Marijuana legalization campaign for 2012 starts tomorrow if Proposition 19 passes or not

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Support for Proposition 19, a California measure to legalize marijuana for adult use, is falling according to a recent poll.

But backers of a similar law in Colorado aren't waiting to find out if Prop. 19 passes. They've created a website, Legalize2012.com, and will be formally launching their campaign at an event tomorrow.

Among the driving forces behind Legalize2012.com is Laura Kriho of the Cannabis Therapy Institute. And while she makes it clear that she's in favor of Prop. 19 -- "We hope it passes; that'll be better for our momentum" -- she emphasizes that "we're going forward regardless of what happens in California."

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Laura Kriho.
Why start so early? After all, the 2010 election will have ended fewer than 24 hours earlier when the Legalize2012.com gets underway at 6:30 p.m. in Boulder (get full details below).

"One of the main reasons is our patients," Kriho explains. "They are in the process of getting restricted out of being able to get their medicine in a reasonable fashion" by rules like a $90 license fee and various regulations being devised by the Department of Revenue. For one thing, she maintains that the revenue department wants MMJ patients to be fingerprinted, whereas "our model would allow people to obtain cannabis by merely showing a driver's license to prove they're over 21, the same way people buy alcohol in stores."

Another reason, she continues, "is just to let people know the importance of this. It's important to get your friends out to vote on November 6, 2012 -- we already have the date, so put it on your calendar."

Some observers have questioned whether Prop. 19 supporters erred by placing the measure on the ballot in an off-year election. After all, more young people -- a demographic likely to support cannabis legalization (or, as Kriho terms it, "relegalization") -- vote in presidential-year elections. Kriho doesn't criticize this decision, but she stresses that Legalize2012.com will be targeting voters under age 45. "Recent polls in Colorado have shown that support for legalization is growing. It's grown from 46 percent to 49 percent in just two years, and with each year that goes by, things get better for us.

"Clearly, we have the numbers in Colorado to pass any kind of initiative we want if we're just able to get people who support it out to the polls. So we need to generate excitement and enthusiasm. It's going to be a fun campaign, and we want to set the tone now."

Among the speakers at tomorrow's kickoff event will be Paul Danish, a former Boulder city councilman "who helped with the first Colorado legalization initiative, back in 1992. It didn't get on the ballot that year -- we didn't collect enough signatures -- but since then, he's been an activist for legalization on many different levels. And times have changed."

No denying that. Page down for more information about tomorrow's event:

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