The other night a pothead friend was complaining to me about the lack of any candidate he could support in the Denver mayor's race. I noted that Doug Linkhart, the Denver city councilman who tried to extend reviews on MMJ grows but couldn't muster the votes, has said he supports marijuana legalization. My friend, a local medical marijuana activist, didn't believe me.
Linkhart, one of three council members running for John Hickenlooper's former job, has long been on record as being supportive of decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of weed. But a legit Mayoral candidate signing up for actual free use of the wacky tobacky? No way, he replied.
So I went and found the audio file of an AM760 radio interview I sat in on with Linkhart in December. A caller asked about his stance on medical marijuana and, in particular, legalization.
I favor legalization personally, but -- and Denver has voted that way twice -- right now we don't have legalization until we have that statewide. But for right now medical marijuana brings jobs to Denver and, as long as we protect kids and the community, it's a good thing for our city.
Told you so, dude.
In 2005, 54 percent of Denver voters approved a ballot initiative that said people over 21 could possess an ounce of marijuana without penalty in the city. That was back in the quaint old days before the explosion of medical marijuana dispensaries made pot-leaf signage in Denver as common as Starbucks' logos. Such normalization of marijuana will certainly help legalization advocates as they move toward a statewide initiative in 2012.
Even so, legalization is not the kind of issue included in the campaign bullet points of serious candidates in Denver. While potheads tend to make a lot of smoke at the 4/20 fest each year, it's not typically a demographic that has the political fire to vote in things like special municipal elections.
It's probably of no coincidence that there is no mention of marijuana legalization on Linkhart's campaign website. But his words alone are enough to get my friend's vote.
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And the votes of other advocates, too. This evening, a fundraiser for Linkhart is being sponsored by prominent medical marijuana attorney Rob Corry. Here's the note he sent to people on his e-mail list:
Dear Friends of Freedom,
I am co-sponsoring a fundraiser for Denver's Next Mayor, please consider attending:
Councilman Doug Linkhart
Wednesday, 7:30 pm, February 23, 2011
Jake's, 3800 Walnut St., Denver.
For more on why we should care about Denver Mayoral race, please see my latest on Huffington Post, Colorado's top-read political blog:
And remember: Doug's got the Nugs!