Moments ago, 9News projected that Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act had won approval from a majority of Colorado voters.
Proponent Mason Tvert, speaking amid a boisterous celebration at the measure's victory party, puts the historic achievement in perspective.
"This shows that Coloradans are ready to move beyond marijuana prohibition," he says. "They demonstrated it tonight by approving Amendment 64.
"Eighty years ago, Colorado voters approved a repeal of alcohol prohibition, demonstrating a desire to take a more sensible approach to how we treat alcohol," he continues. "It doesn't come as a surprise that they're now taking sensible steps when it comes to the way we treat marijuana."
Some observers were predicting that the vote on the proposal would be so close that a winner might not be announced until the wee hours of tomorrow morning. However, Tvert says he isn't surprised that a call was made well before 10 p.m.
"It really jibes with the numbers we've seen for the last eighteen months or two years," he notes. "Those numbers show that the majority of Coloradans want to regulate marijuana like alcohol, and they demonstrated that with their votes tonight."
Implementing Amendment 64 will be a challenge, given that Colorado's law, as altered by the act, will directly contradict with federal policy, which continues to treat marijuana as illegal. However, he says, "we look forward to discussions with state and federal officials. We're looking forward to working with them -- and looking forward to seeing that marijuana is regulated and treated in a sensible fashion."
Update: Just received a statement from Smart Colorado, the No on 64 campaign, about the passage of Amendment 64. Campaign director Roger Sherman writes:
We knew all along this was an uphill battle against a well-funded national movement.
We appreciate the efforts of Governor John Hickenlooper, former Governors Bill Owens and Bill Ritter, Attorney General John Suthers, Mayors Michael Hancock and Steve Hogan and countless other sheriffs, county commissioners, district attorneys and local elected officials who joined with the business community and citizens of Colorado to oppose this ill-conceived amendment.
We can only hope that our concerns and fears about amending the Constitution to make Colorado the first state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana do not come true.
Update 2: Also just in: a statement from Governor John Hickenlooper, who, as noted in the Smart Colorado missive above, opposed Amendment 64. The comment has a decidedly wacky tone. He's quoted as saying:
The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will. This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don't break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly.
Note that "gold fish" was not capitalized in Hickenlooper's remarks. Presumably, though, he's talking about the crackers, not that little guy swimming in the bowl on your counter.
Update 3: The latest reaction to the passage of Amendment 64 comes from the U.S. Attorney's Office. As you know, U.S. Attorney John Walsh has overseen the issuance of closure letters sent to dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools, under the rationale that doing so protects children from dangerous narcotics.
The following is credited to Jeff Dorschner, U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman:
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The Department of Justice's enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged. In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance. We are reviewing the ballot initiative and have no additional comment at this time.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Amendment 64 given 68 percent chance of passing by Intrade."