Marijuana legalization: Laura Kriho accuses Brian Vicente ballot group of ignoring grassroots

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Laura Kriho.
Not every marijuana activist was thrilled by news that Brian Vicente has filed eight pot-legalization initiatives with the state.

Indeed, Cannabis Therapy Institute's Laura Kriho, one of the main figures behind the separate Legalization2012.com group, is unhappy with what she sees as "a strange, unilateral move."

Kriho has been trying to pull together a June 22 event at which various marijuana-movement stakeholders would get together and debate potential language for a legalization initiative on which all parties could agree; in recent weeks, she approached Westword editor Patricia Calhoun to moderate the session. She also filled in SAFER's Mason Tvert, a key member of the Vicente posse, and she says as recently as last Monday, "he was talking how it would be great if we could all work together. He never indicated they were anywhere close to filing an initiative, nor did he indicate there would be eight of them."

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Brian Vicente.
As a result, she goes on, "it was very much a surprise that they would file the initiatives without showing them to anyone in the state, especially considering that there's really no hurry. It's a year and a half before the 2012 election, and we're on the verge of having this statewide community-policy debate, where we were going to get together and talk about what everyone wanted to see" in the final measure.

Kriho adds that "even the Department of Revenue and the CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) gives us thirty days to comment on new proposals. We received less of an opportunity for public input on these new initiatives than the government gives us."

Vicente begs to differ. He says his organization, Sensible Colorado, has reached out to local outfits repeatedly over the seven months or so that he's been putting together the initiatives. Moreover, he sent Kriho an early draft of the document; it's currently posted on the CTI website. "We've been very public about this, and have gone to great lengths to solicit community input from in-state and out of state to craft the strongest language possible," he stresses.

As for the June 22 event, he says "Laura got in touch with me about a week ago, and I told her that while I couldn't attend, I was sure someone from our organization would be happy to take part." And after filing the initiatives, "I've reached out to Laura to have conference calls -- but she hasn't returned any of my e-mails."

According to Kriho, she's not sure what point there would be in discussing the situation now, given that the language has already been submitted -- and the whole concept behind the upcoming session was to work together toward shaping it. The result, in her view, is a flashback to 1998, when the medical marijuana amendment that voters in Colorado would approve two years later first surfaced. She says local activists were collecting signatures for such an initiative when well-funded national outfits such as the Marijuana Policy Project, whose Steve Fox collaborated with Vicente on the latest initiatives, swooped in and took over, leaving locals on the sidelines.

Now, however, Kriho believes the amendment has been undercut by regulatory medical marijuana legislation such as HB 1284; which fellow activist Kathleen Chippi wants to target with a lawsuit -- a quest Kriho supports. "There's nothing left of Amendment 20," she argues. "Patients have been forced into an MMC model that's taken away their rights, caregiver rights and affirmative defense have been decimated, the confidential registry has been destroyed. There's really nothing left standing."

No wonder Kriho isn't thrilled by the Vicente initiative, which is in keeping with the regulatory approach of HB 1284. Hence, she plans to stage the June 22 get-together anyway -- and while she concedes that competing marijuana measures on the 2012 ballot might undermine the chances of either passing, she's not ready to abandon a drive for a second initiative.

Any chance these two groups will eventually reconcile and combine forces? At this point, Kriho is suspicious of such a prospect. "We know how they operate," she allows. "They want to make us seem like the radical group, so they'll come off as more conservative."

And Vicente? "We absolutely hope all supporters of marijuana reform will get behind whatever measure makes it on the ballot," he says. "We're focused on ending marijuana prohibition in Colorado, and this initiative will do just that -- which is why we want everyone to become a part of this large and growing coalition."

More from our Marijuana archive: "THC driving test on HDNet shows marijuana impairs, but does it prove anything? (VIDEO)."

