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