Mason Tvert Q&A: The burning ambition of an advocate who's been pushing pot for a decade

Categories: Marijuana

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Big photos below.
Mason Tvert, featured in the following wide-ranging Q&A, has played a key role in Colorado's legalization of marijuana since 2005.

Beginning with pro-pot campaigns at Colorado State University and the University of Colorado, Tvert and his SAFER organization advocated for statewide recreational marijuana legalization for eight years, working step by step on MMJ initiatives and then decriminalization on city and state levels until Amendment 64 passed in November 2012.

Now communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, Tvert has begun work on vaporizing marijuana laws outside of Colorado. Before states like Alaska and California steal him away from us, we sat down with Tvert to get his take on the black market, contact highs, smoking in public, and why he feels it's too early to tell what the legal weed world is going to look like.

Westword: I've always seen your campaigns as outrageously funny for those who are in on the joke. I'm thinking of the drug czar billboard you erected on the day of his arrival in Denver, where his face was displayed next to an isolated quote of his: "Marijuana is the safest thing in the world." Or the beer parody commercial you ran at a NASCAR event. Were these just straight campaign strategies, or you having a laugh?

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Photo by Brandon Marshall
Mason Tvert with Toni Fox on January 1, when recreational marijuana sales became legal in Colorado.
Mason Tvert: Both. I certainly have an appreciation for humor, but by making the news humorous or controversial, it makes it more likely that people will hear about it and talk to others about it. Our goal has always been to get the message out to the public that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol, and when it's done in a humorous way, the news is more likely to cover it.

WW: What are the most common arguments you hear from those fighting legalization?

MT: Generally, there are two types of opponents: those who are still just ranting and raving about how evil marijuana is, and the more sophisticated opponents, who have begun to evolve in their misinformation. We still hear people talking about marijuana being so addictive that it needs to be illegal, despite the fact that it's been demonstrated to be far less addictive than alcohol, tobacco and, in some ways, even caffeine.

And, of course, we still hear the argument of needing to protect teens. Yet they seem to fail to recognize that 80 percent of high-school seniors already say they can get marijuana easily under a system of prohibition.

WW: And your position is that regulated marijuana will decrease that number?

MT: Yeah, exactly. If the goal of arresting hundreds of thousands of adults to help keep marijuana away from teens is resulting in 80 percent of teens saying they can get marijuana easily, it's clearly not a good policy. We've seen use of alcohol and tobacco among teens decrease over the years, while they've remained steady for marijuana -- and that suggests that regulation works.

WW: Historians often tie the marijuana prohibition of the 1930s to racism, claiming it was a way to criminalize Mexican immigrants and African-American jazz clubs. Do you think there's still an undercurrent of racism in today's criminalization of cannabis?

MT: Well, there's absolutely no doubt that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by marijuana laws. An ACLU report came out last year showing that despite having generally equal rates of use, blacks are arrested at more than three times the rate of whites for marijuana possession. In a lot of places, it's even greater than that -- though that's probably more symptomatic of problems with our law enforcement in general than just marijuana laws.

WW: Critics of Amendment 64 make the argument that its stringent regulations -- along with exceptionally high tax rates -- are forcing the legal marijuana market to charge disproportionately high prices compared to the black market.

MT: That's an absurd notion. It's absurd for anyone to try and draw conclusions about the underground market within three weeks of the legal market establishing itself. I shouldn't even say "establishing itself"; it's only just commencing. A fraction of the businesses that are going to exist currently exist. There's been no opportunity for buyers to go to multiple businesses to determine which one will have the lower price. So competition hasn't even begun, and yet I'm already hearing from business owners who are starting to lower their prices.

Continue for more of our interview with Mason Tvert.


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23 comments
George
George

Another crack non-journalist, Josiah M. Hesse, working for Wasteword, trying to glorify one of the biggest liars in the state.


Dear Mr. Hesse,


You claim that Mendacious Mason is busy at work "vaporizing marijuana laws". Can you please point to which marijuana laws were "vaporized", meaning erased or completely destroyed, by Amendment 64. Please be precise as to what statutes were eliminated by A64, because to my reading of it, A64 didn't eliminate a single criminal statute related to marijuana.


