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Marijuana: Tom Tancredo says skip the scare tactics and give Amendment 64 a chance

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Five-time congressman, two-time gubernatorial candidate and one-time presidential aspirant Tom Tancredo has never smoked pot. But he doesn't need to have used marijuana to recognize that the federal campaign against it has failed -- and to support Amendment 64. A former schoolteacher and regional Department of Education head under President Ronald Reagan, he does know education -- and he gives a recent story in the Denver Post connecting the passage of Amendment 64 with marijuana use in Colorado schools a failing grade.

And because he's Tom Tancredo, he has plenty more to say about why he supported Amendment 64, and "political and media elites...now hell-bent on thwarting Colorado's experiment with decriminalization before it even has a chance to begin." Here's Tom Tancredo's most recent missive:

Last November, I joined more than 1.3 million Coloradans in supporting an amendment to the state constitution legalizing the regulated use of marijuana by adults 21 and older. Defying conventional wisdom, Colorado voters backed the measure by a wide margin over the opposition of Democrat and Republican Party bigwigs, and in the face of scare tactics employed by a well-organized opposition and many in the mainstream media.

But while the outcome of the election may be settled (Amendment 64 garnered a larger share of the vote in Colorado than either Barack Obama in 2012 or John Hickenlooper in 2010) the fear-mongering campaign by those opposed to marijuana legalization continues unabated.

Still stinging from their overwhelming defeat at the ballot box, political and media elites are now hell-bent on thwarting Colorado's experiment with decriminalization before it even has a chance to begin.

Indeed, hardly a day goes by without a screaming headline or sensational "report" suggesting that Colorado's decision to end the failed policy of prohibition is unraveling the very fabric that holds our state together. This despite the fact that Amendment 64 has yet to be fully implemented.

You read that correctly: No regulations governing the retail sale of recreational marijuana have been finalized by state officials, and not a single establishment has been licensed to conduct such sales.

Even so, Amendment 64 is being blamed for all sorts of social ills -- many of which existed long before Colorado voters made the choice to move away from prohibition and toward regulation.

For example, one recent, lengthy Denver Post article suggests a causal connection between the passage of Amendment 64 and an alleged increase in marijuana use in schools. The news report, entitled "Pot problems in Colorado schools increase with legalization," presents the claims of those who argue that the volume of drug-related disciplinary actions in Colorado schools is attributable to "changing social norms surrounding marijuana."

Perhaps not surprisingly, many of these claims lack the support of hard, direct statistical evidence. Instead, they rely largely on "anecdotal" evidence -- evidence often presented by people who are, and have always been staunchly opposed to legalization.

To be clear, drug and alcohol abuse among students is a serious problem. It is a problem that people on both sides of the legalization debate care deeply about, and one that we must work together to solve. But it is disingenuous at best to link the vexing problem of substance abuse to a state constitutional change that has yet to actually go into effect.

It is also important to remember that in passing Amendment 64, voters directed lawmakers and other state officials to regulate marijuana the same way they regulate alcohol -- which means stiff penalties for those who contribute to the delinquency of a minor by illegitimately procuring the stuff for people under 21. I strongly support imposing penalties -- draconian penalties -- on those who buy marijuana or alcohol for people who
aren't old enough to buy or possess them. And that goes for anyone who buy for someone under 21, whether the buyer is a friend, relative, or even a parent.

Critics of decriminalization are also quick to cite statistics suggesting that alcohol use has declined in recent years -- particularly among high-school students -- while marijuana use has remained steady or increased. This, they claim, is more "evidence" of the damage caused by Colorado's yet-to-be-implemented legalization measure.

But I see it differently. I believe such statistics provide a powerful argument for why regulation, and not prohibition, can help us curb youth access to intoxicating substances -- as it has with alcohol.

Think about it. Marijuana dealers don't ask their customers for ID to make sure they are 21 the way liquor store owners do. Consequently, marijuana's black-market status makes it much easier for many minors to purchase than alcohol. Don't believe me? Ask a teenager.

By putting marijuana under the same kind of state-managed, regulatory system now in place for alcohol, we will be in a position to move the marijuana trade out of the hands of street gangs and organized crime syndicates, and in to a regulated business sector -- one where proprietors have every incentive to follow the law, or risk losing their license and livelihood if they are caught selling to a minor.

If that evolution sounds familiar, it should. It is exactly the approach America followed in the last century when we decided to toss the failed policy of alcohol prohibition into the dustbin of history -- moving the alcohol trade off of the balance sheets of thugs like Al Capone, and on to the balance sheets of businesspeople with familiar last names like Coors and Busch.

Will Colorado's experiment with regulating marijuana be a panacea? Of course not.

Will legalization singlehandedly solve our national struggle with those persistent demons of substance abuse that torment so many families? Certainly not.

Will imposing a regulated licensing framework help us restrict youth access to marijuana, more effectively punish those irresponsible adults who facilitate that access, and reduce the scourge of violence associated with the drug trade? I believe it will.

