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Marijuana: Denver DA Mitch Morrissey joins law enforcers denouncing Amendment 64

mitch morrissey cropped.jpg
Mitch Morrissey.
As we noted in a post yesterday about more than 300 doctors urging approval of Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, shortly after a state organization of pediatricians denounced it, those for and against the measure are engaging in the equivalent of endorsement wars. Today's salvo? Denver DA Mitch Morrissey will join other law enforcement officials to say why they think the measure should be rejected.

Laura Chapin, spokeswoman for Smart Colorado, the No on 64 campaign, offered us a preview of the event, which takes place on the State Capitol steps at noon today; get full details below.

Thumbnail image for grayson robinson.jpg
Grayson Robinson.
According to Chapin, Morrissey and his fellow speakers -- Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, Broomfield Chief of Police Thomas Deland, and Vicki Ferrari, boardmember of the Colorado Drug Investigators Association (and former American Gladiators contestant) -- have expressed their antipathy for Amendment 64 in the past, as has Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hillkey, appearing at a separate event in Palisade, on the Western Slope.

"I know they've been speaking out against it with groups and their peers for a while now," Chapin says. "But this is sort of their first major media event."

As such, she continues, "they'll be able to show that people who are actually on the front lines of Colorado law enforcement, people who are current officers from across the state, are opposed to this. And they'll be highlighting not just the traditional concerns about marijuana law, but they're also going to go after what opponents are saying about providing money for schools, which Amendment 64 won't."

The school-funding carrot is certainly one of the act's prime selling points. In yesterday's post, Betty Aldworth, spokeswoman for the campaign, stressed that the measure "will also benefit Colorado children, with $40 million in tax revenue put into school capital construction."

However, Chapin points out that the excise tax written into Amendment 64 and earmarked for this purpose "won't automatically do that." Instead, legislators would have to pass a law directing money to this purpose. For that reason, she goes on, "they're relying on a hypothetical. They're counting on the idea that the legislature will magically do what they want them to do, and as someone who's worked with the legislature for a long time, I can tell you that's frequently not the case."

Continue to read more of our interview with Smart Colorado's Laura Chapin and get details about today's anti-Amendment 64 event.



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43 comments
budstash
budstash

Except Colorado has added hundreds of grows and retail operations, just drive down Broadway and pay attention, and yet teen marijuana use in Colorado has dropped.

threebang3
threebang3

Yes two of the MOSTaddictive substances are heroin and nicotine, but an addiction is an addiction.  If you are addicted to pot and spend the majority of your time using isn't that detrimental to your life? 

threebang3
threebang3

Drive "To safe" when you are stoned?  What have you been smoking? 

threebang3
threebang3

Trust me when I tell you cops don't sit around wringing their hands, responding to pot calls all shift- leaving the murderers and car thieves to roam freely.  That is some type of weird urban legend that has absolutely no truth whatsoever to it.

threebang3
threebang3

The facts do not contradict what I am saying.  Where do you get your facts?  Is that what NORML is telling you in an election year?  The most recent study on marijuana spoke of the link between marijuana usage and the impact is has on developing brains.  It wasn't good either. 

 

Also right in the book "Marijuana" by William Goodwin alcohol users that become addicted is approximately 15%, while drug users who become addicted to marijuana is approximately 9%. 

 

We will see a lot more effects on our society when it becomes legal.  Alcohol was legal, then illegal, then legal again right.  And by the mere fact it's legal- alcohol is fine right.  Now it may be pot is legal, then illegal, then legal again.

 

I am still waiting on those compelling reasons that show how much pot enhances our culture and society. 

IcePick
IcePick

Yes on A64, the only people against it are people exactly like Dan May (tell me this isn't a direct quote from donkey hotay):

 

“Amendment 64 is bad public policy. It’s bad for Colorado, and it’s bad for our youth,”

- District Attorney Dan May 

threebang3
threebang3

If your marijuana effected/ low sperm count nuts are ever able to produce kids, do you want them smoking it?  What about your doctor right before surgery?  What about the pilot on the plane you are on? What about your kids buddy, who is driving he and your kid to school?

