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MAPTalk-Digest Friday, December 30 2005 Volume 05 : Number 157

001 US CO: Pro-Pot Group Seeks State Vote
    From: Richard Lake <>
002 US CO: Pro-Pot Group Aims at State Law in '06
    From: Richard Lake <>
003 Re: DPFWI: US CA: Editorial: Marijuana Madness
    From: "D.H. Michon" <>


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Subj: 001 US CO: Pro-Pot Group Seeks State Vote
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2005 06:30:03 -0500

Newshawk: Your Donation Will Be Doubled http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm
Pubdate: Wed, 28 Dec 2005
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2005 The Denver Post Corp
Contact: 
Website: http://www.denverpost.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/122
Author: Christopher N. Osher, Denver Post Staff Writer
Cited: Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation http://www.safercolorado.org
Cited: Marijuana Policy Project http://www.mpp.org
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/pot.htm (Cannabis)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/decrim.htm (Decrim/Legalization)

PRO-POT GROUP SEEKS STATE VOTE

SAFER Will Pursue Ballot Initiative for November

Just two months after persuading Denver voters to legalize possession 
of small amounts of marijuana, proponents today will announce plans 
for a similar statewide initiative.

The group Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, or SAFER, will 
hold a news conference in front of the state Capitol today to 
announce its filing of a proposed 2006 statewide ballot initiative.

Mason Tvert, SAFER's campaign director, declined Tuesday to give 
specifics of the campaign. The group would have to gather 67,829 
signatures from registered voters to get the issue on the ballot.

The effort drew sharp criticism from Colorado Attorney General John 
Suthers, who said it would have a drastic impact on law-enforcement 
efforts in the state. While federal authorities could still pursue 
large-scale marijuana trafficking, local and state law-enforcement 
authorities would be forced to change their practices if the measure 
passed, Suthers said.

"On this statewide ballot initiative, law enforcement will weigh in 
significantly to say what a bad policy legalization would be," Suthers said.

While supporters of the initiative argue that marijuana is a benign 
drug that is safe compared with alcohol, Suthers said marijuana is 
addictive and could snare adolescents in more harmful behavior.

"If you want to have a debate for legalization of marijuana, then 
let's have a full-out debate, which I think this initiative will 
engender," Suthers said.

Nevada voters will face a similar ballot initiative next November 
that seeks to have marijuana taxed and regulated like alcohol.

Only two other states - Alaska and Nevada - have seen such 
initiatives since 2000, said Bruce Mirken, spokesman for the 
Marijuana Policy Project. Both of those initiatives were defeated, 
although they drew more support than past efforts, he said.

Denver residents in November passed Initiative 100 by 54 percent to 
46 percent. The measure changed the city's ordinance to make it legal 
for adults age 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana in 
the city. Denver and state police continue to cite individuals in the 
city under state law.

In Denver, SAFER ran a provocative campaign. It tried to draw Mayor 
John Hickenlooper into the fray by labeling him a hypocrite for 
selling alcohol in his brewpubs when he opposed the effort to 
legalize marijuana.

SAFER also drew fire from domestic-violence groups and eventually 
pulled a controversial billboard that showed a battered woman and her 
abuser with the slogan "Reduce family and community violence in 
Denver. Vote Yes on I-100."

John Straayer, a professor of political science at Colorado State 
University, said he suspects supporters of legalizing possession of 
marijuana will have a harder time passing a statewide measure because 
many areas of the state are more culturally conservative than Denver.

Still, he said, a libertarian strain among some conservatives could 
help draw support.

"I would bet 100 bucks it wouldn't pass," Straayer said. "But I 
wouldn't put my mortgage on the line." 

------------------------------

Subj: 002 US CO: Pro-Pot Group Aims at State Law in '06
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2005 07:14:56 -0500

Newshawk: DrugSense Hosts 122 Websites for Reform Organizations
Pubdate: Wed, 28 Dec 2005
Source: Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)
Copyright: 2005, Denver Publishing Co.
Contact: 
Website: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/371
Author: Alan Gathright, Rocky Mountain News
Cited: Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation http://www.safercolorado.org
Cited: Colorado Attorney General John Suthers http://www.ago.state.co.us
Cited: Marijuana Policy Project http://www.mpp.org
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/pot.htm (Cannabis)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/decrim.htm (Decrim/Legalization)

PRO-POT GROUP AIMS AT STATE LAW IN '06

Opposition Ready to Give Legalization Debate Center Stage

The same pro-pot group that persuaded Denver voters to approve a 
measure legalizing adult marijuana possession in the city is now 
firing up a statewide campaign to place an identical initiative on 
Colorado's fall 2006 ballot.

The group, Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, plans to hold 
a news conference this morning outside the State Capitol announcing 
the launch of the effort. The statewide "Colorado Alcohol-Marijuana 
Equalization Initiative," seeks voter approval to make it legal for 
people 21 or older to possess 1 ounce or less of weed.

Even if the measure passes, it would remain illegal for people to 
publicly display or smoke pot, sell it or drive under its influence.

The group will need nearly 68,000 voter signatures to qualify for the 
ballot, but SAFER Campaign Director Mason Tvert said he plans to 
gather about 100,000 signatures.

Tvert said the statewide campaign is largely driven by frustration 
that Denver authorities, rejecting voter passage of local Initiative 
100, continue to cite small-time marijuana violators under a state 
law that imposes a $200 fine for possession of an ounce or less. The 
initiative gives adults in Denver the right to privately possess that amount.

