Corresponding to the increase in the THC content of marijuana is a six-fold increase in the number of emergency room admissions attributable to marijuana," Suthers said over the proponents' chanting. "There are now 4.6 million Americans who suffer from marijuana dependency. The drafters of Amendment 44 were extremely sloppy. If the voters approve Amendment 44, they will be legalizing the transfer of less than an ounce of marijuana (to a teen). That is truly irresponsible."In a press conference of his own immediately following, SAFER campaign manager Mason Tvert chastised the governor for not being willing to debate him on the issue.Presenting a former police chief of his own - one from Seattle - Tvert said there is no evidence that marijuana is more detrimental than alcohol or leads people to try other illegal substances.That former police chief, Norman Stamper, has written a book, "Breaking Rank: A top cop's expose about the dark side of American policing.""I heard a steady stream of untruths," Stamper said of the opponents' press conference. "I will not call them lies because I think people who believe what they're saying and go ahead and say that are not lying; they're uninformed. I think it's tragic that police officials particularly, as well as other elected officials, don't do their homework. Marijuana is not a gateway drug. If there is a gateway drug, it's a combination of tobacco and beer."Though Owens was smiling at the shouting opponents at the beginning of the press conference, he attacked them at the end, saying their heckling marked a sad day for open political discourse."This is a sad day for Colorado when people who have a permit aren't allowed to speak," the governor said. "We have a permit today, we have men and women who really care about the future of Colorado, and we're literally being shouted down by the other side."I've been involved in Colorado policy for almost three decades," he shouted at the proponents. "I have never seen a time when legitimate debate is shouted down like we're seeing today. If the citizens of Colorado have any doubt as to who's right on this issue, I hope they'll look at the (law enforcement) men and women behind me this morning, look at this audience that isn't allowing free debate in the state of Colorado, and judge accordingly."Complete Title: Opponents, Proponents Tangle Over Marijuana Ballot IssueSource: Pueblo Chieftain (CO)Author: Charles Ashby, The Pueblo ChieftainPublished: Saturday, October 28, 2006 Copyright: 2006 The Star-Journal Publishing Corp.Website: newsroom chieftain.comRelated Articles & Web Sites:Safer Choice Colorado Drug Talk No Love-In of Marijuana Initiative, Governor Clash Why is Pot Really Illegal? 
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Comment #8 posted by ChristenMitchell on October 29, 2006 at 09:01:59 PT:
Case against Amendment 44 mighty dopey
(Boulders Daily Scamera is opposed to 44. To their credit they print pro columns and LTE's on the same page as their pans)I was on an RTD bus recently when two young buffoons sparked up a doobie a couple rows behind me. I turned and stared as these clowns tried to hide their joint and hold searing lungfuls of smoke until I turned away. "Put it out," I said. "I don't want it in my face." "What?" one replied. So I reported the miscreants, and the driver kicked them off at the next stop — just a few blocks from where they'd barely managed to scrape together enough change for fare to Longmont. As the old commercial said, "Why do you think they call it dope?" I recount that tale so you don't think I'm just some scammin' pothead when I say we should pass Amendment 44, which would "legalize ... the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older" in Colorado. Oddly, all the argument you need in favor of the amendment can be found in the flimsy, speculative, unsupported "Arguments Against" in the 2006 election "blue book" produced by the Legislative Council: "Marijuana may lead a person to use or possess other illegal drugs." Note the word "may." This old "gateway" argument has been largely discredited. Some pot smokers move on to "harder stuff," but the same can be said for those who drink alcohol or use nicotine. But substances don't create addicts; in most cases, there is an underlying psychological reason for drug use, abuse and addiction. "(T)he only safe alternative to alcohol or drug intoxication is sobriety." I agree. But history demonstrates that prohibition doesn't lead to sobriety. "Policy discussions should not focus on whether alcohol or marijuana is a safer drug...." Pot can, and does, ruin lives; I've seen it. But let's not be asinine: Pot is a wisp of smoke next to the bonfire of destructiveness caused by booze, our special friend, which