Marijuana: Amendment 64 opponents, backers fueled by controversial out-of-state money

marijuana photo cropped.JPG
Update below: While Washington and Oregon have marijuana measures on the November ballot, Colorado's Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, continues to attract more than its share of national attention -- and money from national organizations. Indeed, even as 64 opponents decry the out-of-state dollars fueling pro-Regulate forces, they're collecting cash from an outside outfit who critics say has links to beatings and rape.

I-News has done a fine job tracking the moolah attracted by Amendment 64 in stories like this one, as well as via its Voter's Edge website. Here, for example, is a graphic depicting funding in support of the proposal through September 18:

amendment 64 funding graphic 1.jpg
As you can see, the majority of the lucre (82.4 percent) was donated by the national Marijuana Policy Project, with other beyond-Colorado organizations, including Drug Policy Action and Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps contributing sizable chunks of the $1.4 million raised for the effort through mid-month.

These figures explain the following statement from Roger Sherman, the No on 64 campaign director, shared as part of his response to a Denver Post poll from a week and a half back showing the initiative with over 50 percent support. "We have seen a tidal wave of out-of-state money trying to influence the outcome of our election and seeking to use Colorado as test case for a national pro-pot agenda," he said in a statement. "We always knew it would be an uphill battle to fully inform Coloradans about this dangerous, deceptive amendment to our state constitution."

Betty Aldworth, a spokeswoman for Amendment 64, rejects Sherman's characterization.

"The proponents of the initiative" -- Mason Tvert and Brian Vicente -- " have been working on this issue in Colorado for eight years, and I'm a seventeen-year Coloradan. We are not carpetbaggers. We've been concerned about the welfare of Coloradans for long enough that this claim can be shown to be baseless."

Aldworth adds that "it's entirely typical that campaigns receive support from national organizations."

That's also true of Smart Colorado, which isn't exactly eschewing donations from folks without Colorado area codes. Here's an I-News graphic showing its funding through September 18:

amendment 64 funding graphic 2.jpg
The total shown above is much smaller than the pile o' dough gathered by those in favor of Amendment 64 -- but the percentage of out of state money is similar. The $151,000 or so from Save Our Society From Drugs (SOSFD), based in Florida, accounts for just over 78 percent of Smart Colorado's donations.

Moreover, SOSFD carries other baggage, as recounted in a recent article from The Nation headlined "GOP Mogul Behind Drug Rehab 'Torture' Centers Is Bankrolling Opposition to Pot Legalization in Colorado."

Continue to read more about Save Our Society From Drugs -- and to see a response from Smart Colorado spokespersons.


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20 comments
kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt topcommenter

"he says he's seen no evidence to suggest the negative claims are true. Indeed, he believes them to be "baseless"

 

Roger Sherman, you are a bald faced liar.  Anyone that has googled "Sembler Straight" has already seen the primary source material that proves that the torture occurred.  I have seen dozens of court documents at www.thestraights.com and hours of news reports by the major networks on Youtube.  

 

Smart Colorado has been exposed as heartless lying cowards by their association with Mel Sembler.  Shame on you Sherman and your liar-in-chief Laura Chapin.

Stephen At Half Aspen
Stephen At Half Aspen

Mark, I agree in part with your points on the benefits of legalization but a far simpler and socially palatable option existed and was completely ignored by those rabidly seeking the plant's legalization. They needed only to seek the deletion of a physician's examination to obtain the MMJ Card. This would have allowed the state to keep the mechanisms in place to control and tax the product as they do now while at the same time limiting it's availability to licensed dispensaries. It would have essentially legalized it without risking voters thinking it'll rest on 7-11 shelves beside the M&M's. As it stands, not a chance in Hell.

Mark Theguythatcouldfly
Mark Theguythatcouldfly

Of course it's not surprising. People are affraid of things they don't understand, so the fight has not been surprising. But when we legalize cannabis for all responsible adults, it's going to change the game! Good people will move here from every corner of the country because they're tired of feeling like a 2nd-class citizen for choosing a safer option to alcohol, and the millions of dollars that was going to cartels and gangs will now go to schools and the local ecnomy. This is a HUGE deal; it's going to change the world for the better!

Stephen At Half Aspen
Stephen At Half Aspen

I'm not in the least surprised to see the money flowing in. There's only one explanation for the idiocy exemplified by our our state government, we've obviously got the best politicians money can buy.

Keith Bryant
Keith Bryant

So, is that 'yes' on fecal matter? Lol. Paul, does your position mean you also oppose any money from out of state sources funding campaigns for public office? Or out of state 'super-PACs' running ads on Colorado TV and radio? Or is it just this issue? I'm not from Colorado, nor do I partake of the reefers, so I don't have a horse in this race. I'm just curious. I am also curious how many drinkers oppose this Amendment, but that's another topic for another day.