"Elected officials in Denver have been true to their word and 
completely ignored the will of the voters," Tvert told the Rocky 
Mountain News on Tuesday. "We only have one option left and that's to 
change state law."

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said he welcomed a "head-on, 
outright debate about legalization." He expressed frustration with 
the state medical marijuana initiative passed by voters in 2000, 
saying: "It was obviously advocated by legalization advocates, but 
they didn't want to take the issue on head-on."

"But," Suthers added, "my personal opinion is it would be terrible 
public policy to legalize possession of any amount of marijuana. The 
information that we now have is that marijuana is a dangerous drug."

Pro-pot forces also are itching for the coming battle.

"Bring it on," Tvert said. "I'll gladly challenge the attorney 
general to defend current public policy that pushes people to use a 
deadly drug (alcohol) when they otherwise might use a far less 
dangerous drug (marijuana)."

Countered Suthers: "The premise of this group seems to be that 
marijuana is better than alcohol, therefore it's OK. I just don't buy 
that. I never engage in the moral relativism that this is a lesser 
evil . . . therefore we ought to promote this evil."

The 23-year-old Tvert surprised political observers in the Nov. 1 
election by winning nearly 54 percent support to pass Initiative 100.

SAFER drew criticism from local leaders and made international 
headlines for an unconventional campaign that argued marijuana is a 
safer alternative to alcohol.

Now, Tvert already appears to be reaching out to Colorado's more 
conservative voters outside Denver by pitching the statewide measure 
as "a big issue of local rights and home-rule."

"If this initiative passes, it's not going to suddenly make marijuana 
completely legal for all adults in Colorado," Tvert stressed. "All 
home-rule cities and towns in Colorado, which is about 90 percent of 
the state's population, will have the ability to fine or penalize 
marijuana users if that's what they want to do."

"But in cities such as Denver, where . . . voters have chosen to 
allow residents to make the rational decision to use marijuana 
instead of alcohol, state law will no longer force police and 
prosecutors to punish marijuana users," he added.

Political analyst Eric Sondermann noted, "There are two huge 
differences" between pushing a pot measure in Denver and campaigning 
for one statewide.

It was easier to persuade Denver voters to pass a "primarily 
symbolic" measure, Sondermann added, because they knew it would have 
no consequences, given that Colorado drug policy is set by state law. 
"If and when they take this statewide, it will have consequences. 
They will be amending state statute."

More importantly, Sondermann said: "Delta is not Denver," referring 
to the conservative Western Slope town. "The biggest factor is simply 
the demographics, cultural attitudes and political performance are 
very, very different just going to the Denver suburbs. But 
particularly when you go to the outlying areas, they get 
night-and-day different."

Indeed, the day after Denver's pot initiative passed, Republican Gov. 
Bill Owens said he'd love to see a statewide marijuana showdown.

"The governor doesn't believe the Denver vote is representative of 
what the entire state vote would be on this issue," Owens' spokesman, 
Dan Hopkins, said Tuesday. "He believes that we would get an entirely 
different result."

"Obviously this is something that he doesn't support and wouldn't 
support," Hopkins added.

But national marijuana reform advocates think it's a mistake to 
dismiss SAFER's success.

"For anybody who would underestimate SAFER, I would say a lot of 
people underestimated them in Denver," said Bruce Mirken, spokesman 
for the national Marijuana Policy Project. The Washington, D.C-based 
group has qualified a statewide November measure in Nevada that asks 
voters to tax and regulate pot.

"I certainly wouldn't brush them off by any means," he added.

Mirken noted that SAFER convinced many Denver residents to rethink 
the marijuana issue and the local victory "means increased momentum 
for consideration of the whole issue."

Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown criticized SAFER's Initiative 
100 campaign for lawn signs reading "Make Denver SAFER," calling it a 
blatant attempt to fool voters into thinking it was an effort to fund 
more city police officers.

"Now that the word is out about how they, in my judgment, tried to 
mislead people, I hope that their statewide campaign is not based on 
mendacities and half-truths," Brown said. "I hope they can come 
straight with the Colorado voters and we'll see who wins."

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, while expressing concerns about 
marijuana being a "gateway drug" that can spawn harmful addictions, 
didn't actively campaign against Initiative 100.

The mayor's spokeswoman, Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, said she doubted 
Hickenlooper would take an active role against the measure. "Clearly, 
going statewide was always (SAFER's) strategy - and understandably so 
since municipal approaches like Initiative 100 are trumped by state 
law," she added.

[sidebar]

EASING POT LAWS

States that have passed laws imposing little or no fines and no jail 
time for possession of small amounts of marijuana:

Alaska

California

Colorado

Maine

Minnesota

Mississippi

Nebraska

Nevada

New York

N. Carolina

Ohio

Oregon

States that have passed medical marijuana laws:

Alaska

California

Colorado

Hawaii

Maine

Maryland

Montana

Nevada

Oregon

Vermont

Washington 

------------------------------

Subj: 003 Re: DPFWI: US CA: Editorial: Marijuana Madness
From: "D.H. Michon" <>
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 08:42:49 -0600

"Think Eliot Ness, ..."(sic?)
Ness, the great Prohibition hero who, for those who may not know, as it's 
been buried in forced obscurity lo these many years, ended his days in 
Cleveland, an abject dipsomaniac.
Dave

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End of MAPTalk-Digest V05 #157
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Media Awareness Project              /' _ ` _ `\ /'_`)('_`\
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