inspires cute commercials and strikingly juvenile behavior among supposed adults. (Eavesdrop sometime on grownups talking about how very clever they are for drinking alcohol or getting wasted.) "Colorado should enforce, not repeal, drug laws." No reason given here, but let's play this throwaway line. Let's go after and imprison — since our laws are focused on incarceration, not treatment — every citizen who breaks a drug law. Are you ready to pay the taxes to keep 'em all locked up, and for the reams of police we'll need to hire? Besides, the problem isn't so much that the laws aren't enforced, but that they are unenforceable. And having unenforceable laws inevitably leads to unequal treatment and a dwindling respect for the law. As Albert Einstein said in 1921, with regard to alcohol prohibition, "(N)othing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law ... than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this." Ditto for 2006, with regard to drug prohibition. Even if Amendment 44 were to pass, federal anti-marijuana laws — which supersede state law — would still be enforceable. But federal officers generally aren't interested in small-fry. Trying to undo the foolish, feel-good, failed "war on drugs" state by state is inefficient. But since the feds remain slavishly devoted to wasting billions on an ineffective law-enforcement solution to a public-health problem, to filling up prisons with non-violent offenders — usually without addressing their underlying addiction, so that most go right back to using drugs as soon as they are released — this is the only way to do it. Contact Clay Evans at (303) 473-1352 or evansc 
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Comment #7 posted by potpal on October 29, 2006 at 05:16:49 PT
Seems to me these mentions of former Seattle police chief, Norman Stamper get down played considerably. No mention of LEAP and the many LEOs that are working with Mr. Stamper. They make it sound like he's a lone voice and out of touch or something. Yeah, mention his book, 'Breaking ranks...', try to color him the traitor but don't mention an entire organization that is headed by Mr. Stamper determined to end prohibition. Believe a letter to the Chieftain pointing out such is in order. It's to be expected with a biased paper.
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Comment #6 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on October 29, 2006 at 01:37:02 PT
Keith Olbermann said something a while back...
Seems like it had to do with our issue, and it really pissed me off.I can't remember what it was, but it left such a bad taste in my mouth that I sent him and MSNBC an e-mail, and haven't watched much of either since.Wish I could remember exactly why I hate him so much, lol.All I know is he was being quite derisive and dismissive of something or someone I felt deservered neither.
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Comment #5 posted by whig on October 29, 2006 at 00:34:38 PT
Keith (along with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert)
These are people who are reading blogs, now. We do a first pass of history, and they do a second pass with a reading and visual presentation of the facts.Which is not to diminish either one. Both add content and context, both provide a means to inform and educate. Both are necessary now.We are dividing ourselves, in preparation for our new evolution.
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Comment #4 posted by whig on October 29, 2006 at 00:31:07 PT
Worst Person in the World: Rush Limbaugh
I called it for the original incident, too:
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on October 28, 2006 at 21:45:38 PT
Yes I saw it and it was good. His show is getting better and he is outspoken and I think it is necessary. His humorous or off beat news is a little weird but it's ok too. We need more commentaries like he has done.
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Comment #2 posted by Wayne on October 28, 2006 at 21:37:28 PT
Re: FoM
I'm really starting to get hooked on Keith's show. It's funny, he used to be a sportscaster. You'd never know it by watching his broadcasts, he's a better journalist that most that are out there now. He asks a lot of critical questions that most other talking heads miss.Hey did you see his bit on Friday night about the death of 'Stay the Course'? That was HILARIOUS. Tony Snow said that Bush only used the phrase 8 times. Keith counted about 40, and showed them all in succession. I was busting up laughing.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 28, 2006 at 14:45:09 PT
OT: ‘World’s Worst’ Person: Rush Limbaugh
Thank you Keith Olbermann!
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