 

Also don't say the same holds true if your doctor is drunk BECAUSE there is a higher chance your doctor would be drunk because alcohol is LEGAL and easily accessable.

threebang3
threebang3

Have you ever noticed that every study that says "hey.  Pot isn't all that bad" is considered legit, while the studies that say "you can't drive all that well stoned, approximately 9% of the smokers of pot become addicts, or that pot has a serious negative impact on developing brains" are all unture and part of this vast conspiracy?  If pot were legalized, the cops, courts, and jails would go broke- PLEEEEEEZE.

threebang3
threebang3

Nice theory, but delusional.  Our jails are not overflowing with "law abidding" pot smokers.  You aren't looking at the bad associated with marijuana legalization (addiction, stoned drivers behind the wheel of a car, the impact it will undoubtedly have on the health of our society, and the impact is has on developing teenage brains).  No, you are just another American entranced by the "Conspiracy" that you think is our society.

coloradommjpatient
coloradommjpatient

Michael,

 

Follow the money. Look into how much keeping cannabis illegal helps fill the local jails and feed the prison machine. They are making a mint off of court fees, etc. Cannabis prohibition = job security for them. 

threebang3
threebang3

In a great number of cities, small amounts of marijuana have been decriminalized.  So compare it to being pulled over for running a red light.  If that is your only accussed offense, you are released on a ticket.  In 20 years of being a police officer I have never arrested a person for smoking pot.  Our department also does not earmark funds designated to some "Arresting pot smokers, while violent criminals rule the streets" task force.

 

Oh and by the way, you are in violation of the law if you are smoking pot, so saying you are "law abiding citizens" is a lie.

 

Can you please help me out here and list some legitimate reasons as to how pot will enhance our American society?  And don't give me the "it's less harmful than alcohol" theory.  That compares to saying shooting myself in the foot is much better than shooting myself in the head. d don't hand me what the idoti from NORML throws out there either about it being better to legalize it and have our government control it.  He thinks this will cut down on what would be labeled as illegal consumption (kids).  That just gives kids another source of marijuana (think about the times that alcoholics go into liquor stores and purchase liquor for teenagers). Two things (alcohol and marijuana) that do not enhance our society do not need to be legal. 

 

Leave it at medical pot.  There is truely no NEED to legalize marijuana.  Please remember this election year so that later on in life you can tell your kids "yeah.  I voted to legalize pot, and I am damned proud of it!"  Ever gone to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and asked a legit, recovering alcoholic what they though of alcohol??

thedawg
thedawg

"It turns Colorado into the pot manufacturing capital of the United States. It will create an entire industry with grows, manufacturing, retail and marketing"

 

Am I the only one who thinks that outcome WOULD BE AWESOME!!!

whyisthis
whyisthis

go arrest some violent criminals! They don't want the feast of easy arrests to end! It's SO EASY to arrest pot smokers, because almost all of them are law abiding citizens. Any cop that takes the time to stand up against A64 just wants to keep arresting non-violent citizens instead of say.... murderers, gangs dealing meth/coke/pills... it's a distraction to keep us thinking they are doing something useful that involves virtually no risk. SO MUCH public money is wasted on this! Robinson should be removed for his laziness alone!

Iconoclast
Iconoclast

When amendment 64 passes on November 6th and should our state and local governments refuse to honor our wishes I will guarantee you this will be start of the 2nd American revolution. I doubt very much that these so called leaders have the cajones to confront the torch and pitchfork  crowd since they haven't been able to demonstrate any courage right up through today!

orson
orson

 @threebang3  Try hitting the reply button, it makes conversations easier that way.

orson
orson

 @threebang3  I believe you.  A64 supporters are delusional if they think the amendment will change the way law enforcement officers in colorado operate.  Police will still be ticketing anyone who uses marijuana in public, police will still be arresting and jailing people for illegally distributing marijuana, police will still be raiding large illegal grows, police will still be fighting the cartel grows in colorado forests, etc etc.

