Pubdate: Mon, 17 Oct 2016
Source: Summit Daily News (CO)
Copyright: 2016 Summit Daily News
Author: Stan White


Re: "Colorado Amendment 71 tries to cut down on constitutional red 
tape," Oct. 4.

I disagree with (County Commissioner) Dan Gibb's claim that Summit
County voters "don't have a say" regarding the initiative process.
Further, stating Amendment 71 has bipartisan support neglects the fact
that opposition to Amendment 71 also enjoys bipartisan support, but
more importantly includes the private sector, which is the vast
majority of voters, rather than a list of inconvenienced

One of the clearest examples of potential harm Amendment 71 may cause
comes from realizing it could have prevented Colorado voters from
ending cannabis prohibition. Summit County and other rural mountain
communities played an important part in that successful initiative
process and we should continue having access to it, left unchanged,
for when politicians fail citizens. Nationally, politicians either
ignore this important issue or fight against it, frustrating the
majority of citizens who want to end cannabis prohibition.

Colorado's initiative process is already sufficiently difficult. To
make things worse, politicians also have resorted to devious measures
to prevent the process from working. An example is in 1998 with
Colorado's attempted medical cannabis amendment. It should have been
placed on the ballot, but Secretary of State Vicky Buckley said
citizens did not have enough signatures. A lawsuit forced a recount,
which she still said was short. All this occurred late and the
election ballot contained the amendment question, but Buckley refused
to count it, stating it did not have enough petition signatures. Then,
Buckley died unexpectedly, and after her death, boxes of petition
sheets were found in her office and a recount of all the signatures
initiated by proponents proved the state made a mistake. A judge then
ordered the medical marijuana question be placed on the ballot again
on Nov. 7, 2000.

Previously, it was known as Amendment 19, but when a Colorado judge
placed it on the election ballot, it was labeled Amendment 20, and
citizens across the great state of Colorado were asked to vote "4
- -20." And it passed.

Another example to expose 71's flaws is Florida, which voted
overwhelmingly to allow sick citizens to use cannabis, yet their
initiative failed because it required more than 50 percent of the vote.

Ending cannabis prohibition through Colorado's constitution also makes
it difficult for prohibitionist politicians to sidestep voters, which
they've tried to do. By extension, our successful ability to use the
initiative process in Colorado is helping end cannabis prohibition
throughout the country including states that do not have the
initiative process.

So, if Amendment 71 is not good for Colorado voters, who is it good
for? Examples to help answer that question include how grass-roots
efforts use the initiative process to do things such as label food
products only to have large corporations spend huge sums of money to
stop those efforts. Politicians may like these types of amendments due
to their ability to gain endorsement money during future election
campaigns from large corporations.

Most citizens value a government of the people, by the people, for the
people. Ending or watering down Colorado's initiative process removes
power from the people and puts it in the hands of politicians and

Vote no on Amendment 71. When politicians take away every granule of
sand from the beach, we are left with nothing.

Stan White

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MAP posted-by: Matt