WHY oh WHY does WASTEWORD LIE????


LindaLee Law
LindaLee Law

His size has nothing to do with his abilities to bring sensible thinking to this issue. He does not use mj

LindaLee Law
LindaLee Law

This man is wonderful and brings common sense to the issue. Even the most conservative voted in favor because the first $40 mil is earmarked for the schools. Talk about strict famly values - except when it means no taxes lol

Michael Ulibarri
Michael Ulibarri

And when are the prices coming down? Street price is have stayed the same and are way lower. So...

Joe Hensley
Joe Hensley

Prices are supposed to go way down once all the stores open, same thing happened with medical mj

Bloodbelly Blues
Bloodbelly Blues

Who cares about buying it legally, I want to just smoke it legally. Screw the taxes and the man. I'll grow my own.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Q: Why is mendacious Mason such a morbidly obese pig?



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @LindaLee Law  ... "He does not use mj"


No wonder this obese fucktard keeps conflating harmless marijuana that never killed anyone with DEADLY Alcohol that harms, maims and kills 10s of thousands of people every year.


No wonder this fat turd thinks 3 (three) pathetic plants is all that any private user/grower can be legally trusted with, retaining ALL CRIMINAL PROHIBITIONS should anyone dare grow 4 flowering plants, or sprout 7 seeds, or sell a single gram to another consenting adult.




DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... why would the Greedy Big $$ Dispensary Cartels lower their prices when the have a captive clientele of fools and tools willing to pay them?



cosentino
cosentino

I would have thought the price would sky rocket just because it was "Medical," and by the time it was legal for recreation it's too late.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... and lazy too:


 I'm not really the one who will get into the nitpicky language of things. I have general concepts that I feel need to be in place, like ensuring that the laws allow for home cultivation, and ensuring that they don't include a DUID limit per se. But I've not been involved in much of the regulatory or implementation stuff. I've probably spent a small fraction of my time on Colorado-related stuff over the last year.

George
George

@DonkeyHotay Mason does not smoke weed, nor does he read. He admitted many times in public that he is really unclear as to what A64 actually does.
 

He claims it is "too much legalese" for him!

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay  

Gotta agree on this one. After begging for the state to regulate, he ran off with his big money and let them regulate the crap out of it. At least he included home cultivation before he invited the state to insert the Louisville Slugger.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@George @DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident  

From the Lexicon of the Lying Liars who wrote and promoted that festering turd A64:



Good pot users = those pathetic sheeple who'll bend-over and pay $40+ / eighth for some over-taxed, over-regulated, overpriced, government regulated warehouse schwag from the Greedy Big $$ Dispensary Cartels


Bad pot users aka "black market criminals" = those individuals who would dare create cultivate and control their own sustainable supply of marijuana, openly distributing and sharing it with other consenting adults.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident ... an unsustainable and laughably feebile 3 (three) pathetic plants, leaving ALL CRIMINAL penalties in place for anyone who'd dare cultivate 4 mature plants, or sprout 7 seeds, thereby ensuring that individuals would be forced -- under penalty of law -- to patronize the Greedy Big $$ Dispensary Cartels that he shills for.


The Big $$ Cartel Pigs have already unleashed their shyster lobbyists to demand that the Legislature close "the loophole" that allows private growers / caregivers / patients to cultivate a reasonable, sustainable, continuous supply since it interferes with their GREED for $$. 


Said "loophole" being the rights granted by A20.


Fucking scumbags.





George
George

@potmom Amendment 64 is NOT legalization. Even Mendacious Mason in his private moments will admit that.

He is fat and happy from licking DEA balls and sucking George Soros' cock.

potmom
potmom

@DonkeyHotay @roymadstone236  You sure sound angry, not to mention mean-spirited. Mason has worked doggedly for 10 years to get marijuana legalized and has been wildly successful at it. What have you done?

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