Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mason Tvert: the marijuana man of Colorado

Posted By on Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 3:51 PM

click to enlarge The cover of the Indy's April 27, 2006 issue.
  • The cover of the Indy's April 27, 2006 issue.
POLITICO's new magazine may have debuted to mixed reactions — the Washington Post likes it, while the best that Salon's Alex Pareene could say about it was that "It’s magaziney" and "The articles are long" — but it does contain an interesting look at Colorado marijuana pioneer Mason Tvert. Former head of SAFER, newish communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project and all-round bud backer, he's a constant in the news, as even our links attest.

The Washington, D.C., news org bizarrely calls him "The Don Draper of Pot" — I guess you've got to title your story something — and it's clear in there that Tvert's news-making habits are nothing new.

"Fox’s favorite ploy came when Tvert challenged John Hickenlooper, then Denver’s mayor and now Colorado’s governor, along with beer magnate Pete Coors, to a contest," Caleb Hannan writes. "The rules of the contest were simple: Tvert would take a puff on a joint for every beer that Hickenlooper and Coors drank. ... Neither the mayor nor Coors showed, of course. But the press did. And when Hickenlooper’s office released a statement later, it ended up sounding a lot like a flattering summation of Tvert’s abilities as a campaigner: 'You’ve got to hand it to Mason,' it read, 'he’ll do anything to get into the news.'"

We first brought word of Tvert back in 2006, when our Michael de Yoanna wrote a cover piece on the then-23-year-old. This was long before Tvert helped push through Amendment 64, but it shows a man on this way.

"Aided by a laptop and some 400 volunteers around Colorado, two dozen hailing from the Colorado Springs area, Tvert and a full-time campaign assistant are leading the push to get the 68,000 valid signatures needed to place the marijuana initiative on the ballot," the story reads. "Their effort is referred to as SAFER, or Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation."

Curiously, for a man pushing public acceptance of the substance, Tvert declines to tell POLITICO whether or not he partakes of pot or not. Then again, that's been the case for seven years, as Yoanna first learned: "I don't answer that on the record," he was told, "because I don't think it is pertinent."

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