For decades, government has spent astronomical sums of money and employed countless enforcement personnel at all levels in pursuit of a policy of marijuana prohibition. And by every measure, that policy -- like its cousin alcohol prohibition -- has failed, and failed miserably.

Instead of ratcheting up the hyperbole and attempting to whip up a modern-day version of the hilariously inaccurate "Reefer Madness" campaign of the 1930s, critics of Amendment 64 should respect the will of the people, and reserve their judgment until policymakers and regulators have been given an opportunity to chart the new approach that voters demanded last November. -- Tom Tancredo

Here's a Reefer Madness clip Tancredo supplied:

More from the Calhoun: Wake Up Call archive: "A century and a half later, the wounds of Sand Creek are still fresh."

Have a tip? Send it to patricia.calhoun@westword.com.



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61 comments
Che Harness
Che Harness

He is currently the GOP's number 1 pick to run for Colorado Governor in the next election.

tomtancredo
tomtancredo

The fact that I have, for over a decade, supported every attempt in Congress to allow states to regulate their own drug policies, especially legalization appears to be lost on the critics above who see my support for Amendment 64 as politically motivated. Whether you vote for me or not, just be cognizant of the fact that the people who opposed Amendment 64 are now the regulators. They are preparing to kill this baby in it's cradle. 

JimTom
JimTom

Just yesterday I saw a representative from the Colorado State Police say, "we will be watching for people through the tracking system who are buying large quantities of pot and will investigate when WE feel it my be a violation of the A64 regulations." He didn't mention or state any amount that would trigger an investigation. So basically if they feel you are buying to much LEGAL weed you had better keep and eye in the rear view mirror.  You just have to love all the bullshit that A64 has created. Did you really think all the cops, lawyers, prison guards, and all the government employees that rely on the money generated by pot crime were just going to roll over and let their jobs disappear?

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

"I strongly support imposing penalties -- draconian penalties -- on those who buy marijuana or alcohol for people who aren't old enough to buy or possess them. And that goes for anyone who buy for someone under 21, whether the buyer is a friend, relative, or even a parent."


You were doing fine until you basically suggested that the government has more rights than parents to decide what goes into their child's body. Make no mistake, I've got no problem with the restrictions for minors (not 21--minors) in principle, but that principle is that parents should have a right to control the children for whom they're held responsible, including what goes into their bodies. Ultimately, they're most responsible. Perhaps you missed Sanjay Gupta's documentary, in which parents defied the law to save their child from an inconceivably horrible malady.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Just a thought…maybe he only claims not to have smoked pot. Given that admitting it is probably the knell of death within the GOP, I wouldn't doubt it--and there wouldn't be anything (else) wrong with it.

Rex Decker
Rex Decker

The tax payers and voters made the decision!

cdndenver
cdndenver

I am glad to see him backing this position. 

Matt Leising
Matt Leising

Glad he's on board but I bet it's just a political play for some future move

Jon Schleifer
Jon Schleifer

Probably the ONLY time I've ever agreed with him. Strange bedfellows this issue has created.

Maggie Nichols
Maggie Nichols

He thinks he can win a seat in the governor's office if he gets the stoner vote.

Che Harness
Che Harness

I think Tom Tancredo is an idiot that needs to go away from Colorado politics. He has tried to make headlines with this issue in the past but he is too untrustworthy.

Scott McNulty
Scott McNulty

Even if this nutball did say that, why would anyone care what this pig thinks??

Zac Ricciardi
Zac Ricciardi

He probably owns "stock" in a local provider. Those warehouses aren't cheap to set up

Skid Jarrett Gilmore
Skid Jarrett Gilmore

If it makes him relevant at least int the broken clock analogy, then yes.

ICallBS
ICallBS

Criminals want to see the drug war continue. Drug dealers, police, and lawmakers all fit into this category. These are the only people who actually 'benefit' from this drug war. The rest of us are stuck to deal with their failures and policies.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 "Will imposing a regulated licensing framework help us restrict youth access to marijuana? I believe it will"


LOL! ... so how will making marijuana MORE available, in MORE places with MORE people using and possessing it make it harder for youth -- who has no problem accessing it now -- to access it?


Fucking retards don't even comprehend their own retarded questions.


..Matt...
..Matt...

Guaranteeing another democrat victory.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@tomtancredo = habitual LIAR with ZERO Credibility


Die in the infamy and irrelevant obscurity which you deserve.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@JimTom ... good thing the Lying Liars who wrote and promoted that festering turd A64 explicitly SURRENDERED TOTAL CONTROL of marijuana over to  "all the cops, lawyers, prison guards, and all the government employee" prohibitionists who've been running the drug war for the last 40+ years, eh?


Fucking brilliant!


