Marijuana legalization: Legalize 2012 objects to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act name

mason tvert and brian vicente board hearing july 2011.jpg
Tvert & Vicente.
The firestorm of invective at the Great Legalization Debate suggested that parties behind competing marijuana-reform measures for the 2012 ballot might not be exactly rooting for each other. More evidence: Legalize2012.com has created a guideline for reporters that objects to the press using the name Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012 for an initiative that Mason Tvert and Brian Vicente helped launch at a press event yesterday.

At a Wednesday hearing of the Colorado Title Board, which blesses initiatives seeking ballot inclusion, Legalize 2012 representatives objected to the use of the word "legalization" for the aforementioned act, and argued that the phrase "similar to alcohol" be stricken from the document because it was the equivalent of a marketing slogan. Tvert, who's part of what he refers to as a broad coalition behind the measure, told Westword "legalization" hadn't been part of the text in the first place, and while proponents agreed to leave out "similar to alcohol," they still think it's an accurate way to refer to the approach -- hence their decision to promote it as the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012.

That's not okay by Legalize 2012, which insists that references to the "MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative" -- a nod to the Marijuana Policy Project, the Drug Policy Alliance, Sensible Colorado and Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation -- are inaccurate. Instead, the media should use the formal name "Section 16. Personal Use and Regulation of Marijuana."

Our approach? If backers want to call their measure Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012, that's fine by us. Hell, if they want to call it "Larry," we're okay with that, too. And if Legalize 2012 isn't formally allowed to call its forthcoming initiative by its preferred moniker -- Cannabis Re-legalization Act of 2012 -- but still wants to for public consumption, we'll go along as well. We're Switzerland.

Here's all of Legalize 2012's coverage suggestions:

Dear Reporters:

As you know, there are at least two separate campaigns to change marijuana laws in Colorado through ballot initiatives for the November 2012 election. The first campaign to file its initiative is supported by the Marijuana Policy Project, Drug Policy Alliance, Sensible, and SAFER and is a "Marijuana Sentencing Reform Initiative". Our campaign is called Legalize2012.com. We are in the process of writing a "true legalization" initiative.

Having two cannabis campaigns in Colorado has the potential to either confuse voters or to educate them, so it's important to discuss using accurate terminology early in these campaigns. Below are a few suggestions for future reporting about the MPP/SAFER/DPA/Sensible ballot initiative proposed for the Colorado ballot. It is important to get the wording correct when referring to their initiative, as not to confuse voters. This is going to be a long campaign, so we appreciate all your efforts to make sure the public has the most accurate information about both campaigns. Please let us know if we can clarify any of this further.

Q: What is the official name of the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative?

A: Officially, in the language of the initiative, it is called "Section 16. Personal Use and Regulation of Marijuana." Calling it anything other than that is inaccurate.

It is inaccurate to call the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012". These words do *not* appear in the language of the actual ballot initiative. If the authors intended to use the name "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act", they should have added it to the language of their initiative, right after the words "Section 16". Common practice in writing initiatives is to give the law a "short title", so that it is easier to refer to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_title

The same MPP drafters made this same mistake when they wrote what is commonly referred to as "Amendment 20," Colorado's medical marijuana law. "Amendment 20" was the number given the initiative when it was on the ballot in 2000. After it passed, it was no longer accurate to call it "Amendment 20".

Since the MPP drafters failed to give "Amendment 20" a short title in the language, we are now and forever hereafter forced to refer to it as "Article XVIII, Section 14 of the Colo. Constitution" or "Section 14. Medical use of marijuana for persons suffering from debilitating medical conditions." These are both cumbersome ways to refer to it, but they are the only accurate ways, because of the lack of an official act name or short title in the actual law.

If the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative is enacted, it must to be referred to as "Section 16. Personal Use and Regulation of Marijuana" or "Article XVIII, Section 16 of the Colo. Constitution". Since the phrase "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012" does not appear anywhere in the actual language of the law, and only in the proponents' marketing material, and since it will never be referred to it as that if it is enacted, we ask that reporters refrain from using this inaccurate phrase that will confuse voters.