Paul Vincent Saurini
Paul Vincent Saurini

If you have money, you can get fecal matter on a ballot and call it democratic! Hooo rah!

Paul Vincent Saurini
Paul Vincent Saurini

Yes it does. Out of state interests need not determine what is best for Colorado. These particular interests have THEIR OWN interests. Does it bother Westword?? Huh? Huh?

commonsense
commonsense

arguing over cash inflow? In California the opposition to legalization was funded by Big Alcohol. Outspent the pro movement too. Apples to apples.

Suun
Suun

Why isn't the $800,000 + from Peter Lewis of Progressive Insurance not listed?

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

Wrong, Michael:  funding for the campaign for Amendment 64 is NOT controversial, though a headline like that can certainly convey the misimpression that it is.  The campaign anticipated attacks of this sort, but it turns out that voters do not care about the fact that most of the money for the campaign comes from out-of-state.  Much of opponents' money comes from prohibitionist swine who do not live in Colorado; I recognize at least two contributors from the fascist stronghold where I was born -- Pinellas County, Florida fascists.  Opponents have not a single valid argument against the Amendment; it makes good sense to legalize the limited use of cannabis by adults, and most Coloradans know it.  Focus on the substance of the debate, please.  The lying scum who profit from Prohibition are everywhere, but it is becoming clearer and clearer that they are a parasitic scourge on society infinitely worse than any harm caused by all illicit drugs combined and multiplied.

 

Prohibitionists are mortal enemies of our liberties at least as much as Osama bin Laden was -- these people should not exist in America, or anywhere.

CONative
CONative

 @Suun Both Washington and Colorado.. the guy has an agenda

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt topcommenter

 @RobertChase You are right about Pinellas County.  I lived there for four years.  Lots of great people there, but lots of evil prohibitionists as well.

 

Do you remember a billboard that said "Rock Music is Poisoning our Youth"? It was around 1989 when I saw it.

Monkey
Monkey

 @RobertChase Now I understand why Donkey would keep your quotes, this one will be funny when the topic is gun control.

"Prohibitionists are mortal enemies of our liberties at least as much as Osama bin Laden was -- these people should not exist in America, or anywhere."

The prohibitionists that support A64 will still be able to search cars/homes, arrest/jail people, prohibit use/cultivation for tenants and administer probation and counseling to people caught with amounts already considered "legal" in Colorado. When the "assault weapons" ban expired, I was immediately allowed to posses unlimited amounts of AR-15s, even though one would satisfy most people. When alcohol prohibition ended, people were immediately allowed to posses unlimited amounts of alcohol, even though one bottle of whiskey would satisfy most. Why do you believe cannabis could/should be re-legalized an ounce at a time? Do you have an example of anything else that was re-legalized an ounce at a time? Has that approach ever worked before, or is marijuana the only thing that needs to be spoon fed to people in small amounts over vast amounts of time while claiming baby step victories? With or without A64, our 12 year old MMJ laws provide more protection from prohibition for all adults in Colorado. 

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

 @CONative  @Suun Yes, Peter Lewis has an agenda; he is a cancer survivor who benefitted from the use of cannabis during chemotherapy -- his agenda is to legalize cannabis!

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt topcommenter

 @Monkey  @RobertChase 

 

"The prohibitionists that support A64 will still be able to search cars/homes, arrest/jail... people caught with amounts already considered "legal" in Colorado."

 

"amounts considered 'legal'"?

 

Marijuana possession is currently illegal in Colorado without a doctor's recommendation. A64 legalizes up to an ounce, removing the $100 penalty currently assessed under C.R.S. 18-18-406 (1).

 

All other provisions, such as the $100 fine assessed for possession up to two ounces, will remain unchanged.  In addition, cultivation of six or fewer plants without a doctor's recommendation is currently a class one misdemeanor, punishable by a jail sentence of up to 18 months (  C.R.S. 18-18-406  (7.5.).

 

A64 will remove the penalties for growing up to six plants (three flowering plants). 

 

In other words, A64 eliminates the need for  lame "doctors visits", and renewing with the state every year.

 

The relevant statutes are here, if you need to brush up on your knowledge of Colorado law:

 

http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/olls/sl2010a/sl_259.htm

IcePick
IcePick

 @Monkey  @RobertChase 

I'm sorry Monkey, where was that initiative YOU drafted?  It sure is easy to come here anonymously and pick on Robert but it is because of him and people like him that we have the luxury to discuss this matter at all.  You well know the reason you can have an AR15 is that the NRA said it's ok to do so, not for any other reason.  I accept your right to own a gun when you are part of an organized militia but outside that no such right exists and there is no comparison between your gun (which kills) and marijuana (which does not).  

 

The only thing I take away from your misguided post is that it is unfortunate that cancer patients don't have as strong a lobby as the idiot gun owner lobby.

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