Marijuana Legalization’s Next Battleground: Colorado


Graphic: Wussup Hater

​Colorado will be the next battleground in the national conflict over marijuana legalization, according to Sam Kamin, a professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

Kamin’s statement followed local votes on medical marijuana bans throughout Colorado and the defeat of Proposition 19, which would have legalized limited amounts of marijuana for adults in California, reports Kyle Glazier at The Denver Post.

“California has had its chance,” said Kamin. “Colorado is the next obvious choice.”

Photo: SAFER
Mason Tvert: “Now it’s Colorado’s turn”

​”Now it’s Colorado’s turn,” said Mason Tvert of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER). “The campaign for legalization in Colorado begins today and will not end until we become the first — or one of the first — in the nation to establish a legal marijuana market for all adults.”
“SAFER has been working with the leaders of several organizations on plans for a statewide initiative in Colorado, and we will soon introduce a measure that would legalize marijuana and regulate it in a manner similar to alcohol,” Tvert said. “Over the past five years we have built a large coalition of organizations, elected officials, and citizens across the state, and now that the 2010 election is over, we are moving full-steam ahead with a plan to organize, mobilize, and energize our coalition and potential voters across Colorado.”
“Colorado and the cannabis community as a whole need to stand together and move towards being that first state who legalizes in some fashion,” activist Tim Martin of John Doe Radio told Toke of the Town on Thursday.
“To do it we need to avoid the politics and bickering that happened with the Prop 19 campaign, and understand the big picture and what passage of legalization could do towards changing the War on Drugs,” Martin told us.
The issue is very divisive in Colorado. According to a 9 News/Denver Post poll released last week, 46 percent of likely 2010 voters would have supported a legalization measure, while 43 percent would have opposed it. The poll echoes previous polls showing support for regulating marijuana at around 50 percent in the state.
Some municipalities voted in medical marijuana bans on Tuesday, while others decided to allow cannabis dispensaries to operate or to stay open.
Loveland voters overwhelmingly struck down, with a 62 percent vote, a measure that would have kept cannabis dispensaries open in the city. Broomfield County voters, too, banned medical marijuana sales. In Douglas County voters said no to dispensaries in unincorporated areas. A number of smaller towns, including Ramah, Lone Tree, Castle Pines and Jamestown also voted against medical marijuana sales.
But a proposal to ban dispensaries in unincorporated areas of El Paso County failed, albeit by less than one percent, according to unofficial results. And voters approved dispensaries in Alamosa, Costilla, Eagle, Garfield and Park, as well as the towns of Fraser and Minturn.
“With these votes, these communities have helped ensure that their neighbors have safe, community-based access to the medicine they need,” said Brian Vicente, executive director of cannabis advocacy group Sensible Colorado, calling the pro-marijuana votes “compassionate.”
The city of Pueblo took another option, enacting a 4.3 percent sales tax on medical marijuana that is expected to generate $500,000 in revenue in its first year alonbe.