wakeup
wakeup

 @threebang3 A person could show you facts but I feel ignorance would prevent the knowledge transfer. Oh and the study you are referring was also a government funded study, I love how no one ever mentions the Nixon studies all of the negative claims the administration made were proven false and the Nixon administration did not release the studies funny right. The government and the studies they do usually give the answer they want  even if false. Ever watch a drug commercial count how many issues the drug may cause but the government said it is ok so it must be........no people it is all driven by money and greed. I love hearing about the pot clowns and big business ect and what do you call the pharmaceutical industries then. Phen phen was a drug that was a fast track drug pushed to recover the money used in the creation and studies of it. It was pushed through with little time to study and it ended up blowing heart valves causing injury or worse death but we must put focus on cannabis which in no way has the serious issues the stuff our government say's is ok. People's issue with cannabis is not safety or facts but more social and personal issues due to the amount of lies and misinformation given in schools or tv...wake up threebang3

betweenthelines
betweenthelines

 @threebang3 Someone choosing to use pot instead of something more dangerous effects your life in absolutely no way. That's the only 'reason' anyone will ever need in a free society. It's up to the dopes to prove it is as dangerous as they have been saying all these years, not the other way around.  This is a fight you people are losing and losing fast.

orson
orson

 @IcePick   You seem obsessed with donkey hotay.  Here is a question for you, how did you get access to donkey's ip address?  You seem to come out of nowhere when donkey was at his/her peak and were claiming to have ip addresses from his/her posts and claimed to know who he/she was.  It was soon after that he/she quit posting here.....please explain how you became privy to this information that I think only a westword moderator would have access to.

orson
orson

 @threebang3  I see no problem with mixing medicines used responsibly for legitimate medical conditions with any activity.  People do it with ssris, sleep-aids, pain relievers, and other potentially impairing medicines every day.  If they are using it medicinally and are not impaired by it I would not have a problem with my surgeon or pilot using any medicine that helps their medical condition, including marijuana.  But, if they are using marijuana or any drug as a recreational substance like alcohol then yes I would have a problem with it.  Partying should not be mixed with work, driving, etc. Another example on why treating marijuana like a recreational drug is bad for medical marijuana patients.  Go work on "legalizing" recreational lunesta or something A64 supporting morons.  Marijuana still isn't accepted as a medical drug and if recreational users have their way it never will be.  Damn A64 sucks....good for stoners....bad for medicinal marijuana users.

IcePick
IcePick

 @threebang3 

Your attempt to teach us something has failed as that story was debunked.

IcePick
IcePick

 @threebang3 

The police will hardly go broke as a result of legalizing and taxing marijuana.  More likely they will solve more murders and car thefts because they will no longer be burdened with harassing people over a harmless plant.

darktower1977
darktower1977

 @threebang3 The 'addiction' factor you speak of is a little blown out of proportion. Being addicted to marijuana, and then quitting, gives you the same withdrawal effects as you would get if you were to quit taking any caffiene products. It's not like heroin, or even cigarettes, where the person practically needs to be locked in a room until they stop vomiting.

 

Driving while stoned is also bad, and shouldn't be done, but the truth is this, it doesn't affect driving in any way shape or form like alcohol does. Mostly it makes people drive TOO safe.

 

There will be little effect on the health of 'society' as you see it. Most of the people who smoke/eat marijuana are the majority demographic to purchase it legally anyways. Outside of the negative effects of taking ANY smoke into a person's lungs, marijuana is probably the safest recreational substance one could enjoy with the smallest risk of something 'bad' happening.

 

Also, regulation and taxation will provide the state with money that would otherwise be going into the pockets of out of state cartels or dealers.

 

If you're going to allow alcohol and cigarettes, why not reap the benefits of a recreational substance less dangerous than either of those two by a LONG way?

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

 @threebang3 The facts are readily available, and they contradict your puerile assumptions -- go, be ignorant!

orson
orson

 @threebang3  Glad to see you are not against medical marijuana.  I use marijuana medicinally and it helps with my pain more than I could ever explain. 

