Pubdate: Tue,  7 Sep 2004
Source: Daily Camera (CO)
Copyright: 2004 The Daily Camera.
Author: Kate Larsen, Camera Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Popular)


Libertarians Form Chapter to Advocate Legal Marijuana

Boulder County is getting normal - well, a NORML chapter

Two local Libertarians got word last week from the National
Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws that their Boulder
County chapter is official. Longmont resident Paul Tiger and Boulder
resident Jeff Christen-Mitchell are hoping to grow the chapter beyond
its current five members.

"We decided that, look, there's a whole mess of card-carrying NORML
members in the county and no organization to support them," Tiger
said. There are about 105 NORML chapters nationwide. The Boulder
chapter will bring the number in Colorado to two. The other chapter is
at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

A chapter previously existed at the University of Colorado, but folded
a few years ago.

"Boulder is sort of a natural place to have a chapter," said Kris
Krane, associate director of NORML.

In addition to lobbying for the decriminalization of marijuana, Krane
said the nonprofit also tries to fight the stereotype often associated
with its users.

"Most pot smokers are good citizens; they pay taxes and raise
families," Krane said. "We don't feel they should be treated as
criminals and we shouldn't be using taxpayers' dollars to do so."

NORML also supports a legally controlled market for

Tiger, who is running for the District 2 seat on the Boulder County
Board of Commissioners, said he's upset that federal law enforcement
is cracking down on Coloradans using marijuana for medical purposes.

In 2000, Colorado voters approved Amendment 20, which legalizes
marijuana use for people who can legally claim a medical need. Those
on the state registry may possess 2 ounces of marijuana and six
marijuana plants and smoke or eat marijuana in their home.

"We want to educate legislators that the government - the federal
government - is infringing on the state; and here in Boulder County
see an end to the drug task force," Tiger said.

The Boulder County Drug Task Force isn't following its original charge
to crack down on hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine and
methamphetamine, Tiger said.

Instead, the largely county-funded group spends it time busting
marijuana offenders, he said.

"Marijuana is an illegal drug on the books," said Lt. Steve Prentup,
head of the Boulder County Drug Task Force. "We're charged with a task
to enforce the law."

Prentup said that while the task force's name may sound ominous, it's
really just a way to collaborate law enforcement agencies from
multiple jurisdictions. Less than 3 percent of local law enforcement
resources go to drug enforcement, he said.

Christen-Mitchell, a founding member of the new Boulder NORML chapter,
said what law enforcement is doing isn't working.

He hopes the local chapter will spark others in Colorado.

"Our next step is to try to organize at the state level,"
Christen-Mitchell said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake