Marijuana: Amendment 64 opponents lying, intimidating supporters, says Mason Tvert
For months, there's been tension aplenty between supporters and opponents of Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act -- and with the election a week away, it's still rising. Example: The No on 64 campaign says claims by backers don't hold up under scrutiny, prompting proponent Mason Tvert to accuse those against the measure of intimidation and "flat-out lying."
The latest dispute flows from a Yes on 64 announcement earlier this month involving more than 300 doctors who voiced their support for the initiative. Among these physicians were a number who live and practice on Colorado's largely conservative Western Slope -- but a recent article in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reveals that at least three of them now claim they don't actually favor the act. Why not? Two of the docs failed to return calls to the Sentinel, but the third, plastic surgeon Dr. William Merkel, says he misread the letter he received from the campaign; he says he thought the amendment was actually an anti-marijuana proposal.
In Tvert's view, the Sentinel report "isn't much of a story. To me, the real story is that more than 300 physicians across 55-plus cities and towns in Colorado think it's time to end marijuana prohibition and regulate marijuana like alcohol. And I think it's unfortunate that the Grand Junction Sentinel has decided to report on two or three physicians who are now not sure they support this initiative, when they made it abundantly clear they did" -- he says he has signed postcards confirming that -- "rather than focusing on the fact that hundreds of physicians do support this initiative."
Larry Bedard, past president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, is among the doctors supporting Amendment 64.
Predictably, Laura Chapin, spokeswoman for Smart Colorado, the No on 64 organization, has a different opinion. In a statement sent to Westword, she wrote, "This seems to be a pattern with the proponents -- making claims about the proposal and about their support that don't hold up under further scrutiny. They've constantly had to backtrack, issue corrections and take down billboards."
This last reference involves a Grand Junction billboard featuring televangelist Pat Robertson, who had expressed his support for Amendment 64 in a New York Times article. Nonetheless, Robertson objected to the use of his name and image on the sign, and the Yes on 64 forces removed it upon his request.
"Even worse than overstating their support, their claims about what the legislation will do fail the truth test," Chapin went on. "They admit that the money isn't there for schools and that the excise tax can't be enacted by Amendment 64. There is no money for schools in Amendment 64, despite what their ad falsely says."
The Pat Robertson billboard, which was up for a short time in Grand Junction.
Continue to read more about the claims of Amendment 64's proponents and opponents.