Our View: Vote 'no' on 44

Advertisement

We believe that America's 30-year war on drugs has been a costly and unproductive national failure. We believe there has to be a better way and that the progressive decriminalization of certain drugs may be a significant part of the solution.

That said, we cannot support Amendment 44, which would amned the C9olorado Revised Statutes to legalize possession of one ounce or less of marijuana by adults ages 21 or older. There simply is no justifiable reason for the law.

Proponents of Amendment 44 argue that it "strikes a balance between individual choice and public safety." They argue that marijuana is a safer alternative to alcohol and that possession of a small amount of marijuana should be a matter of personal choice. They also argue that legalizing such possession would ease unnecessary strains on law enforcement and the courts system.

We agree that, in many ways, alcohol use has brought more harm to society than marijuana use. So, too, has tobacco.

But the fact that alcohol and cigarettes are legal is not a legitimate argument for legalizing marijuana. As the saying goes, "Two wrongs don't make a right."

There also are practical problems with Amendment 44. The amendment would make it legal to possess an ounce of marijuana, but it would still be illegal to buy and sell marijuana. It seems illogical to make legal something that first requires an illegal act.

We also don't believe that cases involving possession of small amounts of marijuana are clogging the court system. Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana already is a Class 2 petty offense in Colorado, punishable by a fine of up to $100. For comparison, here are some other Class 2 petty offenses: Theft by scalping a lift ticket, littering on public or private property and theft of transportation by taking the bus without paying the proper fare.

Finally, Amendment 44 would create conflicting state and federal laws. The case of Routt County's Don Nord, a medicinal marijuana user, is an example. Nord had a state permit to use marijuana medicinally, but that didn't prevent the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team - a federally funded law enforcement agency - from raiding his home and seizing his marijuana. As the Nord case showed, a state amendment can't keep officers from enforcing federal law.

We would welcome a debate on our national drug policies. We would welcome more money for prevention, education and treatment and less for enforcement. We would welcome reform, including appropriate decriminalization of certain drugs such as marijuana. But these are all issues best handled on the federal, not state, level.

Amendment 44 isn't needed and conflicts with federal law. Because possession of marijuana is largely decriminalized already, its greatest impact would be symbolic.

Vote "no" on Amendment 44.

Comments

waylefts 8 years, 2 months ago

The editor's arguments for a no vote on 44 are not a very convincing one. It appears that they struggled to find reasons not to support this amendment and actually voice their support for reform of these laws. Here's an example: "We would welcome reform, including appropriate decriminalization of certain drugs such as marijuana." To me, it appears that the editors for this paper actually support this amendment but are afraid of what the community would think of them if they voiced support. Here's another example from their opening paragraph: "We believe that America's 30-year war on drugs has been a costly and unproductive national failure. We believe there has to be a better way and that the progressive decriminalization of certain drugs may be a significant part of the solution." I'm confused!!!!!

0

Scott Stanford 8 years, 2 months ago

Please note:

The Editorial Board erred in the original version of this editorial. Amendment 44 would change the Colorado Revised Statutes. It is not a constitutional amendment. The editorial has been modified to correct this error and a correction will appear in print.

Scott Stanford Editor, Steamboat Pilot & Today (970) 871-4221 sstanford@steamboatpilot.com

0

underdog6 8 years, 2 months ago

The only way to change the failed Federal policy on marijuana is that states such as Colorado and Nevada push this issue forward. The government has refused to adopt any rational change even in the face of its own studies which document that marijuana is not a gateway drug, is about as addictive as coffee and has never caused an overdose death.

Federal bureaucrats push anti-marijuana enforcement dollars out to nearly every department of federal and state government. Our government agencies have literally become addicted to the drug money flowing out of Washington. Any rational change in marijuana policy WILL not start at the federal level.

The Feds can come in and arrest whenever they like, but the jury has the right to declare the individual "not guilty".

When Amendment 44 passes, I'm confident that our bright legislators will develop a system of regulated distribution for marijuana similar to how we regulate and tax alcohol. According to a national study the "Budgetary Impact of Marijuana Prohibition", Colorado spends about $64 million annually trying to enforce marijuana prohibition and forgos about $17 million in tax that could have been collected.

It is beyond time to end Marijuana Prohibition. Please vote YES on Amendment 44.

0

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.