JimTom
JimTom

So it is OK to give your kid heroin? It is OK to feed your child only oatmeal for 5 years, because you have the RIGHT to control what you put in your child's body. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... and that decision, via the festering turd A64, was STRICT REGULATION!



cdndenver
cdndenver

Like maybe his campaign for Gov?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... built by the same illegal aliens he hired to finish his basement.


..Matt...
..Matt...

The greedy big $$ dispensary cartels want to see the drug war continue against individual growers and caregivers who produce better weed at a better price fir the consumer.

Marijuana McShysters want to see the drug war continue as it is their cash cow for legal fees.

They've both come out via their lobbying arm NORML to continue FELONY criminal penalties and misdemeanor CRIMINAL penalties for pot.

And stupid little stoners continue to vote against their own best interests.

.

donkeyokay
donkeyokay

@DonkeyHotay "Will imposing a regulated licensing framework help us restrict youth access to marijuana, more effectively punish those irresponsible adults who facilitate that access, and reduce the scourge of violence associated with the drug trade? I believe it will."  is actually the full quote

donkeyokay
donkeyokay

@DonkeyHotay Marijuana dealers don't ask their customers for ID to make sure they are 21 the way liquor store owners do. Consequently, marijuana's black-market status makes it much easier for many minors to purchase than alcohol

donkeyokay
donkeyokay

@DonkeyHotay if you actually read the whole article he explains how....  they should call you "tldr donkeyhotay"

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@tomtancredo "Wow DonkeyHotay, and you're the guy that called ME, "mentally ill"? Luckily ObamaCare MAY cover your treatment since it appears to be a pre-existing condition!"


Says the gutless coward who dodged the Vietnam draft using a "mental illness" waiver ... while still supporting the war and conflict, so long as other people were fighting and dying for it.


You = lowest scum of the earth.


Typical Repuglycan.



btw -- your pathetic attempt to delete your own post failed.


Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@JimTom It's not the state's decision. I'll point out that doctors are basically allowed to give children heroin, if they have prescription "privileges." The state holds parents responsible for their children, so parents should be allowed to act. 

You can show me where I indicated it's a good idea for parents to give their children heroin.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@JimTom ... why do you hate oatmeal?


Under Constipated_Dissident's peculiar world view, she's got "a right" to teach her kids to HATE Gays, Niggers and Jews -- and to ACT UPON that bigotry --  and no "paper law" can take that self-conjured "right" away.


Comes soon our simian friend Monkey to argue for "the right" of children to Keep and Bear Arms. 


Where in the 2nd Amendment does it authorize age-based infringement?

fognl7
fognl7

@.matt..

.matt.. writes:


"The greedy big $$ dispensary cartels want to see the drug war continue against individual growers and caregivers..." 


(and below)


"Only idiots like you think the "black market" disappears."


So why should the 'black market' care if they won't be affected?

..Matt...
..Matt...

So you're a prohibitionist piece of shit who supports the criminal prosecution of marijuana use and access by consenting adults under 21 yet expect the freedom to do the same?

FUCK YOU Prohibitionist Scumbag

..Matt...
..Matt...

Marijuana dealers still won't check ID, so no reduction there.

More dispensary pot in the hands of everyone else means more pot available for diversion to minors from older family members, friends and associates.

Only idiots like you think the "black market" disappears.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@JimTom I'm sure there are. There are also government bureaucrats stupid enough to mandate all kinds of drugs for children that are just as harmful, if not more.


What I did not say is that claim it's a good idea for parents to give their children heroin. What is your reading disability?

JimTom
JimTom

You said that parents should have the right to decide what goes in to their child. I am sure there are stupid parents out there that would decide to put heroin in their children, and you clearly said they should hive the right.

JimTom
JimTom

I love oatmeal, I was forced to live off it for 5 years as a child.

JimTom
JimTom

Would it be any worse than the current crew?

fognl7
fognl7

.matt..,

If nothing will change, then why are you so angry?

Also, I'm a "clueless cunt" for clarifying contradictory posts?

..Matt...
..Matt...

Only a clueless cunt like you thinks "the black market" cares.

Every adult under 21 will still score their dope on the "black market", as will all those over 21 who don't want overpriced overtaxed government regulated warehouse schwag.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay

@.matt.. But in the same breath I'll argue that the group over 21 has no relief from criminal prosecution.  Isn't talking out of both sides of my mouth fun?  Hard to believe I can with all the cocks in there.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay

@.matt.. But I love this because I've done nothing but bitch about people under 21 not being able to get it.  This really helps my dating life I tell you.

..Matt...
..Matt...

You're still too stupid to comprehend that everyone under 21 will still have the "black market" ... PLUS diversions from the new government regulated market.

So tell us again moron how increased overall availability and supply will somehow magically reduce underage access to marijuana?

Fucking idiot.

donkeyokay
donkeyokay

@.matt.. I stated no opinion.  I copied and pasted from the article.  Do you even read anything or just bash people?

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