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82 comments
concernedparentandtaxpayer
concernedparentandtaxpayer

Jesussaid to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us. None of us wouldwant our child thrown in jail with the sexual predators for using a littlemarijuana. None of us would want to see our parent's home confiscated and soldby the police for growing a couple of marijuana plants to ease the aches andpains of growing older. It's time to stop putting our own families in jail.It's time to let ordinary Americans grow a little marijuana in their own backyards; how about $100 per year for an annual permit to grow a dozen plants?This will go a long way toward putting the criminal drug gangs out of businessfor good! Also, check out http://www.northpoint.org/  if you’d like to see some more very positivematerial about Jesus at work in people’s lives. 

hungbudtender
hungbudtender

The activists don't realize this is only a step along the way.  The reason not to go full out with legalization is because big pharma would have a serious backlash!  If you are for access for the patients this is as good as it's going to get before big pharma gets in the game and helps to legalize for everyone.  It's not a perfect system but you see it in every other aspect of government!  Activists know nothing of politics and often go off feelings.  The activists will kill the movement because unfortunately it does take money to have progress. 

I agree with the mission of the activists but wish they would consider the division they are bringing to the community by boycotting MMCs and other companies who are willing to work to keep access for the patients.    We need to work together and with realistic goals for the future progress.  If you don't understand the process please stop crying and let the big boys handle this.

Robert
Robert

I should add that I don't believe that anyone has formally called for a boycott of MMCs.  I support MMCs to the extent that they provide patients ready access to good medicine at a reasonable price, and support our constitutional right to medical cannabis;  most MMCs have failed to defend caregivers or the Constitution, but many patients depend on them, and that is of primary importance.  The alarms I and others have been sounding, about intrusive or prohibitive regulations, loss of patients' confidentiality, and the particular risks of disclosing where cannabis is grown to the DEA (after the USDOI has repudiated its former hands-off policy) have not been intended to hurt businesses or their owners (whatever their effects), but to inform and prepare people who are on the front line in the War against Americans

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Exactly, Robert.  If a patients privacy is breached when they walk into an MMC, they have every right to know IN ADVANCE.  Their jobs, kids, insurance, gov loans and freedom is at stake--pretending this was how the constitutional rights were supposed to go is un acceptable.  It's basic business,  the customer (patient) always is the FOCUS.  Making sure they are not harmed if accessing your business is essential. 

concernedparentandtaxpayer
concernedparentandtaxpayer

"Work together and with realistic goals."

That's the key. One step at a time, a little better every year. "Politics is the art of the possible" (George Clooney's "Everyman" character in "Evita" the musical)

Robert
Robert

The problem here is not activists' ideology (which varies from activist tio activist -- I am open to the sorts of compromises contemplated in the drafts), but the strategy of the coalition of national drug policy reform organizations, which rigidly excluded many of those with the most detailed knowledge of legal and political developments with reagrd to cannabis in Colorado, and seeks not to engage, but to marginalize.  It would be too bad were the 2012 initiative to fail due to the bad faith of the organizers; familiarity may breed contempt.

Duncan20903
Duncan20903

Potheads are nothing if not a herd of cats. The very character trait that makes absolute cannabis prohibition totally impossible makes us squabble incessantly with each other. I've always wondered how the religionists get their flocks to form a voting block. Perhaps it's something in the Kool Aid?

Fairuse
Fairuse

Threat of eternal damnation.Fear of dark-skinned, gay, "progressive", socialist agendas.That's how they do it.

You would think that since cannabis use trancends political/religious/social/ethnic lines we could agree on legalizing and regulating cannabis. But no, we can't all just get along. Each faction needs to put it's own stamp on a piece of legislation and every one wants their John Hancock to stand out. Petty children.

Robert
Robert

Guest, "Most caregivers are out of staters who came here to make $ off of dispensaries ..." -- no wonder you don't want to be identified; only a complete idiot would write such BS!  Most caregivers are and were Coloradans helping patients.  Some of those shed their status as caregivers more easily than a snake sheds its skin, last July 1. 

Guest
Guest

And selling the "excess" to dispensaries instead of giving it to sick people. That's compassion right there. Never having worked in a dispensary you never had to see the mite and rot infested buds "caregivers" would bring in.Everything was fine until they couldn't make cash off the dispensaries. You're clueless, Chase.