 

A64 fans, see why this amendment would be bad for medical marijuana? Roughly 50% of colorado voters agree with threebang3 and since legislators will not differentiate between recreational use and medical use medical marijuana patients will get regulated and treated like recreational users.  Don't re-brand medical marijuana as a recreational drug....don't vote to regulate medical marijuana patients as recreational drug users.   Vote no on A64 and keep marijuana medical. 

Iconoclast
Iconoclast

@3bang- How about the notion that the drug war has caused far more harm and expense than any damage the drugs themselves have caused? On that note, since when does the government have the right to restrict the use of any drugs by it's citizens? If you agree the government has that right than you must also be willing to agree the government has the right to restrict alcohol, tobacco, sugar, caffeine, etc. etc.. Frankly I refuse to live in a world where I am not allowed to exercise personal judgement and responsibility and accept the consequences thereof. Sorry 3bang, the only reason any of these prohibitions have been kept in force is strictly money and power. I ain't no patsy and I'm surprised a twenty year police veteran is.

Proud_to_Legalize
Proud_to_Legalize

 @threebang3 

OK, I'll play.  Since you like to use the alcohol comparison I'll play it back to you.  If more people smoke pot instead of drinking alcohol we will see the following enhancements to American society:

* Reduced prevalence of hard drug use (http://news.ufl.edu/2012/07/10/alcohol-gateway/)

* Lower addiction rates - alcohol rate = 15%, pot = 9% (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-truth-about-pot)

* Reduced rate of "alcohol induced" death - currently averaging ~80,000 per year (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr59/nvsr59_04.pdf)

* Reduction in sexual assault - note that alcohol is "the most commonly used chemical in crimes of sexual assault" but cannabis/marijuana/pot is not even on the list of chemicals used (http://www.rainn.org/get-information/types-of-sexual-assault/drug-facilitated-assault)

 

This is just a sampling of the ways pot could enhance our American society.  I haven't even touched on the ways hemp fiber and seed can enhance our society.  Since your fellow LEOs can't seem to tell the difference between fiber hemp and high-THC marijuana, it remains illogically illegal as well.

threebang3
threebang3

 @wakeup

 I am wide awake... and not stoned.  I have seen first hand what this "harmless" drug does to peoples lives.  You speak of lies and misinformation, but I am STILLLL waiting for those compelling reasons as to how pot will enhance and advance our American society.  Phen Phen being unsafe has absolutely nothing to do with pot being illegal.  Yes the government does allow the high dollar pharmaceutical companies to rush drugs to market.  That is wrong, but legalizing pot is right????  STILLL waiting.

threebang3
threebang3

 @betweenthelines  @threebang3

 In your first sentence try substituting the word "alcohol" for "pot" and think about it.  I am sure back in the 1920s your argument was thrown around by a lot of people that JUST wanted to enjoy a drink in the privacy of their own homes.  How has that worked out over the years?  Anyone from MADD care to weigh in on this?

 

 Pot legalization will affect my life.  I drive the roads in my car.  I utilize professionals (such as doctors).  I occassionally fly on a commercial jetliner. It is not of course a "give me" that I will be killed by that stoner driver, killed by the stoned doctor, or killed by the stoned pilot, but the chances are a hell of a lot higher if pot is legalized and easily accessable.

 

And yes people like me may be losing the fight, but you are only winning in the fight to the bottom and I guess I have to be OK with that. 

Matt_in_Boulder
Matt_in_Boulder

 @orson  @threebang3 

Wow orson, you really need to gain some perspective!  You are OK with your surgeon being too impaired to see straight or cut straight as long as he/she is doing it "to help their medical condition" but not if he/she is using the drug for recreational purposes?  Either way you are screwed when they mess up the operation.  Do you really care why they are too messed up to function properly? 

 

A person who commits vehicular homicide while whacked out on Oxycontin to relieve pain should get a pass but if they are on Oxy because they like the buzz they go to jail? 

