Marijuana: Title board signs off on Relief for the Possession of Cannabis Act, latest pot measure

Categories: Marijuana

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Michelle LaMay.
Cannabis University founder Michell LaMay recieved title approval from the state board yesterday for her Relief for the Possession of Cannabis Act.

She calls the bill an "elegantly simple solution" to marijuana laws in Colorado.

Initiative 40, now officially (and lengthily) titled "An amendment to the Colorado state constitution directing the judiciary branch of all governing bodies in the state of Colorado to prohibit their courts from imposing any fine or sentence for the possession of cannabis," would prohibit courts from "imposing any fine or sentence for marijuana-related crimes."

"All I can say is that Initiative 40 is for all Coloradans," LaMay says. "Our laws have ruined so many lives and cost us so much money. The damage to families -- the physical cost -- far, far, far exceeds any perceived danger of cannabis in the communities."

Without fines and prison sentences to back up the laws, LaMay believes, there will be no motive for law enforcement to enforce them. She also notes that the bill is written vaguely enough to include cultivation as well as simply possessing some herb.

As LaMay notes, she's already fundraising online, and she plans to start collecting the 85,000-plus signatures required to land the initiative on the November ballot starting in early February.

The petition drive will focus as much on rural areas as larger towns and cities. "I found that in 2006, when there was a legalization initiative on the ballot, where people voted against it was where nobody went -- the edges of the state. We're getting out to the corners with our marketing. Our circulators won't have to explain much, it's just so simple. People worried about getting an MMJ card for professional reasons, this is aimed at them."

LaMay added that her bill offers a simple alternative to Initiative 30, commonly referred to as the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act -- which she says would add pages of unnecessary law to our state constitution. "[Initiative 40] doesn't describe anything. If I would have, I would be in the same bind as Initiative 30, which is eight, nine pages long."

The word "relief" was officially removed from the title of the measure, with board members saying that it could be misinterpreted to mean monetary relief. Otherwise, the bill was left pretty much as LaMay originally drafted it. She says she'll still refer to the bill as the Relief for the Possession of Cannabis Act, since "relief" was left in the body of the proposal.

The Relief for the Possession of Cannabis proposal is the second marijuana initiative to be put forward, following the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, which has already submitted almost twice the required number of signatures. In addition, the Cannabis Therapy Institute recently announced plans to file a third marijuana legalization initiative in the coming weeks.

Below is the text of Initiative 40.

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado state constitution directing the judiciary branch of all governing bodies in the state of Colorado to prohibit their courts from imposing any fine or sentence for the possession of cannabis?

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: No punishment for possession under Michelle LaMay's new ballot proposal."


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14 comments
Michelle LaMay
Michelle LaMay

 Join our Facebook group: Colorado Relief for Possession of Cannabis Act 2012

DeeperDish
DeeperDish

Initiative 40 is fatally misguided. There is no "relief" of possession, except for not paying a fine and maybe a little jail time. People would still be arrested for possession and suffer all of the lifetime collateral damages of a criminal conviction, such as losing student loans and housing/employment discrimination.

Michelle LaMay
Michelle LaMay

 Re: Cultivation: From Initiative #40: (2) Definitions. AS USED IN THIS SECTION, UNLESS THE CONTEXT OTHERWISE REQUIRES:   (a) “CANNABIS” MEANS      (I) THE GENUS OF THE CANNABIS PLANT AND ALL ITS SPECIES, LIVING OR DEAD, (II) AND IN ANY AMOUNT.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

The failure to include language preventing punishment for the private cultivation of cannabis intended for personal use is inexplicable, and so someone is still supposed to be punished for providing the cannabis we use.  Just like Initiative 30, Initiative 40 would reduce legal liability for cannabis and I support it.

It remains to be seen whether organizers can mount a campaign adequate to gather the 86,105 signatures (official figure from the Secretary of Stat's website) necessary to make the ballot.  The campaign must gather ~3,600 valid signatures every week -- in excess of 7,000 actual signatures (since validity rates run ~50%) -- for the next six months.  Because the national drug policy reform organizations decided to back Initiative 30 to the exclusion of other efforts and the campaign for Initiative 40's lacks resources, it will be under the gun over the course of the next few weeks both to gather enough signatures to demonstrate its viability and to find the financial backers and committed volunteers necessary to make the ballot.

It is unclear how much money the campaign for Initiative 30 has raised, but it is supposed to have been many hundreds of thousands of dollars.  With all the resources at its disposal, the campaign for 30 only achieved 103% of the signatures necessary for qualification in the Secretary of State's survey of signatures, forcing the verification of all ~160,000 signatures (the SoS' sample must indicate that 110% of the qualifying number have been collected to prevent having to make an exact count).

KaDargo
KaDargo

Works for me!  Nice and simple!  Thanks Michel!

Doob
Doob

Rock on - I was hoping for some choice in legalization!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

BS!  That's the same ill-considered crap that Keith Stroup put out months ago.  While people could still be convicted (and face consequences despite not being sentenced), the impetus to do so would be vitiated; there would be no revenue from fines, or profits for the Gulag.  "There is no relief" -- except that of relief from criminal penalties!  The measure would have been much stronger had private cultivation for personal use been included, but it is certainly worthy of our support.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

The language you cite has nothing to do with cultivation -- cultivation does not mean that you have a lot of cannabis (although it can lead to that); it means that you grow cannabis.  There is no basis to suppose that your initiative would prevent people being incarcerated for cultivating cannabis.

KaDargo
KaDargo

Hey Robert, as I read it, I perceive it to simply state that no one will be fined or sentenced for possession of cannabis...period.  In my book, possession is possession, no matter if it is a joint in my pocket or 30 plants growing in my home or a pound in the trunk of my car.

Yes, leaves some grey area, like what if I am in a court room with a joint in my pocket?  Again, my interpretation is that possession is possession (and NO I will NEVER be in a courtroom with a joint in my pocket).  But, it will be intresting to see what comes of this...and the reaction from the feds if this does result in another amendment to our state constitution! :)

Michelle LaMay
Michelle LaMay

..."it is certainly worthy of our support" Thank you, Robert!

GetReal
GetReal

“POSSESSION OF CANNABIS” MEANS HAVING CANNABIS:

(I) IN OR ON ONE’S BODY OR CLOTHING OR; (II) WITHIN ONE’S BUILDING THAT A PERSON OWNS OR; (III) WITHIN ONE’S AUTO.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You can bet that should 40 pass the courts would rule that the laws against cultivation and distribution could still be enforced with a vengeance.  Being in a courtroom, in jail, or on the street will not alter the fact that no punishment could be imposed merely for possession.  There is no need to speculate about the Federal reaction -- the Feds would oppose and disregard the new constitutional provision, much as they have our Medical Cannabis Amendment.

Monkey
Monkey

I guess you would have to prove cultivation is different than storing live cannabis. Prosecution would claim cultivation and your defense would claim possession of live cannabis. Providing nutrients, light and time could be considered adequate storage of live cannabis. Definitely wide open for interpretation, I understand your concern.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

What is your point?  Michelle began her post:  "Re:  Cultivation", but failed to address the issue.  Are you under some misapprehension that Initiative 40 would prevent people from being punished for growing canabis? "Having" also does not mean "cultivating"; it is a certitude that the courts would uphold the statutes prohibiting cultivation, even if it takes place inside one's own home. You all seem to be hinting that you think you've managed to do an end-run around the issue -- that is wrong. 40 would mitigate Prohibition, but it would not end punishment for any means of getting cannabis.

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