Pubdate: Wed, 01 Feb 2012
Source: Advocate (CO Edu)
Copyright: 2012 Advocate
Author: Amy Thompson, Copy Editor


Colorado Leads the Way for Legal Reform

With several potential amendments shaping up to combat marijuana
prohibition, Colorado is one of several states that may pass
significant marijuana reform laws in 2012. With legalization showing
strong support so far, activists are speculating that this may be the
year marijuana laws are altered to accommodate recreational users.

The Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry was passed in 2000 as
Amendment 20, which allows medical patients with debilitating
conditions to register a medical marijuana card and purchase the
medicine legally. This year, Colorado voters will ask themselves
whether similar or even more liberal freedoms will be given to those
without medical need.

Denver was the first city in the nation to draw comparison between
marijuana and alcohol use in 2005 with a law that made legal the
possession of the drug by those 21 and over. The next year brought the
first statewide bid for similar regulations, but Amendment 44 was
rejected by a 60 percent majority, according to However,
legalization activists are searching for other ways to change Colorado
marijuana regulation.

"I think Colorado is ready to create a legal market for weed because
it's safer than alcohol and we have more important issues," said CU
Denver student Crystal Baum.

On the front lines is the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, which
does pretty much exactly what the name implies. The law will legalize
the production of industrial hemp and the use of marijuana by adults,
as well as create a legal, regulated market for it. Supporters of
Initiative 30 claim that it will not only defer law enforcement to
more serious crimes, but will also bring in revenue for the state in
the form of taxation. However, some marijuana legalization activists
disagree with the initiative, asserting that regulation is not true
legalization because it still allows for criminal penalties.

In an effort to decriminalize marijuana completely, Michelle Lamay
drafted an alternative initiative for the ballot. The founder of
Cannabis University, which provides marijuana cultivation education,
received title approval from the state board on Jan. 18 for a simple
resolution to Colorado marijuana laws and regulation. Initiative 40,
which is tentatively called the Relief for Possession of Cannabis Act,
would prohibit courts from imposing any sentences or fines for the
possession of cannabis.

"I am pro-legalization, but I'm still skeptical about Initiative 40
because it doesn't place a limit on the amount of cannabis someone can
have," said UCD student Byll Goodwin.

Lamay has said that the initiative will focus campaigning on rural
areas as well as on those who are undecided on the issue.

The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act has already submitted nearly
twice the number of required signatures to appear on the Nov. 6
ballot, which indicates strong support for Initiative 40 as well. And
when Coloradans vote on Nov. 6, 2012, the results on marijuana law
will no doubt shape the rest of the nation's decision.
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.