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Parent Group Announces Support for Pot Measure

LdyLunatic

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Colorado -- A group of parents gathered outside the State Capitol yesterday to announce their support for a ballot initiative to legalize the statewide possession of up to one ounce of marijuana in Colorado. Guarding Our Children Against Marijuana Prohibition believes that marijuana prohibition is harming children.
“We need to rethink marijuana prohibition and what it says about the priorities of Colorado and this nation,” said Jessica Peck Corry, co-founder of the organization.

“The science shows that marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol and for our children’s sake it is time we treat it that way.”

Joining Corry at the press conference was Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) campaign director Mason Tvert, Democratic activist Barbara Harvey and Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Dawn Winkler. SAFER is pushing for Amendment 44, which aims at passing similar statewide legislation as Denver’s Initiative 100, which passed last year and legalized the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older.

Supporters discussed how they feel as parents about marijuana prohibition. They pointed to statistics that indicate that 86 percent of high school seniors say marijuana is “very easy” or “fairly easy” to get. The parental group said because of misleading propaganda, 12- to 17-year-olds believe smoking marijuana once or twice a week is more dangerous than having five or more drinks once or twice a week.

“Our government has done such a good job demonizing marijuana that young people think smoking marijuana once or twice a week is equally as risky as trying the potentially deadly drug heroin,” said Tvert.

SAFER appealed a decision by the Legislative Council last week that will include language in the state voters’ guide indicating that Amendment 44 would allow people to transfer up to one ounce of marijuana to juveniles 15 and older as long as there is no compensation. Tvert said the initiative would in no way allow for that because the measure would still prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from being in possession of marijuana. Because Colorado law makes it a Class 4 felony for anyone to induce, aid, or encourage a child under the age of 18 to violate any state or federal law, it would remain a felony for a person to give marijuana to someone under the age of 18.

Colorado District Court Judge John McMullen dismissed the case last Wednesday based on a lack of jurisdiction. House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, speaking for the Legislative Council, decided not to amend the language. Romanoff said it was not the Council’s job in the first place to correct errors or conflicts in the way proponents word initiatives.

To which Tvert replied:

“This is entirely false. It is not the proponents’ duty to point this out. It was the Legislative Services’ job when we originally drafted the language to submit as an initiative, then it was the Title Board’s job during the ballot title hearings, then it was Legislative Council’s job during the ballot analysis drafting, then it was Romanoff’s committee’s job during the hearing.”

Nevertheless, SAFER and its parental supporters are forging ahead and proposed yesterday legislation that would erase any doubt about the impact of Amendment 44 on individuals under the age of 21, assuming the measure passes in November. The legislation the coalition is recommending would ensure that the current fine for transfers of small amounts of marijuana to individuals 18 to 20 years old is retained and the statutory fine for transferring less than an ounce of marijuana to individuals 15 to 17 years old is doubled.

Today, local physicians will be joined by Colorado Lt. Governor Jane Norton and national drug policy and prevention experts to conduct a news conference to announce a grassroots campaign urging voters to vote no on Amendment 44.

Opponents of Amendment 44 will discuss statistics that reveal that today’s marijuana is more powerful and more addictive than it was a generation ago, said a spokesperson for the group.

The group suggests that of all teenagers in drug treatment, about 62 percent have a primary marijuana diagnosis.

The coalition plans to conduct a series of educational presentations called Colorado Marijuana Lectures designed to educate Colorado citizens on the dangers of marijuana. Experts affiliated with the group claim that legalizing marijuana will make Colorado the No. 1 drug tourist destination in America.

Source: Denver Daily News (CO)
Author: Peter Marcus
Published: September 19, 2006
Copyright: 2006 Denver Daily News
 

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