Marijuana Measure Raises Stink

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Denver -- Amendment 44 would make it legal to give up to 1 ounce of marijuana to anyone ages 15 through 20, as long as no money changes hands or other compensation is involved, according to a ballot-information booklet the Legislature has prepared for Colorado voters. “This was not our intention,” Amendment 44 proponent Mason Tvert insisted to members of the Legislative Council last week.
It’s also untrue, Tvert said Monday, because anyone giving marijuana to anyone under age 18 could still be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Tvert, a spokesman for Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, announced Monday that SAFER intends to go to court to try to postpone production of the voters’ guides because of the inaccurate analysis his organization contends the booklet gives for Amendment 44.

Amendment 44 seeks to make it legal under state drug laws for anyone age 21 and older to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana. Under current Colorado law, anyone of any age caught possessing an ounce or less of marijuana can be charged with a Class 2 petty offense, punishable by a fine of up to $100.

However, the Legislature’s staff has told lawmakers that Amendment 44 would also void another aspect of the state’s current drug law against possessing small amounts of marijuana: a prohibition that also makes it a “possession” offense to transfer up to 1 ounce to another person.

That’s a petty offense now, also punishable by a $100 fine, as long as there is no payment or other compensation for that marijuana transfer.

“This initiative was only intended to address the possession of marijuana by adults,” Tvert told state lawmakers on the Legislative Council last week.

“We do not believe that the use or possession of marijuana by minors, especially by individuals under the age of 18, should be legal,” Tvert said at a Thursday hearing on language legislative staffers had drafted for the Amendment 44 section of the voters’ guide.

Tvert said SAFER would propose that next year’s Legislature adopt a bill “to cure this matter” if voters approve Amendment 44 in November.

Tvert said last week that SAFER is asking lawmakers to make it a $100 fine for the noncompensated transfer of less than an ounce of marijuana to 18- 19- or 20-year-olds, and a $200 fine to give marijuana to 15-, 16- or 17-year-olds.

Tvert said Monday that initiative proponents discovered after last week’s Legislative Council meeting that another section of Colorado law makes it a Class 4 felony — punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 — to aid or encourage a child under age 18 to violate any federal or state law.

At the very least, Tvert suggested, the voters’ guide language should be rewritten to say that Amendment 44 would make it legal to transfer, without compensation, small amounts of marijuana to individuals “18 years of age or older,” Tvert said Monday.

Giving any amount of marijuana to an individual under age 15 is now — and under Amendment 44, would continue to be — a Class 4 felony crime.

Tvert noted that the measure also would keep it a petty offense, punishable by a fine of up to $100, for anyone under age 21 to possess marijuana, if Amendment 44 passes.

Note: Amendment 44 proponent disputes bluebook analysis.

Newshawk: Global_Warming
Source: Daily Reporter-Herald (CO)
Author: John Fryar, The Daily Reporter-Herald
Published: September 12, 2006
Copyright: 2006 The Daily Reporter-Herald
 

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