Saturday, September 23, 2006
Pro and con
Read about Amendment 44 supporters, SAFER, at: www.safercolorado...>
Contact Amendment 44 opposition here:
Guarding Our Children Against Marijuana
729 Frankie Ln.
CaÃ±on City, CO 81212
On the 'Net
Information about all amendments and referenda on the 2006 statewide ballot can be found online, along with "blue book" analysis by legislative staff and contact information for supporters and opposition of each ballot issue. Log on to the Secretary of State's Web site at: www.sos.state.co.us/
Follow the "2006 General Election Amendments and Referenda" item under the site's "Quick Links."
Steamboat Springs Routt County Sheriff John Warner said the vast majority of people in the Routt County Jail are in custody for the same reason.
"What we see generally in the jail, I venture to say, is that at least 90 percent of the people brought to us are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Or the reason they're brought here is because of an alcohol or drug dependency," Warner said. "If somebody could figure out how to stop that substance abuse, our jails would be far less populated. And certainly, legalizing marijuana would not be a step in the right direction."
Warner adamantly opposes Amendment 44, which will be on the state ballot Nov. 7 and would legalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana for Colorado adults 21 years of age or older.
Supporters of Amendment 44 say the initiative is a question of choice and personal freedom, not just about the use of a drug that supporters say is less harmful and destructive than alcohol.
"For a long time now, I've believed that the war on drugs is a violation of our constitutional rights," said Mike Kien, an Oak Creek resident and Libertarian candidate for the state House of Representatives. "Your choice in recreational drug use should be equal - and drinking alcohol is obviously a more detrimental choice."
Warner called the idea that marijuana is safer than alcohol "fiction."
"I don't buy that at all," Warner said. "Marijuana, in my opinion, is the same as any other drug. If we legalize marijuana, then should we legalize cocaine? Sobriety is the only safe alternative."
Warner also said marijuana has become much more potent during the past 20 years, because of increasingly higher levels of the drug's active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
"It's like trying to measure the difference between beer and vodka," Warner said.
Support for Amendment 44 is spearheaded by the Denver group SAFER, or Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, led by Mason Tvert. The group's Web site states that, unlike alcohol, marijuana does not lead to overdose deaths, sexual assaults, domestic violence or violent crime.
The wording of Amendment 44 is simple.
"Shall there be an amendment to section 18-18-406 (1) of the Colorado revised statutes making legal the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana for any person twenty-one years of age or older?" reads the entire ballot language.
To Kien, the answer is simple.
"This nation spends $40 billion a year trying to put people in jail for victimless crimes," he said. "It's time to stop the insanity."
- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203 or e-mail email@example.com