Robert
Robert

Dispensaries have supposedly been growing 70% of their cannabis since September 1, 2010 and buying the remaining 30% only from those who have applied for licenses to cultivate (as opposed to caregivers).  "Everything was fine until they couldn't make cash off the dispensaries" -- THAT is clueless:  many caregivers stood up and objected to the General Assembly's illegal takeover of dispensing, some testified with us against SB10-109 and HB10-1284 last year; nothing has been "fine" since the General Assembly decided it could junk the Constitution.

GetReal
GetReal

I'm looking to be allowed to grow cannabis in the same way as I grow tomatoes.  I want to be allowed to consume cannabis in the same way I consume tomatoes.  This meas NO REGULATION!  Legal ain't legal if there are regulations. 

Look at how alcohol is handled for a model to follow.  In that context, one has to only to be of age, then they are allowed to possess and consume to their heart's desire.  Of course except when it comes to minors, but again, look to the alcohol model. 

If I am allowed to brew beer and drink as much as I want, as often as I want, then I should have the ability to choose a much safer substance without fear of losing my freedom!  I sould be allowed to have pounds of the stuff and all the plants that I care to grow.  Freedom is what I want!

Alcohol makes people rowdy.  Cannabis makes people sedated.  That's why drunks cause all the problems.  I vote we allow people to make the better decision to use cannabis.  If I can buy beer buy the keg and liquor by the case and legally have a liquor store of inventory in my home, then the same should go for cannabis.  NO REGULATIONS!

Robert
Robert

Why don't you get real?  You have confused legalization with deregulation.  We describe the use of alcohol as legal because most adults' use of it is; your position is analogous to insisting that alcohol prohibition is still in force because it remains illegal to distill moonshine.  There is absolutely no point running an intitiative to deregulate cannabis in 2012 , because voters would soundly reject it.  If we do our utmost to educate the electorate, register young people, and turn out our supporters, it is just possible we can legalize cannabis with various strictures we regard as irrational.

The absolutist position on legalization is going nowhere fast, and the sooner it gets there, the better.  First, lets stop arresting so many people for cannabis -- by legalizing (some) possession, cultivation, and use, the measures on the table should accomplish that goal -- then we can talk about deregulating.  We need everyone who uses cannabis to agree with many who don't that cannabis should not be illegal, but the latter group will not endorse deregulation.

Agreed
Agreed

Actually, I vote to put things back to where they were before prohibition was raised on alcohol then lowered on cannabis.  I'm damn tired of these bars spawning drunks on the road that then go on the kill people.  Stoners don't kill people.  Drunks do.  Let's stop the insanity!

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Brian Vicente was one of the lawyers who, last year, press released a lawsuit on behalf of patients and caregivers declaring vast parts of hb1284 as unconstitutional.  He has abandoned them and their constitutional rights to 'legalize' for everyone?  Yeah, Brian's someone to trust. 

 http://blogs.westword.com/late...

Guest
Guest

You're pissing away money on a lawsuit that will never materialize. You bash MMC's out of one side of your mouth then beg them for cash out of the other.Keep burning bridges with the CTI crowd then acting like you belong at the table. My children have better manners than you.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Not good enough to buy my way into your table, Guest.  The funny thing is I have never asked or would ask for a seat---i

I bash anyone bashing the Constitution--so do judges. 

Robert
Robert

If you are the same anonymous poster trashing CTI, of course CTI doesn't get much media coverage outside of the Latest Word!  Perhaps it has escaped your notice that almost all news about cannabis is distorted or censored by the mainstream media.  As for the lawsuit, it is in the interests of caregivers and patients, so you, as a running-dog for the greedheads, have no interest in it.

Guest
Guest

Caregivers were fools to think that CTI could help them. Under CTI's watch, they've lost about all the ground they could have.Most caregivers are out of staters who came here to make $ off of dispensaries, lets call a spade a spade.

Jay
Jay

I wish Hickenlooper would request a better explanation of how the government is treating patients in medically-approved states. The South Metro Drug Task Force is still arresting those who carry legal amounts of MMJ.

Robert
Robert

These criminal gangs must be stopped!  Citizens could effect their arrest, but would the non-functioning courts be able to cope with them?

