Rocky Mountain High: Colorado Could Legalize Marijuana In 2012


Courtesy Mason Tvert
Marijuana’s momentum in Colorado is giving Mason Tvert plenty to smile about.

‚ÄčIf Mason Tvert and Brian Vicente — along all the marijuana users in Colorado — get their way, weed could become legal in the Rocky Mountain state in 2012.

Tvert and Vicente unveiled their plan Monday for a statewide initiative that will legalize pot for all Coloradans over 21.
If California’s 2010 ballot initiative to legalize fails, Colorado could become the national leader in the marijuana legalization movement. 
It’s going to be a challenge. Just three years ago, 60 percent of Colorado voters rejected a much less ambitious initiative that would have decriminalized an ounce or less of weed. But the political winds are shifting so rapidly, the legalization initiative’s chances are looking less like a long shot and more like a dogfight.

Denver led the way in 2005, passing a citywide initiative that decriminalized up to an ounce of pot, then ski town Breckenridge followed suit earlier this month with a similar measure. Tvert and Vicente believe the time is right to go statewide with the struggle.

‚ÄčTvert, who leads Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), a pro-marijuana organization, is also co-author of a new book, Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People To Drink? He’s successfully creating a catchy new meme: Marijuana is safer than alcohol. It’s a simple and powerful idea — and one with the facts behind it, as detailed in the book.
While Tvert has been concentrating on legalizing recreational use of pot, Vicente, a lawyer, is deeply involved in the state’s medical marijuana community. He leads Sensible Colorado, which shares office space with Tvert’s SAFER, and both are funded by the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project.
Vicente spends a lot of time consulting with dispensaries, assisting with court cases, and meeting with policy leaders across the state. Sensible Colorado will host a meeting of medical marijuana stakeholders on Dec. 19 at an as-yet undisclosed location at which the attendees will work on a strategy for a unified legislative agenda for 2010.