Q: Why is the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative not legalization?

A: It is inaccurate to call the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative "legalization" because they themselves fought to have that word removed from the ballot title, so not to confuse voters. We ask that reporters refrain from using the term "legalization" to refer to the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative, as the proponents themselves have said clearly that their initiative is NOT legalization. Since Legalize 2012 is working on a "true legalization" ballot initiative for 2012, the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER proponents agreed Legalize 2012.com should be able to "own that term." See quotes from the Title Board hearing on June 15: http://www.legalize2012.com/mpp/mpp.init3.not.legalization.htm

Q: Why is the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative not like alcohol?

A: The MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER proponents argued successfully on July 6 to have the words "similar to alcohol" removed from the ballot title because it would be misleading to voters. Given this, their continued use of the phrase in their marketing material is disingenuous and should not be repeated by the media. We ask that reporters refrain from using this inaccurate phrase that will confuse voters. http://www.legalize2012.com/mpp/mpp.init4.not.similar.alcohol.html

Q: Why is the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative is like medical marijuana?

A: It is clearly the intent of the proponents to regulate marijuana like medical marijuana, not alcohol. The initiative gives all the power over marijuana to the Department of Revenue, just like medical marijuana, and gives preferential treatment to medical marijuana licensees. The proponents have said repeatedly that they intend to use the medical marijuana regulatory system because it is "already set up."

Q: What can we call the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative?

A: Unfortunately, the only accurate way to refer to the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative is this: "Article XVIII, Section 16 of the Colorado Constitution, the Personal Use and Regulation of Marijuana Act."

However, to make it simpler for the press, Legalize 2012 will not object if reporters use the phrase "Marijuana Sentencing Reform Initiative" to refer to the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative. A reading of their language shows that it would only make slight changes to the Colorado criminal code regarding marijuana (removing the penalty for possession of one ounce and 6 or fewer plants, but leaving all the other criminal codes). So it is merely sentencing reform, nothing more.

Q: What is the Legalize 2012 Initiative?

A: In contrast, the Legalize 2012 campaign will start by abolishing all criminal penalties for cannabis in Colorado, so we will ask that our initiative be called the "Cannabis Re-legalization Act of 2012." We will put this into the language of the initiative, so it will always be called that.

Our language is being written by a large coalition of people from across Colorado with plenty of time for public input. Our timeline is to finish the language by the Fall, and circulate the petitions early in 2012.

CANNABIS Vs. MARIJUANA

The Legalize 2012 ballot initiative will use the word "cannabis" and not "marijuana". "Marijuana" is a racist term invented during the 1920s "Reefer Madness" campaign to make people believe that it was some new drug that Mexicans were using and going out and raping white women. No one knew that "marijuana" was really "cannabis", a drug that had been in the US pharmacopeia until 1943. The MPP Sentencing Reform Initiative uses the term "marijuana." The Legalize 2012 initiative will not use that word, and would like to encourage reporters to use the accurate historical and scientific term for the plant: Cannabis.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division rules for moving MMJ extreme, says Wanda James."

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31 comments
Mugsy474
Mugsy474

why are we spending money on trying to change a law that is unconstitutional in the first place.  It says we are given God given rights that our government can't take away.  And it seems to me that a plant is a god given isn't it???  

BingoBob
BingoBob

Full legalization in this state is just asking for the Feds to come in and take control.  We don't even have a federal medical marijuana program yet, how do you think we're going to pass this if California didn't.  What will happen to the dispensaries that are already in business?  What kind of regulations will be put into place regarding the sale of product?  Will places like 7-11, King Soopers, Albertsons, etc be able to sell it like cigarettes?  Will dispensaries just turn into liquor store type environments?