CR
CR

What a mess! It's too bad there are so many people feeling slighted or medical marijuana businesses feeling threatened by out-of-state lobbyists (or vice versa) that we can't get things done effectively on the legalization front.  The natives are getting restless, distrust is building up fast and, naturally, a lot of misinformation spreads like wildfire as a result.  This initiative seems like a nastier repeat of the Prop 19.  Even worse, this effort could blow up before it gets off the launch pad.  Get the representatives from Legalize2012, SAFER, MPP, DPA to meet in private to reconcile differences in a cordial and professional manner, perhaps even hire a professional mediator at this point.  It would probably be a good idea to reschedule the community townhall meeting for another date until this is sorted out.  Finally, in addition to the eight versions of the initiative already filed with the state, it probably wouldn't hurt to file one more version that has more input from community leaders.

Observer
Observer

Representatives from CTI, SAFER, Sensible--plus Robert Chase and Kathleen Chippi--did get together for a private conversation to come to agreements about public behavior and which initiative to run, if not reconcile the chasm of differences. It clearly didn't work so well.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Hey, Observer--I was never part of such meeting.  Stop lying to people.

Observer
Observer

Pardon: lest anyone think I mean that everyone broke that agreement, what I mean is that CTI et al continue to publicly bash other activists and other activists continue to be polite and respectful. 

Tonya
Tonya

People who actually can read, read.  Anyone reading through this thread can see who is polite and respectful.  I don't see CTI being rude anywhere or even in this thread adding to your nonsense.  is this 1984?

Guest
Guest

Laura Kriho, CTI, Legalize2012  are radicals and thugs who do not deserve to be given a seat at the table.  They have publicly bashed MPP for years. They are like miguel lopez, they do more harm than good. CTI and Legalize 2012 should be ignored and forgotten. They have never accomplished anything and never will. 

Robert
Robert

Anonymous pigs such as yourself should not root around in this public forum.  CTI has told the truth, and CTI has even enlightened educable people from the Board of Health to the General Assembly.  We have pricked a conscience or two and mashed several political buttons -- it's a start.  Which money-grubber are you?  Josh Stanley?

CR
CR

They seem to have significant support and get around in the media.  Even marijuana advocate Robert Corry, the husband of SAFER spokesperson Jessica Corry, is on their Advisory Board.

http://legalize2012.com/commit...

Guest
Guest

Ex-husband, dick.

Guest
Guest

 They "get around" in the media because Westword has to produce a certain amount of content. They're desperate enough to take it from Kriho. Other outlets? Not so much.

Scott
Scott

Boo Freakin Hoo Laura  

to SCOTT
to SCOTT

CTI is not the ONLY local group--How many local groups consulted by Safer and Sensible actually endorsed this language?

I know ACT was 'consulted'--really just insulted--and they did not support Safer's language. 

CTI is just the only group with great press releases---and many local small groups are thankful that CTI addressed this issue on all of our behalf's.  Thanks, Laura.  We know you work from your heart to stop any future harms on Coloradan's. 

Guest
Guest

Comment of the day.

anonymouse
anonymouse

 Safer/Sensible don't owe CTI anything.  There is simply no harm done in bringing these drafts before the SoS's Title Board now rather than later.

Robert
Robert

There is no harm done by not involving grassroots activists in discussions of the contents of possible statewide constitutional initiatives?  There is just a little violence done to the notion that you are collaborating with grassroots activists, that's all.  The vetting of the language should be helpful, in any event.

anonymouse
anonymouse

The way I'm looking at it--getting these before the title board before the legalization meetings next month gives Brian and Mason (B&M) just that much more ammo to know what they're talking about.  Some will be pushing them to include everything but the kitchen sink in their initiative language but this way B&M will have some feel for what the Secretary of State will require or allow.  At the end of the day it is B&M who have put their butts on the line and they have to satisfy the vast majority of cannabis consumers along with the general non cannabis-using public to get the votes.  Pure legalization, while appealing, ignores the reality of living in a democratic society, albeit one that already has all the trappings of a gestapo-ized police state.

