Pubdate: Fri, 26 Oct 2012
Source: Aspen Times, The  (CO)
Copyright: 2012 Aspen Times
Author: Frosty Merriott


Dear Editor:

As a member of the Board of Trustees for the town of Carbondale, I 
believe it is my responsibility to carefully consider how each ballot 
measure affects our community. After reading and reflecting on the 
failures of our nation's drug policy, I am announcing my endorsement 
of Amendment 64. I also am speaking for myself and as the father of a 
teenage girl and not for the Carbondale Board of Trustees.

Amendment 64 should generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new 
tax revenues and law enforcement savings over the coming decade. The 
first $40 million raised annually is dedicated to fund public-school 
construction. Our schools need the new revenue, and this law funds 
schools without raising state income or property taxes. Regulating 
marijuana will take jobs away from cartels and give them to 
tax-paying Coloradans. Amendment 64 also will end the prohibition on 
farming industrial hemp, which has no psychoactive properties and can 
be used for paper, cloth, fuel and food. This opportunity will allow 
Colorado farmers to corner the market on this highly demanded 
agricultural crop.

Regulating marijuana for adults 21 and older and placing it behind a 
counter like alcohol will make it harder, not easier, for teens to 
access. Replacing an uncontrolled underground market with a tightly 
controlled system of regulation is smart policy. Plus, it will 
eliminate a key source of funding for drug cartels and will allow the 
state and local communities to redirect their limited law enforcement 
resources toward violent and harmful crimes.

I, like many other Coloradans, am proud of our healthy state. So I 
did the research and learned that government studies comparing the 
harms of marijuana and alcohol have concluded that marijuana is less 
harmful than alcohol. It is less addictive, less damaging to the body 
and far less likely to trigger violent behavior. It seems obvious 
that adults who prefer marijuana over alcohol should not be made 
criminals for making that choice.

Coloradans understand what is best for our families and communities. 
Marijuana prohibition has been a costly and unmitigated disaster. 
Let's regulate marijuana for adults and tax it.

Join me in voting "yes" on 64.

Frosty Merriott

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