 

Thanks for clarifying the logic and reasoning that Anti-A64 advocates use. 

 

Yes on A64!!

orson
orson

 @RobertChase  @threebang3  We all have perspectives robert, threebang3 has obviously seen bad things associated with marijuana abuse and he has legitimate concerns.   His facts support his perspective just as your facts support your perspective.  Treating marijuana like alcohol is not the best way to proceed, keeping it medical and under the care of medical professionals is the smart choice.  What wrong with treating marijuana like an herbal medicine?

orson
orson

 @RobertChase  There are many people in jail for marijuana violations but unfortunately A64 wouldn't help any of them.  It wouldn't prevent future arrests and imprisonment either because most of the people in jail for marijuana violations are in prison for distributing marijuana.  Their actions would still be illegal if A64 passes and our society will keep jailing people that can't abide by the laws that exist.  I agree with you that we should not be jailing people for marijuana use but A64 is bad law and will not help the situation and may actually make it worse.  I'm guessing this is just a taste of what you'll see if A64 passes.  A64 is likely turn the majority of our law enforcement officers and legislators against all marijuana use, medical and recreational.  Don't re-brand marijuana as a recreational party drug.  Keep it medical, decriminalize it, and expand rights and access to medical marijuana. 

orson
orson

 @Matt_in_Boulder   You seem to have a literacy problem.  I clearly said "if they are using it medicinally and are not impaired by it I would not have a problem."  IMPAIRED is the key word.  If a patient proves to be impaired on any medicine then prosecute them for impaired driving, vehicular homicide, or whatever they are guilty of just as the law allows.  Responsible use of any medicine should not be regulated like a recreational drug and that is what will happen if marijuana gets treated like alcohol.  A64 means guaranteed blood tests at traffic stops for all marijuana users, medical or not, and held to per se science lacking limits regardless of whether or not you can pass a sobriety test.  Our society treats drugs used as medicines differently than drugs used for recreation.  That is the reality of our situation.  If A64 is successful we will all get regulated and treated like drunks.  If you are a medical marijuana patient and you see your use of marijuana as a substitute for a recreational drug than you are admitting to abusing the medical marijuana system.  If you used marijuana as a medicine instead of a recreational drug maybe you would understand.  Legitimate patients do no see marijuana as a recreational drug.  Marijuana is a medicine and should be treated like a medicine.  What's wrong with treating it like the herbal medicine it is and expanding rights and access to medicinal marijuana?

orson
orson

 @RobertChase  Um, cannabis is currently treated like an herbal medicine....that's why it's called MEDICAL marijuana.   Marijuana is not like alcohol but with A64-like laws it would be treated like alcohol.  A64 is about re-branding marijuana.  I wish the authors of A64 would have been open to more public input because like alcohol is the wrong approach.  Put marijuana in the alcohol box and all we will ever see is marijuana in a liquor store type setting, marketed as a recreational drug.  You do have a choice.  Marijuana can be like an herbal medicine like it should be but that will never happen if the like alcohol campaign succeeds.  A64 is the wrong approach.  Regulate it like a medicine, expand access to include all adults, impairment based sobriety tests only like other medicines, etc.  Keeping it medical is in everyone's best interest. 

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

 @orson  What's wrong with it?  Nothing, but that definitely is the wrong question.  We do not treat cannabis like an herbal medicine; to suggest that we do totally ignores the history of medical cannabis in Colorado.  There is no prospect for treating cannabis "like an herbal medicine" either --  while there are still herbal medicines in the literal sense still in the pharmacopoeia and prescribed by physicians, cannabis cannot be prescribed or even recommended by many physicians because of Federal Prohibition.  "Herbal medicine" usually refers to biologically active herbs sold in a mostly unregulated market with which people self-medicate.  What's "wrong" with treating cannabis like that?  Most voters want more controls over the sale of cannabis than none.

