Colorado Marijuana Regulation Ballot Initiatives Taking Shape

colorado cannabis amendment 64

Title Board Removes Words from Ballot Titles

The Colorado Title Board has held two hearings recently to set the ballot titles for the eight marijuana regulation ballot initiatives submitted by MPP/DPA/Sensible and SAFER. At the Title Board hearing on June15, 2011, the Title Board removed the word "legalization" from the ballot title, at the request of the authors of the initiative, who did not want to confuse voters. They said their ballot initiative was NOT legalization, as the term is commonly understood. At the Title Board hearing on July 6, 2011, the Board removed the phrase "similar to alcohol" from the title, at the request of a citizen complaint, because the phrase might also be misleading to voters.

The Title Board sets the ballot titles for the initiatives, which are the short descriptions of the ballot initiative that voters see on the ballot. The title must describe the initiative fairly and accurately and must not be misleading to voters.

At the first Title Board hearing on June 15, the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER proponents clarified that their initiatives should not be considered "legalization" and argued successfully to have the word "legalization" removed from their ballot titles. also attended that hearing and testified that they agreed that the MPP initiative did not constitute true legalization. Legalize2012 said they wanted to reserve the word "legalization" for their ballot initiative, currently being written with input from across the state. Legalize2012 testified to the Title Board that they would be "happy to own" the term "legalization."

Steve Fox, a Washington D.C. lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project and the main co-author of the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiatives, agreed that should have that term. Fox testified that Legalize2012 representatives "made our point better than we have, which is, legalization is not what this is." Fox continued to say that "said it clearly, and they're going to propose an initiative regarding the legalization of marijuana. What we are doing is regulating marijuana. There is a significant legal difference. It would be inaccurate to call this legalization."

Colorado Marijuana

Mason Tvert of SAFER and their attorney Ed Ramey both also argued that their initiatives consisted of more regulation, not less. They stated that their initiative was definitely not "legalization" as the term is commonly understood.

At the second Title Board hearing on July 6, Colorado citizen Corey Donahue argued that the Title Board should remove the phrase "similar to alcohol" from the MPP initiative because it was misleading to voters, leading them to think that this would be "as legal as alcohol", when clearly it was not. Donahue wanted the Board to substitute the phrase "similar to medical marijuana and enforced through the Department of Revenue," arguing that it would be a more accurate description of the proponents' intent.

Donahue argued that the MPP initiative treats marijuana much differently than alcohol. For instance, Donahue said the MPP initiative sets a one-ounce limit for purchase of marijuana, and the product itself is more similar to medical marijuana than alcohol. Donahue also argued that, unlike alcohol, marijuana is illegal under federal law. In addition, Donahue argued that since the MPP initiative gives preferential treatment to *medical* marijuana producers, not *alcohol* producers, that it is clearly modeled after medical marijuana laws, not alcohol laws. Donahue thought the phrase "similar to alcohol" would be misleading to voters.

Denver Attorney Ed Ramey, representing the proponents of the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiatives, stated that the proponents did not want to risk confusing voters and agreed to take the phrase "similar to alcohol" out of the ballot title. The Title Board agreed, and removed the phrase "similar to alcohol" from the title. However the Board voted not to insert the phrase "with enforcement through the Department of Revenue."

The Associated Press reports that the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER ballot initiatives will begin to be circulated this week.

Click here to read the eight initiatives (#29 thru #36):

LEGALIZE 2012 WILL HAVE A TRUE LEGALIZATION INITIATIVE IN 2012 Fear not! For those of you who want to see cannabis taken out of the hands of the Department of Revenue armed regulatory agents and end the long
compliance nightmare that is making it impossible for anyone but the very rich to participate in Colorado's highly-regulated cannabis industry (oligopoly), the campaign is working to write a "true
legalization" ballot initiative for the November 2012 ballot that will guarantee more reasonable regulations.

Colorado Capital

Polls show that 49% of Colorado citizens favor "legalization" of marijuana.
Let's give the voters of Colorado what they want!

The campaign hopes that the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER campaign will refrain from using the terms "legalization" and "similar to alcohol" in their campaign marketing, as this will also mislead voters. They have been inaccurately promoting their ballot initiative as "legalization" for months. Today, SAFER still has a "Colorado Legalization 2012" banner on their website. Since they argued themselves to remove the phrase "legalization" from the ballot title, it seems disingenuous for them to use it in their campaign slogans:

GREAT LEGALIZATION DEBATES OF 2012 -- ROUND TWO is having another open debate on language for the Colorado True Legalization Initiative on Aug. 10, 2011 at Casselman's (2620 Walnut, Denver, CO) at 7pm. The Great Legalization Debate -- Round Two, will feature many people who have ideas on how a truly workable law can be written in Colorado and passed, without unnecessary harassment and interference from Department of Revenue armed regulators. Round One
featured Mason Tvert of the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiatives, but since he has refused to change their language, it is clear that they are not interested in working with these other groups. Sadly, the pro-DOR alliance has chosen to go a different direction, but we won't let that deter us from the mission we started in May 2010: To bring real cannabis legalization to Colorado.


This educational information has been provided by:
"Take the Greed Out of the Weed"
Phone: 877-420-4205