Pubdate: Wed, 08 Nov 2006
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2006 The Denver Post Corp
Author: Felisa Cardona, Denver Post Staff Writer


Most Colorado voters just said "no" Tuesday to legalizing small
amounts of marijuana for recreational use.

Under Amendment 44, adults ages 21 and older would have been allowed
to possess and use up to an ounce of marijuana without facing a $100

Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, or SAFER, launched the
statewide campaign to legalize pot after a successful initiative in
Denver last year.

Although the Denver measure made pot technically legal in the city,
Denver police are using state law to continue to fine people $100 who
are caught with marijuana.

The only Coloradans currently allowed to possess up to an ounce of
marijuana are those who need it for medicinal purposes, which is legal
under a state law that passed six years ago.

Mason Tvert, SAFER's campaign director, argued through the election
season that marijuana is a safer alternative to alcohol.

On Tuesday, he said he knew that it would be a tough battle to change
"75 years of marijuana prohibition overnight.

"It's quite clear that a number of people in Colorado are in agreement
that marijuana prohibition is not working," Tvert said. "We think this
is the first step in a 5- to 10-year process."

SAFER dropped $60,000 into the campaign, and Tvert said he sees the
money as well-spent because Coloradans began to have a conversation
about whether marijuana should be legalized.

"It's not an issue that is going away," he said. "There is a big
effort to change these laws."

Amendment 44 opponents were pleased Tuesday that the initiative
failed, saying legalization would increase teen drug use.

"I think the people of Colorado have spoken," said Beverly Kinard,
founder of Guarding Our Children Against Marijuana. "They care about
Colorado, they care about the families of Colorado and they are taking
a stand against the drug movement."

Kinard said if another effort is made to legalize any drugs in
Colorado, her group will continue to fight it.

Staff writer Felisa Cardona can be reached at 303-954-1219  
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