I hope the supporters of this movement are ready to answer these questions in full....

joe mama
joe mama

federal medical marijuana program, aka the NID program has existed for over 30 years. educate yourself fool.

Guest
Guest

read the "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012" initiative...it will answer all of your questions.

Egadsno
Egadsno

"Cant we all just get along?"   I mean seriously- dont care if you smoke, vape, munch, shoot, distill tinctures.   Quite frankly stop the bickering, is using the word cannabis vs marijuana really something to squabble about?

  Look if one group does not want to get confused with another groups initiative fine- I can understand that, sometimes initiatives lose support because they are too restrictive, or not enough.  Having similar initiatives going on is a nice sign to the rest of the country but can also cause support issues locally.  But leave it to the facts and the real differences between the initiatives.   By the way Legalize 2012 sounds far superior to me, I dont know how people in good conscience can say well I can use a little marijuana but to hell with whoever supplies it to me.

Guest
Guest

As far as I know at this time there is no "legalize 2012" inititive...and I for one am fed up with their continual attempts to hinder other efforts improve marijuana laws in colorado...they turn allies into enemies and refuse to be reasonable. Hickenlooper won partly because republicans couldn't get behind one candidate, tancredo or maes....it happens all the time in politics...and it's happening now with marijuana in colorado. The prohibitionists will win in 2012 if this nonsense continues.

Guest
Guest

http://civilliberty.about.com/...

Why is Marijuana Illegal?

#7 .... Advocates for marijuana legalization rarely present an appealing case.

"To hear some advocates of marijuana legalization say it, the drug cures diseases while it promotes creativity, open-mindedness, moral progression, and a closer relationship with God and/or the cosmos. That sounds incredibly foolish, particularly when the public image of a marijuana user is, again, that of a loser who risks arrest and imprisonment so that he or she can artificially invoke an endorphin release.

A much better argument for marijuana legalization, from my vantage point, would go more like this: "It makes some people happy, and it doesn't seem to be any more dangerous than alcohol. Do we really want to go around putting people in prison and destroying their lives over this?""

CorryDonahue
CorryDonahue

CTI doesn't have the resources or the brainpower to put something together.  Their supporters are dropping like flies.  Now they will shout from the sidelines to prevent this from happening.  The best thing we can do is ignore them and stop giving them space in Westword.  I have been to their events and only about 20-30 ever show up.  Their numbers and supporters are small, but their email list is large.  That is the only reason people talk about them. 

What they want, full legalization will NEVER pass as long as the Feds are against it.  They need to get real and move out of the way. 

Robert
Robert

Don't you feel even slightly ridiculous telling people to "get real" while pretending to be someone you are not?

Guesticle
Guesticle

Glad to see that even CTI supporters are turning against their negativity.

CTI has used the word marijuana repeatedly over the past few years. Now, all of a sudden, it's a racist term? 

Stooping even lower every week.

Citizen80919
Citizen80919

Alcohol does not have a limit as to the number of beers that you can have in the fridge....

Guest
Guest

You're right, there is no limit to the number of bottles of alcohol I can have at home. But there are penalties for giving it to kids, driving when strongly under it's influence, using it in public, who can manufacture and distribute it, where it can be distributed, what qualifications those distributors must have, the precautions you must take if you manufacture it at home, and limits to both the amount you can manufacture at home and what you can do with it once it's ready to consume.

Citizen80919
Citizen80919

I have no problem with preventing underage use, regulation of distributors, and manufacturing oversight.  But possession of over quantity will still get you busted.  Also consider the increase in penalty for the 18-21 crowd.  Wonder if it gets worse than petty offense for pre 21 possession ?

Guest
Guest

Hey "legalize 2012"...I object to your objections. lol -- so called "grassroots" efforts continue to complain about....EVERYTHING.

Congrats vicente and tvert...you win...and apparently some people really hate that...so much that they would sabotage what is good for citizens of colorado over their petty grievances. Grassroots are proving to be the prohibitionists biggest assets. I think we've got a case of root rot.

