Craig The campaign director for a Denver-based group leading the charge for pro-marijuana legislation said his organization "anxiously" awaits the response from a local drug task force that may have violated state campaign laws.
So far, that response hasn't come.
"Our response to that is 'no comment,'" said Dusty Schulze, task force commander of the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team.
In late September, GRAM-NET released a statement urging residents to vote against Amendment 44 - a question on the November general election ballot that, if approved, would legalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for anyone 21 or older. The eight-page release, which included information titled "The Truth about Marijuana," was attributed to eight officials in Moffat and Routt counties, including the sheriffs from both counties and the district attorney, who prosecutes cases in both counties.
On Friday, the Alcohol-Marijuana Equalization Initiative committee, a branch of the group Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, filed an open records request with GRAMNET. The group is trying to learn whether the drug task force broke state law by spending more than $50 preparing and distributing the release.
"It's against the law," said Mason Tvert, a campaign director for SAFER. "When the police break the law, it's a big deal. : And I would think our government using our tax dollars to break the law is a big deal."
Schulze said attorneys for GRAMNET would review the request before moving forward. The agency is composed of Moffat and Routt counties' law enforcement agencies.
SAFER conten-ds that GRAM-NET may have violated the Colorado Fair Campaign Practices Act, which prohibits state or local government from making campaign contributions to an issue committee advocating passage or defeat of a ballot initiative.
"Putting together such extensive materials must have taken many, many hours," Tvert said on Friday. "Based on the response to our records request - along with any other information we receive in the meantime about GRAMNET's involvement in the campaign - we will determine whether to bring this case before the Secretary of State."
The committee's request for information, filed under the Colorado Open Records Act, seeks access to all writings, public records and criminal records relating to GRAMNET's press release urging opposition to Amendment 44.
The request also seeks annual or hourly salary information for those who drafted, signed, reviewed or spent time working on the release. It also asks that the materials sought be made available as soon as possible.
As of Tuesday afternoon, SAFER had not received any of the information requested, Tvert said.
Robert J. Corry, a Denver attorney representing the SAFER committee, said GRAM-NET has three days to respond to the request. He said the committee would move forward with litigation if it does not have a response to the request by today.
Polling information suggests the November vote on Amendment 44 may be a close one. According to a poll released in late September by Survey USA, which gauged 532 likely Colorado voters, there are still a large number of undecided voters.
According to the poll, 29 percent of voters said they would vote in favor of the amendment, versus 36 percent in opposition; 35 percent said they were uncertain.
Proponents of Amendment 44 say the proposed legislation's aim is to stimulate debate, educate the public and free adults from the risk of breaking the law for a relatively harmless activity - using marijuana. They also said marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and adult possession should be treated the same under the law.
Opponents contend that the measure hinders both law enforcement and families, provides a gateway to more serious drug abuse and gives drug dealers access to youths. They also say marijuana is a dangerous and addictive drug.