orson
orson

@RobertChase

A64 is a marketing and re-branding campaign that's why LIKE ALCOHOL is everywhere the amendment is mentioned.   You keep saying it will have no affect on MMCs and patients but it is inevitable.  From an MMC manager's mouth posted on a recent comment of the day - "MMCs will most likely be first in line to apply for retail licenses" - I keep saying and A64 supporters keep denying it.  A64 creates incentives for MMCs to transition to recreational marijuana retail stores.  If A64 passes it will make the whole medical marijuana thing look like a sham as MMCs disappear and the patient registry dwindles to nothing.  Westword has also published articles about MMCs being in short supply for patients so why on earth would we want to increase the customer base for marijuana distributors if there isn't adequate quality medicine for patients?  From many angles it doesn't make sense to shove medical marijuana users into a recreational model.  If anything it should be the other way around by expanding access to MEDICAL marijuana.

 

http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2012/10/medical_marijuana_centers_oppose_amendment_64.php

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

 @orson I have explained how Amendment 64 will have no legal effect on Article XVIII, Section 14 of the Constitution, should have no practical effect on patients' access to medicine or caregivers, and will indirectly benefit them by extending the right to use and grow some cannabis to the entire adult population, but you have ignored each of these points.  Upon passage, patients and caregivers will have their right to use cannabis guaranteed by two different sections of Article XVIII  of the Constitution instead of one.  Your implication that Amendment 64 would "re-brand" medical cannabis demonstrates how disengaged you are from the specific legal import of its language -- it's a proposed constitutional amendment, not a marketing campaign! 

 

Patients and cargeivers' constitutional rights will only be strengthened by passage of Amendment 64; of course they should vote for it!

 

Vote Yes on Amendment 64!

orson
orson

 @RobertChase  Laws like A64 would be the undoing of medical marijuana.  I've explained it thoroughly.  You say you run a coalition for patients and caregivers yet support a law that is bad for patients and caregivers.  If marijuana can be transitioned into being treating like an herbal medicine than maybe we can all get what we want.  I want marijuana to be seen as a legitimate medicine and it never will be if it's re-branded like alcohol.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

orson.

 

Do not presume to lecture me.  It is perfectly obvious that "there are many people in jail for marijuana violations" and that Amendment 64 is not going to free them; only an idiot would even attempt to insinuate that we are in a position to completely overturn Prohibition!  The fact is that many voters still want the use of cannabis to remain criminal.  Passage of Amendment 64 is merely a step on a long road towards Freedom.

 

This opportunity for the People to overrule the prohibitionist parasites they foolishly elected to be their representatives was made possible by money from outside the State, and we need to seize it.  If we declare the (limited) personal use of cannabis "not unlawful" on November 6, the hard work of expelling the fascist prohibitionists in the General Assembly, Executive Mansion, Courts, Office of the Attorney General, and State bureaucracy will remain -- if these public employees served our interests rather than preying upon us, there would be no need to amend the Constitution in the first place!  If people who use cannabis are too stupid to vote for a measure that inarguably legalizes some use of cannabis when it is handed to them on a silver platter, they will sabotage any hope of further progress in Colorado for a decade to come -- what is needed is not the idiotic arguments over I30/A64 of the past year, but political education, engagement, and organization.  Opponents of A64 within the community have only succeeded in preventing any thought of undertaking the hard political work which will be necessary if we ever hope to free those incarcerated over cannabis.

 

 

P.S.  You write "keep it medical" as though you were oblivious of all the realities of the past four years -- both the Establishment and dispensaries acted to de-medicalize medical cannabis, and MMCs are a fundamentally untenable response to Federal Prohibition.  There is very little prospect that Colorado's scheme for distributing medical cannabis will go on to serve as a model for the nation, as proponents fantasize.  We should make cannabis medical by compelling the CDPHE to begin treating it as medicine and mandating that it regulate dispensaries rather than the DoR.  The subject has very little to do with A64, which has no legal effect on the provisions in the Constitution providing for the medical use of cannabis (Article XVIII, Section 14).

 

Vote to legalize some cannabis for adults,

 

Vote Yes on Amendment 64!

 

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