Pot activists to turn in Colorado legalization petition

By: Heather Chiappini Email
By: Heather Chiappini Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KKCO) -- Colorado voters might have a marijuana decision to make in the 2012 election.

People who want to legalize it, turned in signatures today to put the question on the ballot.

If approved it would regulate marijuana like alcohol. Supporters say they have gathered 160,000 signatures, well over the 86,000 signatures needed to put the question before voters.

The marijuana measure asks voters to make pot possession legal in small amounts for adults over 21, without a doctor’s recommendation.

Right now if you are caught with two ounces or less of marijuana you can end up paying $100 in fines and it's considered a petty offense.

On Wednesday one marijuana legalization activist group turned in thousands of signatures for a 2012 state wide initiative.

The head of Colorado’s pot campaign, Mason Tvert, said "It would remove penalties for adults, 21 and older possessing small amounts of marijuana, and establish a regulatory framework in which marijuana is controlled and regulated in a manor similar to alcohol."

The state has 30 days to certify signatures and decided whether the pot measure will be on the ballots. If certified the question will be the first cleared measure for Colorado's 2012 election. It will also allow the industrial cultivation, processing and sale of industrial hemp.

"Which has been shown to be a useful crop that is currently used widely in this country but it’s all being produced abroad because it's currently illegal so that's certainly something that would be beneficial to folks both on the Western Slope and the Easter Claims," says Tvert.

The measure will allow all adults over 21 to have possession of 1 ounce of marijuana for personal use and limited home-growing. It will establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

"Allow us to generate significant tax revenue for this state, while also better controlling marijuana, keeping it out of the black market and away from young people," says Tvert.

The first 40 million dollars of that tax revenue will be directed to public schools construction projects in Colorado.

But even with 160,000 signatures not everyone is on board. Diane Cox, who spearheaded local efforts to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries in Mesa County, says she won't be voting for the measure.

"It's a serious issue especially in regards to the young people, because we know when you legalize something, you greatly increase the availability and we think that's going to greatly increase the drug addiction and all the serious problems that go along with that," says Cox.

And with the 160,000 signatures that were gathered activists say that they were able to get signatures from all over the state including Grand Junction.

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  • by ProWeed Location: Springs on Jan 19, 2012 at 08:01 PM
    They say teen abuse went up double because they legalized it? No, it's because it was getting treated like it should and people weren't hiding it anymore. Just like kids underage drinking, it's always going to be there and they're not going to try and hide it. I hope they decide to legalize marijuana, hopefully then everyone will get off their high horse and learn how beneficial it is.
  • by smooove B Location: GJ on Jan 18, 2012 at 08:25 AM
    Incidently, Joe, have teens in Alaska quit now that it's illegal? Didn't think so. How about checking out Amsterdam, where cannabis is so prevalent, kids just don't think it's "cool" or "counterculture".
  • by Joe Location: colorado on Jan 6, 2012 at 09:14 AM
    Alaska legalized in the 80's and the teen drug abuse went up to double the national average so they reversed their law and made it illegal again. Can we learn anything from their mistake?
  • by Anthony Location: Grand Junction on Jan 5, 2012 at 11:28 AM
    Diane Cox has always been an outspoken cannabis prohibitionist. The only problem is that she is simply regurgitating outdated propaganda that is nearly a century old. If she's so concerned about the children, I would suggest to her that she starts a crusade against bad parenting.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 5, 2012 at 03:48 AM
    Diane Cox has absolutely zero creditability and zero knowledge of marijuana in general, she's a prohibitionist and nothing more, she cost allot of folks their jobs, their businesses, she helped the uninformed become more uninformed. Yes Diane is a job killer but it was all for the children, right Diane!
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