Marijuana: Michael Hancock rips Amendment 64, campaign responds (update)
Update by Michael Roberts, 12:13 p.m. October 23: In the original post above, we noted that we had contacted the Amendment 64 campaign and offered representatives an opportunity to respond to Mayor Michael Hancock's comments about the initiative. Moments ago, we received a statement accompanied by a link to a photo of Hancock from our Cafe Society item "Mayor Hancock is back in the tap room -- this time for Prost Brewing's Oktoberfest."
We are disappointed that Mayor Hancock is not basing his public policy on evidence. It is well-established that the gateway effect is not an effect of marijuana itself, but rather of marijuana prohibition. When you want to buy a six pack of beer -- a substance our elected officials are happy to celebrate -- you go to the store and buy a six pack, and the cashier doesn't offer you harder drugs. The same cannot be said for the gangs and cartels, who our opponents seem to prefer be in charge of the vast non-medical marijuana market in Colorado.More from our Politics archive: Photos: "Colorado Democrats push early vote (for Obama) on heels of high registration numbers"
And as to concerns about tourism, conventions, and businesses, visitdenver.org tells us that 2009, 2010, and 2011 all brought increasing numbers of conventions and overnight visitors to Denver. Perhaps more people are inclined to visit our beautiful city because of the low rates of retail vacancy or the $350,000 in taxes generated for the city each month by medical marijuana businesses, which can be used to keep our streets safe and clean.
Or perhaps they feel more comfortable visiting a city that is home to voters who, since 2005, have understood that marijuana prohibition is a failed policy and have twice voted to shift law enforcement resources away from enforcing laws against personal possession of marijuana.
Regardless, we ask of Mayor Hancock what we would ask of any voter in Colorado: look at the evidence. Amendment 64 will result in a better use of law enforcement resources, a regulated market in the hands of businesspeople with a vested interest in following the law, new jobs and more small businesses growing our economy, and the end to the arrest of 10,000-plus Coloradans each year who are disproportionately people of color -- especially here in the Queen City.