Marijuana busts timed by law enforcement to undermine Amendment 64?

Thumbnail image for john suthers head shot cropped.JPG
John Suthers.
The Colorado Attorney General's office announcement of a 59-count indictment against Silver Lizard dispensary weeks after a law-enforcement survey showing medical marijuana was being diverted raised a question that's buzzed in the background amid the campaign for Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act: Will cops and prosecutors step up and perhaps even time pot busts to hurt the measure's chances of passage?

When asked about this possibility, Brian Vicente, one of Amendment 64's primary proponents, doesn't wholeheartedly embrace this theory. But neither does he casually reject it.

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Brian Vicente.
Regarding claims that medical marijuana is routinely and knowingly sold by dispensaries for illicit purposes, and often winds up beyond state lines, Vicente says, "The big picture is, we have hundreds and hundreds of medical marijuana shops that are operating in a fully legally compliant manner. There appear to be some bad apples, and those businesses should be dealt with accordingly. But it's important that we don't simply overturn our state regulations, which are really working well, because of those bad apples. That would be a bad scenario, where patients would be forced to go to the streets, and we'd be handing over the distribution of marijuana to underground cartels. That's not good for Colorado in any way."

Agencies like the Colorado Attorney General's office, led by John Suthers, a longtime opponent of the medical marijuana system, see the situation very differently. Here's an excerpt from a 2010 letter written by Suthers to the Colorado legislature:

Embracing dispensaries or clinics as a means of commercially distributing marijuana will have profound adverse societal ramifications. Research consistently shows the adolescent marijuana use is a function of accessibility to the drug and social acceptance of the drug; (i.e., the more youth perceive smoking marijuana as a normative behavior, the greater their use of the drug). We've seen significant reduction in teenage use of marijuana over the last several years. Colorado's embrace of commercial dispensaries and the resulting perception that using marijuana is normative behavior, will change that trend. Liberalization of marijuana laws in Alaska, Holland and other places led to significant increases in teenage use. The research also shows that increased adolescent use of marijuana has a high correlation with more serious drug addiction, high school dropout rates and crime, including violent crime. The revenue generated from the marijuana industry will not cover the societal costs we will all incur.

Suthers's views haven't softened over the intervening two years. In his release about the Silver Lizard indictments, he specifically mentioned "Colorado's 'Medical' Marijuana," a report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area detailing more than seventy instances when MMJ from here was sold or distributed illegally.

"This indictment and its allegation that medical marijuana was sold out of the back door of a dispensary for distribution to other states is consistent with information gathered by a recent Rocky Mountain HIDTA survey of Colorado law enforcement agencies," Suthers said in a statement. "It is becoming clear that as predicted in 2010 legislative hearings, Colorado is becoming a significant exporter of marijuana to the rest of the country."

Rocky Mountain HIDTA director Tom Gorman agrees -- and in a our post about survey's findings, he argued that the passage of Amendment 64 would make a bad situation worse.

Page down to read more about marijuana actions and Amendment 64.


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43 comments
IcePick
IcePick

Yes on A64, less than a week to go until legalization occurs right here in COLORADO!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

-- Brian Vicente supports putting the VAST MAJORITY of Marijuana Users and Growers IN PRISON!

 

... being that the vast majority of marijuana users and growers fall outside the absurdly minuscule limits of the pro-law enforcement, pro-tax A64. 

 

How many clueless stoners are going to be suckered by these lowlife shysters pimping A64 with abject lies and deliberate deceptions?

 

The lying pigs Brian Vicente and Mason Tvert  will be ***dealt with accordingly***.

 

Stephen At Half Aspen
Stephen At Half Aspen

Whether it was or not is unimportant. What is important is that we're powerless to put a stop to this waste of resources. It's downright frightening that we've lost the reins.

Rachel K. Gillette
Rachel K. Gillette

Of course. Our Attorney General has a political agenda. Let us not forget that he will be up for re-election in 2014. Never too early to start trying to get him out. I really hope Stan Garnett runs again.

Fred Kaplan
Fred Kaplan

We the people are the government. Don't blame the entrepreneur government for few persons actions. Yes the timing is political.

Josh Bradley
Josh Bradley

Best time to get it passed and send a giant middle finger salute in return.

Anna Gingher
Anna Gingher

Of course! Our government does nothing for us, the people!

Anon
Anon

It is really strange how people who claim to be in favor of legalization bombard these boards with ridiculous statements about A64 being prohibition.  A64 is an excellent bill that will be of great benefit to Colorado

If you are on the fence about the matter, then please read the bill. You do not need to take anyone's word for it. Just take a moment to read it. Millions of dollars in proceeds will go to schools and positive public projects. Law enforcement dollars will go towards fighting crime, rather than harassing benign MJ smokers. This will have many far reaching positive  consequences.

