CO Pot Advocates Turn to 2012 Ballot Measure
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CO Pot Advocates Turn to 2012 Ballot Measure
Posted by CN Staff on May 15, 2011 at 11:45:55 PT
By Kristin Wyatt, Associated Press
Source: Associated Press 
Colorado -- Marijuana advocates racked up big wins in this year's session of the Colorado Legislature. Now they're turning their sights to a bigger effort  full legalization on the 2012 ballot.Pot legalization backers hope to start gathering signatures as soon as this summer to put the question to voters. Given Colorado's low signature threshold for ballot initiatives, which currently stands at about 86,000 people, they say they expect an easy path to the polls.
Colorado voters defeated a legalization measure in 2006, as did California voters last year. But activists here are regrouping for another push."We're going to have a great legalization debate in 2012," predicted Laura Kriho of the Cannabis Therapy Institute, a powerful grass-roots organizer that alerts marijuana advocates to lobby public officials on measures related to pot.Lawmakers heard from activists several times during the 2011 session that ended last week, and they achieved some surprising victories.Advocates defeated a proposal to set a driving-high impairment standard that was backed by law enforcement. They quickly squashed a proposal to ban edible marijuana, and dispensaries chipped away at some residency rules and other requirements through a revision of marijuana regulation that had been adopted the year before.With lobbyists working Capitol halls and a network of marijuana patients packing committee hearings, Colorado's pot community won over lawmakers on many measures intended to crack down on the nascent industry."With each passing legislative session, we're seeing marijuana and the marijuana distribution system further entrenched and accepted in the state," said Brian Vicente, head of Sensible Colorado.Now they're turning back to the public. Next month, SAFER Colorado and other groups plan to finish work on a proposed ballot measure to make marijuana legal for all adults, not just those with certain medical conditions. After getting the language cleared by state elections officials, supporters can gather signatures."We've had medical marijuana out there now for more than 10 years without any of the terrible things they said were going to happen. We haven't seen an increase in accidents, in visits to emergency rooms, in crime  we haven't seen increases in anything bad," Kriho said.Even a prominent critic of Colorado's marijuana industry, Republican Attorney General John Suthers, said last week that he welcomes a debate on whether pot should be legal. Suthers has argued that recreational pot users have subverted Colorado's medical marijuana program."We have a system right now of state-sponsored fraud," Suthers said.Suthers said he'd oppose legalization but welcomed another ballot measure on the idea. "At least a legalization debate will be an honest across-the-board discussion of whether we really want to make this legal," he said.Marijuana advocates believe they can win that argument, and they have reason for confidence.They prevailed over law enforcement over setting DUI limits for THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Police backed a 5 nanogram blood-content limit. Marijuana advocates blasted lawmakers with e-mails and phone calls opposing the pot DUI bill, and a bipartisan group of senators rejected the measure.The bill failed in the Legislature's closing days after even some conservative Republicans complained the 5 nanogram level seemed an arbitrary indication of whether a driver is impaired. Pot patients toasted the bill's demise with a victory party the final night of the legislative session."It's great the Legislature didn't take action on such a harmful bill that wasn't grounded in evidence," said Mason Tvert, head of SAFER Colorado, a pro-legalization group.Pot advocates' biggest loss was a new requirement that caretakers  people who raise pot for a small number of patients  be required to register with the state. Caregivers argued that health officials, but not police, should know who is growing pot, and they complained that making the caretaker registry public would put home growers at greater risk of theft.Lawmakers stuck with the registry but exempted it from state open records law, blocking public access to the list of caretakers and their addresses.That requirement came in a larger marijuana regulation adjustment that affects many aspects of how pot is grown and sold. The measure, which awaits the signature of Gov. John Hickenlooper, loosened residency requirements for non-owners who work in dispensaries and required pot shops to treat patient records as medical records, among other things.Hickenlooper hasn't said yet whether he'll sign the bill. But the governor, along with lawmakers from both parties, seems to be shrugging off a warning letter sent last month by Colorado's top federal prosecutor, John Walsh.Walsh warned that state employees who administer marijuana regulations could risk federal prosecution. The letter was similar to ones sent by federal prosecutors in other medical marijuana states, including Washington, where Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed legislation to license marijuana dispensaries after the Justice Department said it could result in a federal crackdown.Hickenlooper said that he didn't share Gregoire's fear that regulations would bring federal drug raids."If the medical marijuana facility is conforming to our regulations, I would assume the federal government will not raid it," Hickenlooper said Thursday.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Kristin Wyatt, Associated PressPublished: May 15, 2011Copyright: 2011 The Associated PressCannabisNews  -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #8 posted by kaptinemo on May 21, 2011 at 07:24:11 PT:
