Marijuana: Governor's counsel sees alleged Amendment 64 conflicts of interest as diversity
Hickenlooper Legal Team and Task Force,Reply to Mark Slaugh from legal counsel Jack Findlaw:
The primary role of the Amendment 64 Task Force is clear and has been stated since the beginning and at most meetings:
Initially, I identified to you the nature of Tamara Ward's position in attempting to throw the existing medical cannabis industry and the will of Colorado Voters under the "federal bus" by asking them to enforce the Controlled Substances Act in Colorado shortly after passing A64. This was prior to her joining the task force. No clear reason was provided by the leadership of the task force about this conflict, but one can reason it was because she been appointed to the task force at the time of the letter. Indeed, as testified in the first Task Force meeting, she has never stepped foot into a Colorado commercial cannabis business so ignorance of the issue at hand could be plausible. If there is another reason, please let the People know as this conflict warrants an answer. A copy of this letter is here for your review. Here is a copy of the media report on the conflict previously reported to you.
Also at conflict in this letter is the Colorado Bankers' Association who signed off to enforce Federal Law over the State Constitution but who were consulted by the Tax, Funding, and Civil Law workgroup. From this consultation a decision on banking was made that fails to address the issue at a State level and that defers to Federal authorities. These are the same Federal authorities that the Bankers' Association asked to shut down the will of Colorado voters in November with no response. Clearly this is a conflicting message from this Association to the Feds. However, this private group is not appointed to enact the Will of the People and cannot be held accountable for these position changes.
Who falls under the purview of the leadership of this Task Force should be held accountable to the first principle role of the Task Force. Sworn to not conflict the Will of the People by debating the merits of marijuana legalization; it is a shock to see one member of the Task Force blatantly disregard this principle. It is clear that Dr. Christian Thurstone cannot set aside his differences prior to the election in opposing Amendment 64. In stark contrast, he has joined the board for Project SAM -- this "newly imaged" prohibitionist group has formed since the history votes in Colorado and Washington to attempt a dialogue at any answer to marijuana use EXCEPT legalization and regulation. Project SAM clearly states they do not believe marijuana legalization is a feasible answer and in taking this position Dr. Thurstone is directly debating the merits of Amendment 64 in public.
Dr. Thurstone publicly joined Project SAM during his tenure on Colorado's Amendment 64 Task Force. This is a clear conflict of interest and willful disregard for the principle he's agreed to in sitting on the Task Force. The People of Colorado deserve productive dialogue, not secret agendas. Please remove Dr. Christian Thurstone from the Amendment 64 Task Force as he is clearly and willfully in opposition to the Will of Voters and is in direct and stark contrast of the Primary Principle Role of the Task Force. If there is a reason otherwise, the People of Colorado deserve an answer.
Respectfully and Thankfully,
Mark H. Slaugh
Chief Executive Officer
Mark,Business coalition's letter to the Department of Justice:
Thanks for taking the time to share your concerns about the composition of the task force. Let me remind you that the task force charge is to identify the legal and policy issues that need to be resolved, and to offer suggestions and proposals for legislative, regulatory and executive actions to be taken, to implement Amendment 64.
The Governor intentionally assembled a task force with representatives of many diverse perspectives and the working groups also include folks with various viewpoints on how to implement Amendment 64. I think the work of the task force will be enriched by this diversity.
All task force members have agreed that, in their capacity as a task force member, they will work to find practical and pragmatic ways to implement Amendment 64 and to not engage in a debate about the merits of the new law. I know you have attended the task force meetings and thus you know that we have followed this directive in our meetings. Task force members are of course free to express their views on any issue outside of their task force participation. Again, I think this both/and approach will produce recommendations that are more valuable to the Governor, the General Assembly and the Attorney General than if the task force members were all of like mind.
Chief Legal Counsel
Office of Governor John W. Hickenlooper
136 State Capitol
Denver, Colorado 80203
Business coalition's letter to President Barack Obama:
Business coalition's letter to Governor John Hickenlooper and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers:
More from our Marijuana archive: "Amendment 64: Business organizations ask feds to clamp down on Colorado marijuana measure."