Many of the anti-64 crowd want people to believe that this is prohibition, when in fact it legalizes responsible consumption. A64 makes it legal for an adult, over 21 years of age, to possess a full ounce of marijuana. It also makes it legal for an adult over 21 to possess 6 plants, three of which can be flowering.  The Anti-64 people want you to believe it is a conspiracy, when in fact it clearly will benefit us all. 

Much of the Anti 64 machine is heavily invested in the black market, so this step to legalize MJ threatens their black market business. The only people who have anything to lose are criminals. 

Voting YES on 64 will put the black market out of business, the same way ending alcohol prohibition put the bootlegging gangsters out of business. 

When an ounce of MJ is legal for adults, it could possibly put this plant in front of many people who have been told lies their entire lives. This is a very big deal. It could potentially be hundreds of thousands of people who get a chance to take MJ for the first time, and very quickly realized that this plant is not as dangerous as the propaganda machine has taught them. That is what the movement needs. The legalization movement will grow exponentially because of these first time smokers; the catalyst for the end of persecution of millions of good Americans across the nation. 

 

Voting YES on 64 is good for you. It is good for Colorado. It is good for America. It is the right thing to do. Do not be selfish. Read the bill, and please vote YES.

dillweed
dillweed

What a stupid article.

 

You think that cops only enforce the law when legislations comes to the table? You better strap on that tin foil hat you moron, conspiracys run deep in law enforcement

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Stupid Stoners timed their puerile criminal antics to undermine -- and exemplify the FAILINGS of A64.

 

A64 does NOT legalize marijuana! -- None of these marijuana users, growers or sellers would have benefited from the absurdly paltry limits of A64.

 

A64 = a CONTINUATION of CRIMINAL PROHIBITION

 

Vicente, Tvert and the other A64 Pimps = LYING, MARIJUANA HATING SCUMBAGS!

 

 

Bad_Apple
Bad_Apple

I'll go after his quotes, Monkey. Boy, Mike Roberts must have had fun jotting this down. :)

 

What is with Vincente putting down "underground cartels". Hellooooo? Isn't SENSIBLE supposedly in favor of ENDING THE DRUG WAR???

http://sensiblecolorado.org/mission/

 

Question to SENSIBLE supporters: How can you justify incarcerating "underground cartels (read Nederland hippies) if you are in favor of legalization???

Bad_Apple
Bad_Apple

"There appear to be some bad apples, and those businesses should be dealt with accordingly."

 

ROTFLMAO!

 

Excellent! Couldn't get a better quote to PROVE what a SELLOUT Vincente, Trvert, SENSIBLE, SAFER, NORML, DPA, etc are.

 

So these organizations favor the "legalization" of marijuana, but not the "legalization" of "bad apples".

 

What a bunch of HYPOCRITES! Better add them to the BOYCOTT LIST!!!

Monkey
Monkey

There are too many quotes from Vicente to make fun of. "Regulations" stop the black market, laws prevent people from breaking laws, 100s of MMCs operate in compliance? It's just plain funny now, to see him scramble and defend our silly rules. Cannabis, the most prevalent "illegal" drug has been used and sold forever, no matter what laws say, laws don't prevent crime, they allow Vicente to defend people after they break the laws he encouraged them to break. It's clear people, including government, want weed to be private, not commercial. The more we commercialize it, the more people will object. Kids who don't understand self-incrimination and prohibition are the only ones who think weed stores are cool, adults realize privacy and quality have always served them better. Tax free tobacco and alcohol are still huge markets, with the "regulated" playing a big part in that market. Do I even have to mention the pharmaceutical black market thriving more than ever. No one has ever cared about weed, until you force it down their throat, and make the "regulated" operate like large scale traffickers, that scares people. Our commercialize model has encouraged the "regulated" to break the law because they can't survive without the black market, and at the same time, it has brought more exposure and harm to the people than "illegal" drug dealers have ever done. When you are proud you smoke weed and want everyone to know about it, you hurt the general population more than the people who quietly enjoy their weed and don't care what everyone else thinks. Show some respect for yourself and cannabis by using and selling it in private. Weed is better than tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceuticals, don't treat it or "regulate" it like those poisons.

CoreyDonahue
CoreyDonahue

Lies, lies and more lies.  But good luck on not changing a damn thing and feeling secure in your jobs as fake, cannabis activist, jobs."READ A64, the campaign is lying to you and you sit there and believe it like a pack of dunces!

IcePick
IcePick

 @Anon "lying lies" "paid pro-prohibiion pot pimps" - Hi Jerry, er, Bad_Apple, er Donkey Hotay!  You really do give skunks a bad name, you suck at this.  You suck hard.

IcePick
IcePick

 @Anon "paid pro-prohibiion pot pimps" - Hi Jerry, er, Bad_Apple, er Donkey Hotay!  You really do give skunks a bad name, you suck at this.  You suck hard.