You know they're starting to sweat when they 
offer to debate:Even a prominent critic of Colorado's marijuana industry, Republican Attorney General John Suthers, said last week that he welcomes a debate on whether pot should be legal.and"At least a legalization debate will be an honest across-the-board discussion of whether we really want to make this legal," he said.No, you don't really want that debate, Mr. Rape-publican. You and your culture-war prohib friends have moved Heaven and Earth for decades to avoid that collision of your lies and the bald-faced truth. But now, with things getting ever tighter economically, with more and more people beginning to realize just how much could be done with the money being p*ssed away in enforcing a doomed-from-the-start substance prohibition and demanding that it end, critical mass is building, and that long-evaded debate is closing in on the prohibs. They can no longer safely ignore reformers with Olympian disdain from their taxpayer-supplied bureaucratic empires. The taxpayer is going to take an increasingly jaundiced view of any waste of their badly needed money, and that means that any public official that wants to keep his or her job is going to have to be a damn sight more responsive to that same taxpaying public. And so, they make the brave noise about initiating the debate. But, just like the cowardly Johnny Pee, who first broached the subject of debate and then back-pedaled furiously when reformers took him up on it, they'll try to squirm their way out of it.Not this time. Too much is riding on this. We are in almost exactly the same place this nation was in during the Great Depression, when we could no longer afford funding for alcohol Prohibition. And so drug prohibition must end, lest it become one of the reasons for a societal collapse, because too much was spent on it and not enough on social safety net programs for desperate people...who will have nothing to lose and everything to gain by turning criminally feral.So, yes, now they want a which any reformer armed with the facts will rhetorically slaughter a prohib opponent. Now they want to sound like the voice of reason, when before they had, as ol' Tom Paine put it, 'renounced' its' use. All because people are getting fed up...and that anger just might boil over into something more than harsh words.
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Comment #7 posted by disvet13 on May 17, 2011 at 09:18:11 PT:
ever hear of E.A.J.A. (equal access to justice act)? it was when newt proudly proclaimed the re-invention of government. it was a new funding for lawyers. every lawyer in america now bills the government for any case work done on social security, workers comp, veterans disability. depending on which state the lawyer is domiciled predicates how much the lawyer gets paid. some states pay 120.00 some states 150.00, per hour, plus the lawyer still gets the percentage of the backpay. now you know where your tax dollars are going, and why it takes years and years for the working class to get their disabilities, take it from a disabled veteran who has worked on numerous claims for veterans, for free, the newt is a lawyer for lawyers. they've stolen the wealth of america since 1988, that's why government just started robbing what's left of the social security and medicare funds. lawyers cost a lot don't they? just wait until the newt starts his campaign for his new reinvented government. disabled veterans will be on the list of entitlements with the biggest cuts. 
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on May 16, 2011 at 18:36:16 PT
I agree.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on May 16, 2011 at 17:17:41 PT
Obama's address at BTWHS in Memphis
I liked what he said. A lot.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on May 16, 2011 at 15:32:42 PT
What a nice jesture. I turned on ABC News to see if they will have it on.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on May 16, 2011 at 14:57:30 PT
Off Topic. (But go Reform Advocates of Colorado!)
I liked this article. Some of you might, too.Obama offers surprise face time to Memphis high school seniors
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on May 16, 2011 at 05:25:22 PT
Newt Gingrich 
Now We're hearing Newt Gingrich is running for Prez. for the Republicans. Remember Newt?He was for medical use of the superplant. Newt Gingrich's Letter Supporting Medical Marijuana
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on May 16, 2011 at 05:15:17 PT
Washington then Colorado
I honestly hope Washington state citizens win this year and becomes the 1st state to RE-legalize the superplant.Colorado will either be next or 1st. We'll beat California to be 1st by an hour in that race.In fact, that may be one more motivating reason for Washington voters to show up at the poll. -To beat Colorado and everyone else to the national historic record books.
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