Ecodude
Ecodude

Root rot.  I am SO going to steal that - ha!

Chris
Chris

The patients who have supported medical marijuana with their money and personal effort would be the big losers if the legalization effort fails in 2012 due to divisions among its supporters. 

Coincidentally, I just published a blog on this subject:http://www.denverrelief.com/bl...

Joseph, 303 Organics
Joseph, 303 Organics

how has all of this conflict come to be over such a beautiful plant? it's been ugly out there for some time now and it only seems as though it will get uglier. unity and compassion and understanding will get us where we want to be and i believe we all want to be where we don't become criminals for using something that has never killed anything. am i wrong? something needs to happen/change before this all gets too far away from us. certainly not a good show for those still on the fence or those against this.

http://303organics.com/

Jake420
Jake420

I will never donate money to an organization that spends all of its time attacking another organization for trying to legalize (or regulate) marijuana. CTI has no credibility left.

Ecodude
Ecodude

Even as a voter who is sympathetic to their cause, I'm afraid have to agree with you, Jake.  What a disappointing display.

Ecodude
Ecodude

Historically, slinging mud before getting your own house in order has never proven to be a very powerful way to enlist public support for your cause.

Maybe Legalize 2012 should concentrate on the foundational work of drafting strong, legally sound and passable legislation before barking at every other car that goes by.

David
David

If you were at the "Great Debate" you may recall the "Danish" plan.  Very simple - 3 sentences.  My thought at the time: "Even a cop could understand THIS."  Bonus for clear and simple language.David

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

So this will abolish all criminal penalties?  I can now grow 100 pounds a month?  Kick ass!

anonymouse
anonymouse

Will the Legalize 2012 initiative promoted by CTI remove criminal penalties for providing marijuana to schoolchildren?  What about infant exposure?  What about use in public places where non-users might object to exposure?  Will importing shwaggy brown brickweed from cartel-controlled Mexico become a non-offense under state law?  Will it become legal to drive while impaired by THC?  Will I be legal to grow it on public property?

Some of these things are more properly covered under civil/zoning codes and others probably should stay criminalized.  Clearly the goal of "abolishing all criminal penalties for cannabis in Colorado" is a non-starter.

Ecodude
Ecodude

Agreed.  Very sloppy wording from an organization who purports to have the capacity to draft passable legislation.

Highmesa
Highmesa

I will contribute to real legalization in the form of $ and free help getting the sigs!I dont think it's a competition James, it's a legalization.

Gclef
Gclef

I would like to comment about our marijuana issue. To begin--- alcohol by far has shown to be the single most destructive drug our nation has ever seen. when you add up the d.U.I.s--domestic violence and the fact that 80% of all violent crimes are attributed to alcohol--and the fact that the "government" has no problem with liquor stores on every block---infact argonaut liquors is one block from a middle school---our law makers are hypocrites---The American people need to speak up and quit letting the government tell us what we can and cannot do. My life is for me to live as I see fit----Note to all police and federal officials----I smoke pot every day and have for 30 years---I do not have a licence and refuse to buy one.  

James
James

Language and Signatures are 1 thing to accomplish that's the easy part but whats important is can  CTI and friends be able to come up with the real $$$$ necessary to do so???

Highmesa
Highmesa

Thanks for clarifying.So it's real legalization versus more regulation.This is a no brainer !

David
David

I'm an old hippy.  Been watching the "legalization" issue since I first ran into NORML in Playboy magazine about 35 years ago."Decrimanalization" may be a more accurate word.  You can say that alcohol is "legal", but that is not exactly true either, is it ?  Alcohol is controlled - and our society, in my opinion, will demand controls.  If there are no controls, the voters won't go for it - sad as that may seem.David

Concerned citizen
Concerned citizen

The energy spent by these idiots obstructing the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012 would be better spent working on the language of their own initiative. Attempting to tell the press how to refer to another group's initiative is about as childish as it gets. Their sense of entitlement knows no bounds.

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