Monkey
Monkey

 @Anon I don't support A64 because A20 is better. A20 lets you grow more plants for yourself, grow for others, and carry more with you than A64 allows. It will not "put the black market out of business", just like A20 or HB 1284/1043 didn't do anything to prevent the black market.  If anything, "harassing benign MJ smokers", will increase because more people will think it's "legal" to use it like alcohol, when it's clearly not. For you, or anyone else, to define what "responsible consumption" is, is disgusting, you are a confused prohibitionist and a dictator who thinks of them self as an activist. I have learned that limitations is not legalization, and although I appreciate the limited protection A20 allows, I will not vote for something that "legalizes" less than is already "legal" with a doctors note. No one will lose if it passes, except the kids smoking at the park because they thought it was legal, and the guy that pops a 10 pack of seeds because he thought it was legal, but no one will win if it passes either, that's why it is not worth voting for. We didn't end alcohol prohibition 1oz at a time, why do you think we have to end marijuana prohibition that way? Go to a doctor and enjoy all the weed you need, legally, then you can wait for something worth voting for, and not blindly vote for anything with the word marijuana in it. A NO vote is not a vote for prohibition, it is a vote saying you want less prohibited acts than A64 allows, and to come up with a better initiative next time, one we can all vote for. If you want the black market to go away, legalize it like tomatoes, if you want to keep the black market strong, regulate it like alcohol, tobacco and firearms.

Bad_Apple
Bad_Apple

 @Anon Oh, could you also define "irresponsible consumption" of cannabis. Do tell, and show your work.

Bad_Apple
Bad_Apple

 @Anon More lying lies from the paid pro-prohibiion pot pimps behind A64. Hi, Betty Aldworth! Too afraid to post with your name anymore?

 

How can this "bill" (it is really a citizen's ballot initiative, not a bill, so shows how much you know) be pro-"legalization" when you still want to criminalize the "black market"?????  Today's "dispensary" was yesterday's "black market drug cartel", so who are you really supporting here? Only the police benefit from A64, by making it easier for them to bust you!

TraceTrotter
TraceTrotter

 @DonkeyHotay I fail to see why you believe that making a small amount of marijuana possession legal for all adults 21 and over is considered "continued prohibition."  Are there some restrictions?  Yes, but there have to be so the mainstream voters agree with it.  Keep in mind, this similar proposal FAILED 5 short years ago, so no mandate yet exists to "free the weed."

 

By voting no, you are voting for continued illegality.  Regulation or illegality?  Take your pick, or spearhead your own amendment next year.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Bad_Apple The Emperor has No Clothes.

 

Vicente has finally outed himself as the pro-law enforcement, anti-marijuana, prohibitionist, opportunistic scumbag that he's always been.

 

 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Bad_Apple 

 

Brian Vicente = pro-law enforcement, prohibitionist scum.

.

 

Bad_Apple
Bad_Apple

 @Monkey Well-put. And how can anyone say they're in favor of "legalization" of marijuana when they are in favor of putting "bad apples" in jail? VOTE NO ON 64 -- it's a set-up by the lawyers and paid pot pimps like Vincente to keep their own jobs and fund law enforcement.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @IcePick Poor Brian, suffering from unmitigated paranoia and delusion.

IcePick
IcePick

 @Bad_Apple Donkey, why do you post under a pseudonym and then "like" your own post.  Is it that difficult to be you and have nobody like your posts?  (yes).

Anon
Anon

 @Bad_Apple  I do not know who Betty is. An advocate? No, I am not getting paid for this. I am doing this because it is the right thing to do. It is only myself.  

Interesting you speak about the past, because I remember very clearly when medicinal MJ was entering the public discourse. Back then, all my lobbying of friends, family, neighbors and just about anyone I could find was done in person. I spoke on the street, the parks, to strangers in line at the store. I would not take 'no' for an answer. I never thought for a moment that I would ever get an MMJ card, but I gave a lot of my time and effort to make sure those who could not walk had a voice in support of their medicinal use. My voice. I was not paid for that either. I did it because it was the right thing to do. Among it's many positive effects, it was the first step in a gradual process, just like A64 is the next step. 

And now... the loudest voices who think it should be illegal for me to have my own recreational ounce are fighting to keep the present law. 

What do you have to lose? Please, be specific about the law as it is written in the amendment.  Where does law enforcement suddenly have the right to hurt you if it passes and it becomes legal? I fought for you, and now you fight against me. If it passes, what are you going to lose?  

