Friday, May 20, 2011

Conglomerate files eight marijuana legalization initiatives, angers local supporters

Posted By on Fri, May 20, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Legalize_2012-_Marijuana_Legalization_Ballot_Initiatives.jpeg

Speaking off-the-record with several state-level politicians, a recurring theme regarding the potential power of Colorado's marijuana sector has been that it fails to mobilize, or agree or — God forbid, for any pro-prohibition folks — do both at the same time.

Medical marijuana lobbyists spend half their time arguing with each other, and the other half lobbying the state. Voter turnout among the MMJ community is always a question. (Locally, the lack of it may help explain the poor election showings for Sean Paige and Tom Gallagher.)

And now, a combination of Colorado-based, and national, organizations — the Marijuana Policy Project, the Drug Policy Alliance, SAFER and Sensible Coloradohave filed eight(!) different ballot questions seeking the legalization of marijuana in 2012; and not a single one from Boulder-based main-proponent group Legalize 2012. (See more on their efforts here.)

This lack of coordination and consultation has, as you might imagine, not gone over well with the group. Here's what Laura Kriho, also a spokeswoman for the Cannabis Therapy Institute, writes in the press release.

"Members of the Legalize 2012 campaign, who have been working on their own ballot initiative language for over a year, were shown a draft of one of the MPP/DPA initiatives only a few days ago," Kriho writes. "The MPP/DPA/SAFER/Sensible alliance never indicated that they were on the verge of filing. On the contrary, they had seemed open to listening to ideas from other groups in the state."

One of the initiatives, filed by SAFER (Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation), limits those 21-and-up to an ounce of marijuana at a time — currently, MMJ patients may possess two ounces, and anybody else caught with up to two ounces receives only a ticket and $100 fine — and includes a 15 percent state tax, presumably to draw governmental support.

"I'm not sure why they did this without telling anybody. Even the legislature gave us more notice to comment on their proposed legislation than they did," Kriho says in the release. "It really shows their bad faith. This is the same strategy that MPP/DPA used in 1998 in Colorado when they wrote Amendment 20. Their goal is to divide and ignore the grassroots, and win an initiative no matter what the initiative says."

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