Meet the Men Leading the Charge against Marijuana Legalization in Colorado
Meet Ken Buck, the man leading Smart Colorado, a group leading the opposition against Amendment 64, a November ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana for all adults in CO.
While proponents of legalization gear up for 6 months of battle (http://www.thcfinder.com/marijuana-blog/legalization/2012/06/backers-of-marijuana-legalization-in-colorado-getting-much-outofstate-support), they know the face of their opposition will be current Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck.
The folks at one of the groups backing legalization – the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol (CRMA) – sent out a press release recently that read in part:
“We welcome the news that Ken Buck has been selected to be one of the public faces of their campaign. From the day we turned in our signatures, we have been talking about the importance of reaching out to female voters ... [The women of this state] will consider the facts and make thoughtful decisions on their own. We are comforted by the fact that if as many women support Amendment 64 as opposed Ken Buck in 2010, we will cruise to victory in November.”
For their part, Smart Colorado is rolling out some big guns of their own, like Roger Sherman, the COO at CRL Associates, a Denver-based lobbying and public policy group. “The people that we’re talking to don’t want to see [marijuana regulated like alcohol] in Colorado,” Sherman said in an early-June interview with the Colorado Statesman. “There’s great legal issues around this -- it’s bad for business as far as employers are concerned and it impacts how employers deal with their employees. We’re talking about huge ramifications on our children, on our state, and just the whole impacts on health and education.”
Here we see that eloquence is not Mr. Sherman’s strong suit. It also seems that fundraising is not the strong suit of Smart Colorado, who report $15,000 in donations, compared to the almost $2 million backing Amendment 64.
It’s about time that legalization has the strong financial backing its poll numbers say it should be getting. As for Smart Colorado…well, at least their name says “smart.”
Backers of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado Getting Much Out-of-State Support
Advocates behind Amendment 64 in Colorado – which would legalize and regulate marijuana for those 21 years of age and older – are getting a ton of support from donors who are from outside the state. In fact, out of almost $2 million raised, all but $16,500 has come from out-of-state.
Of course if Amendment 64 passes, opponents will say it wasn’t the choice of Colorado voters, but of “big money” from out-of-state.
This is a narrow view of things that ignores a couple of key factors. First, marijuana lobbying and campaign funding is still a new endeavor. Medical marijuana has only existed legally for 16 years (and only then in one state). Most of the money behind marijuana advocacy still resides in California.
Second, a victory in Colorado is a victory for everyone in The United States who supports marijuana law reform. There will finally be a state regulating marijuana as a legal product for all adults. There will be a place advocates can point to and show the success of what we have been talking about for the last few decades.
A win in Colorado will also embolden those in other states to be more aggressive about their own marijuana law reform efforts. The effect would be incalculable.
Mason Tvert, a leader of the pro-Amendment 64 “Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” said, "This is the best opportunity we've ever had to end marijuana prohibition at the state level and begin regulating it like alcohol.”
But there is a long way to go. A lot of money and good poll numbers are nothing without the effort to win over the voters of Colorado. For marijuana law reform advocates, this is a golden opportunity that cannot be squandered.
The next 6 months will decide the winners and losers of the battle.
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