 

Voting YES to 64 is the moral thing to do. It is the right thing to do. 

literature
literature

 @DonkeyHotay "...you gutless shit-sucking maggot"

 

You know, even if you were totally on the right side of this argument, you're such an insufferable, immature ass that no one will ever listen to you. I presume--since you spend the majority of every waking moment posting comments to MMJ articles in the Westword (which speaks volumes about you, I might add)--that you're objective is to convince people who might read these articles not to vote for A64. While this may seem to intelligent, sane people to be a colossal waste of one's day--to each his or her own, it's America. My point is, you come off like such a fucking obnoxious, childish, immature clown that nobody is ever going to listen  to you. So basically, you're wasting your time posting here, which means you're wasting your entire day, since posting here is all you seem to do.

 

I don't care one way or another about A64, but I think I'll probably vote in favor of it just because you're such an obnoxious baby.

 

So you say you're a childish dickhead?

 

Noted.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Gary_Bowlmen"The only difference between me and you is, I understand how bills work and are passed."

 

HipTip -- A64 is a PERMANENT AMENDMENT to the COLORADO CONSTITUTION. No sane person would AMEND the CONSTITUTION with such dysfunctional, ineffective crap.

 

No sane person would use the CONSTITUTION to DENY! rights to citizens, as A64 DENIES ANY LEGAL ACCESS to ANY marijuana for 10s of thousands of ADULTS < 21.

 

No sane person would use the CONSTITUTION to DENY! rights to citizens, as A64 DENIES the private sale of ANY AMOUNT -- even one gram -- between consenting ADULTS.

 

No sane person would use the CONSTITUTION to PERMANENTLY declare and enshrine a NEW CRIME -- DUI Marijuana! -- especially without even DEFINING or QUANTIFYING IT!

 

Just how fucking INSANE are you, Gary Blowmen aka. Cody Burton?

 

 

*** A64 does NOT legalize Marijuana -- not even close ***

 

Gary_Bowlmen
Gary_Bowlmen

@DonkeyHotay

A64 attempts to take a schedule one drug with 70 + years of history behind it and tries to regulate it similar to alcohol.Because if A64 were to fail do you really think that we will go from

 Amendment 64: makes the personal use, possession, and limited home-growing of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older. To accepting this “anybody anywhere at anytime for any reason can grow as much marijuana and keep as much marijuana and use as much marijuana as they like.I understand that you support removing all criminal laws against cannabis and leaving absolutely no regulatory structure in its place . But in all actuality its silly talk for one reason its not going to happen !!! The only difference between me and you is, I understand how bills work and are passed. If it's so easy name one country that has a  “anybody anywhere at anytime for any reason can grow as much marijuana and keep as much marijuana and use as much marijuana as they like set of rules .

 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Gary_Bowlmen 

 

A64 provides NO FUNCTIONAL benefit to any real-world marijuana users or growers due to its absurdly minuscule limits of 1 (one) ounce and only 3 (three) flowering plants.

 

It also disenfranchises 10s of thousands of Adults <21 from any protections whatsoever. 

 

A64 = a CONTINUATION of 99.9% of CRIMINAL PROHIBITION against Marijuana.

 

A64 does NOT allow ANY private sales between consenting adults.

 

A64 = admits that Marijuana is too harmful and dangerous for 10s of thousands of ADULTS to be trusted with ANY amount whatsoever.

 

A64 does NOT legalize Marijuana -- not even close.

 

 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Gary_Bowlmen IN THE INTEREST OF THE EFFICIENT USE OF **LAW ENFORCEMENT** RESOURCES, **ENHANCING REVENUE** ...

 

Yep -- PRO-Law Enforcement, Pro-New Taxes!

 

.

Gary_Bowlmen
Gary_Bowlmen

 @DonkeyHotay Just be honest DonkeyHotay you don't like A64 because it does not create a free for all Cannabis market !  

Gary_Bowlmen
Gary_Bowlmen

 @DonkeyHotay IN THE INTEREST OF THE EFFICIENT USE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES, ENHANCING REVENUE FOR PUBLIC PURPOSES, AND INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM, THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF COLORADO FIND AND DECLARE THAT THE USE OF MARIJUANA SHOULD BE LEGAL FOR PERSONS TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER AND TAXED IN A MANNER SIMILAR TO ALCOHOL.(I) INDIVIDUALS WILL HAVE TO SHOW PROOF OF AGE BEFORE PURCHASING MARIJUANA;Yup sounds like Prohibition to me. 

Gary_Bowlmen
Gary_Bowlmen

 @DonkeyHotay DonkeyHotay= Free the weed Hippie DonkeyHotay= Prohibitionist disguised as a  Cannabis smoker. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Anon  

 

A64 = a CONTINUATION of CRIMINAL PROHIBITION

 

A64 maintains 99.9% of CRIMINAL PROHIBITIONS against MARIJUANA users and growers.

 

Why do you support maintaining 99.9% of the "black market" ? ,you gutless shit-sucking maggot.

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