Marijuana: Amendment 64 backers lose Blue Book fight, rip government deception
Original post, 8:15 a.m. September 12: This afternoon, Amendment 64 backers are slated to argue in court that changes made in the Blue Book voters guide to the marijuana measure should be reversed. The experience sparks déjà vu for proponent Mason Tvert. After all, a similar Blue Book dust-up took place in 2006 over a different marijuana-legalization measure.
As we've reported, the state's legislative council held a hearing last week that excised the following three sentences from the pro-Amendment 64 section of the Blue Book, a ballot guide provided to state voters:
The use of marijuana by adults may be less harmful than the use of alcohol or tobacco, both of which are already legal for adults to use and are regulated by the state. Furthermore, marijuana may be beneficial for individuals with certain debilitating conditions. The consequences of burdening adults with a criminal record for possession of small amounts of marijuana are too severe, and there are better uses for state resources than prosecuting such low-level crimes.
According to proponents, many of the legislators on the council thought they were approving the removal of two words from previous sentences, not the elimination of this text block -- an edit that creates an imbalance between the arguments for the measure (206 words) versus those against it (366 words).
Tvert hopes today's hearing, in which a judge will be asked to reinstate this language and order a hearing so legislators can address the issue, will turn out differently than one six years ago. Back then, the initiative Tvert supported, dubbed Amendment 44, "added five words to the Colorado statute pertaining to marijuana possession," he allows. "Colorado law said it's illegal for anyone to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. And all we did was add 'under the age of 21,' thereby omitting adults 21 and older, and allowing them to possess an ounce of marijuana legally."
Seems simple enough -- but, Tvert says, the legislative council that approves Blue Book text "included a false statement that the initiative we were running would make it legal to transfer marijuana without remuneration to people who were fifteen to eighteen years old, when, in fact, it would have remained entirely illegal."
The claim is not entirely without foundation. "Another statute said transferring marijuana without remuneration is defined as possession," Tvert notes. "Therefore, our initiative, by making possession legal for adults 21 and over, also in theory made transferring without remuneration legal."
However, Tvert goes on, such a transfer "would have remained a crime, because it would have been contributing to the delinquency of a minor. And that crime had a more severe penalty than marijuana possession."
Continue reading about the Blue Book fights of 2006 and 2012.