Look we most all generally agree that the government shouldn't have a say whether we're growing 1 plant or 1 million, in our basements or in a wide open field, but Mason has a track record of success and learning from his past mistakes and I am rooting for him here.  Amendment 44 was a mere 138,000 votes from succeeding back in 2006 and that was with badly-drafted language that could have fit on a napkin.  We've all grown up a little since then I think.  Progress will come by piecemeal until our legislators at the national level take note and reign in the federal government.  We all want to overturn 100 years of systematic oppression but it won't happen wholly in 2012, if ever.  Neither Sensible nor Safer even existed back when all this 1998 drama went down.

None of this language in the draft initiatives is set in stone and there are a number of opportunities for revision between now and the petitioning phase.  I fully expect 7 of the 8 drafts to be shitcanned and the remaining vetted initiative to undergo some substantial changes before they collect the first signature.

One thing I hope they consider will be the current effort in Oregon which appears to allow for a single-signature mail-in petition.  I don't know if this is even viable under CO state law but if it is than it would make the petitioning process a hell of a lot easier.

Anonymous
Anonymous

But there was local vetting.... that a fact.

REGARDLESS, CTI was doing their own ballot anyway. That was always the understanding....

Robert
Robert

Laura's right and Brian's wrong, but please read my comments at http://blogs.westword.com/late...

Guest
Guest

Laura is CTI - Tim Tipton is fully enmeshed into CTI.

Google Tim Tipton MMJ scam

Robert
Robert

Tim is my friend.  I have seen him directly help indigent and sick patients, and advocate for them.  You are an anonymous swine whose only purpose is to drag him down.

Robert
Robert

Guest -- you are linking my name to a profile of someone named Robert in California? to what end?  I've never been there.

Robert
Robert

Not true, anonymous detractor; I have seen Erick Schmuckal confront Timothy in public -- about his grievance, but I have no indication that it is justified.  I don't say that he is incapable of wrong, but I am not aware of his having wronged others; if and when that occurs, I'll take him to task.

Guest
Guest

@Robert:disqus  Be honest. You know you have seen MANY different people in public comfort Timmy about his misdeeds. Be honest. Many people on here know the true answer that has to come for you...

Jimj
Jimj

Laura's wrong. She has been publicly and unreasonable blasting MPP and soros for fifteen years. Laura opposed amendment 20 when it was being voted on! If I was MPP, I wouldn't have even asked for her comments at all.

The emperor wears no cloths
The emperor wears no cloths

 Laura voted for and wrote a Denver Post editorial the Sunday before the 2000 vote---the ONLY editorial in SUPPORT of A20.  F off with your bullshit you were fed by people so ignorant they cant read the supporting evidence by CTI or Laura

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

the link was posted weeks ago when you all tried to attack her then too--go look it up or if your so afraid of what CTI says on their website--google laura's name and A20, Denver Post, 2000  --  don't you know how to research before spewing what was publicly posted for the last 10 years?  Or is there just too many things that pop up when you google  Laura's name because of all the work she has done unpaid on everyone's behalf---the patients know and thats all that matters.

Laura publicly supported A20 and voted for it.  And now hb1284 stomps on something she and the majority voted for--and you assholes keep posting lies about her--it's fucking pathetic---find ONE REAL reference or piece of evidence--please!!!  I

Tom
Tom

Wheres the editorial?

Robert
Robert

She's right about the exclusion of the grassroots -- those of us who have been testifying at hearings for patients, for caregivers, and against all the prohibitionists between us did not qualify to have a seat at the table or even to read the draft.  MPP and its progeny have accomplished much, but they have also evinced an intolerably supercilious arrogance.

Robert
Robert

Tom, of course we can and will make comments.  The problem is that there is no trust whatsoever between the representatives of the national organizations and grassroots activists, because of the former's long history of highhandedness.

Guest
Guest

This is what you get for acting like a petulant child. Sorry you can't play with the rest of the adults, Chase.

Tom
Tom

I don't get it. Can't you still make comments on the initiative? They can still be amended. It's not like the signatures have already been collected.

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