A meeting to determine the final wording of the pros and cons of Amendment 64 took an unexpected turn last week when Legislative Council member Sen. Mark Scheffel, R-Parker, initiated a series of votes that ended up with some supportive language being removed from the state voters' blue book.
From the deleted passages: "The use of marijuana by adults may be less harmful than the use of alcohol or tobacco, both of which are already legal for adults to use and are regulated by the state. Furthermore, marijuana may be beneficial for individuals with certain debilitating conditions. The consequences of burdening adults with a criminal record for the possession of small amounts of marijuana are too severe, and there are better uses for state resources than prosecuting such low-level crimes."
Sensing shenanigans, and citing confusion among committee members at the time of the vote, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has filed suit in Denver district court "seeking a Preliminary Injunction asking the court to direct the Legislative Council Staff to reinsert the deleted arguments," says a release. "It also filed to obtain a Temporary Restraining Order over the weekend to prevent the Legislative Council Staff from sending the blue book to print with the improper modification."
At the same time, some members of the medical marijuana community — themselves divided about backing the amendment due to fears its passage would bring a bigger federal backlash against MMJ — have taken the opportunity to support the modifications. "We urge the Legislative Council to not adopt any language that would further mislead or confuse Colorado voters concerning Amendment 64," reads an e-mail from advocates Kathleen Chippi and Rico Colibri, with Cannabis Alliance for Regulation and Education, "and advise that if such changes are made through litigation or otherwise we will be forced to take legal action."
The Denver Post reports the lawsuit will have its day in court on Wednesday, Sept. 12. Get updates at regulatemarijuana.org/blue-book.
• According to a recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the use of marijuana by Colorado youth decreased 2.8 percent between 2009 and 2011, reports the Huffington Post. Nationally, the rate rose by 2.3 percent.
"Teen marijuana usage has been going down in Colorado since the passage of our comprehensive medical marijuana regulatory model," said Mike Elliott, executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group.
• Though Rep. Paul Ryan told KRDO-TV last week that "the states should decide" their own marijuana laws, a spokesman with the campaign immediately backtracked, saying that the vice presidential candidate "agrees with Mitt Romney" that marijuana should be illegal.