Amendment 64's Brian Vicente on how act might be challenged, why he doubts it will be
Another factor: On Tuesday, Washington state approved a similar measure, Initiative 502. As such, the feds would be put in the position of launching a new escalation of the drug war on two enormous fronts simultaneously -- a difficult approach, in Vicente's opinion.
"I think both Colorado and Washington passing these historic measures sends a strong message to the federal government that this is a mandate," he says. "This isn't just one outlier of a state. This is a nationwide movement, and they need to respect that."
And then there's the prospect of President Barack Obama, whose election to a second term means he won't be facing another election, taking actions many of his supporters expected after he assumed office in 2008. Those might include removing marijuana from the Schedule 1 drugs list -- a roster of substances regarded as the most dangerous and wholly lacking in medical benefits.
"We are cautiously optimistic about a second Obama term," Vicente reveals. "We hope that he will live up to some of the promises he made on the campaign trail in '08, when he said he'd allow states to lead on the issue of marijuana reform. And it's absolutely within his power to push through the rescheduling of marijuana on the federal level. I hope he decides to really lead and take this issue on."
Even with potentially less political pressure, how probable is that to happen? Vicente doesn't offer odds, but he feels an alternative approach would be strategically advantageous. As he puts it, "I think the federal government could take a play from the Colorado playbook and decide to move forward with a more sensible and cost-effective marijuana policy. And in so doing, it would prevent the possibility of costly legislation."
Continue for more of our interview with Brian Vicente about Amendment 64.