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Marijuana: Activist to file complaint against DA who won't prosecute Amendment 64 backers?

Update: Yesterday, Boulder DA Stan Garnett declined to act against proponents of Amendment 64 based on a complaint from Kathleen Chippi, a pro-pot activist behind Initiative 70, an A64 alternative that failed to qualify for the ballot; see previous coverage below. But she's not ready to quietly accept this decision. Instead, in a letter to Garnett seen below, she lays the groundwork for a complaint against the DA's office for rejecting her arguments.

As we've noted, Chippi believes Amendment 64's backers were remiss in implying that the measure legalizes marijuana in a broader sense, rather than allowing use and possession of small amounts (one ounce or under) by adults age 21 and over. (She's also critical of media outlets for not drawing this distinction.) Likewise, she believes voters "need clarification that the language in A64 does not repeal the majority of jail-able offenses (felonies) and leaves marijuana in the definitions of the state Controlled Substances Act, which makes all cannabis users subject to lose: employment, unemployment benefits, housing, school grants, government aid, child custody, fire arms and occupational licenses (of which DORA says 75% of workers in Colorado have) and their freedom. The voters also deserve an apology."

Kathleen Chippi testifying at the State Legislature; Senator Steve King is in the foreground.
Kathleen Chippi testifying at the State Legislature; Senator Steve King is in the foreground.
Courtesy of Cannabis Therapy Institute

In Garnett's view, Chippi's complaints are akin to "good faith policy differences about the legal impact of Amendment 64" that don't warrant criminal prosecution. To that, Chippi suggests that what she sees as Garnett's "pro-legalization stance" rendered the investigation less than objective and inquires about the procedure to file a new complaint, this time against the DA himself.

Here's her note to Garnett, followed by our previous coverage.

Mr. Garnett,

I completely disagree with the 'result' from your office on my complaint on the campaign for A64. Especially with the irrefutable comments by author (attorney Steve Fox) on public record:

June 15, 2011 A64 Title Board Hearing 1 hour, 21 minutes, 48 seconds. Steve Fox: "I mean she made our point better than we have, which is legalization is not what this is.... What we are doing is regulating marijuana. It's a significant legal difference and it would be inaccurate to call it legalization."

For your office to respond with "Under Colorado criminal statues, for prosecution to be pursued, it would be necessary to establish that factually false statements were made during the course of a campaign and that my office would be able to unanimously convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that such statements were made with the requisite mental state," when I have provided more than adequate evidence of the campaigns marketing A64 as full LEGALIZATION and an end to marijuana prohibition, is shameful.

And "Though I understand your disagreements with the statements made by the proponents of Amendment 64, those statements do not warrant criminal prosecution."

Please, Mr. Garnett -- My complaint is not based on me "disagreeing" with the meaning or interpretation of the A64 language.

My complaint is based on what the author and the campaign testified on public record --that their language did NOT legalize marijuana and that saying so would be legally inaccurate and misleading to the voters -- to then spending over a year campaigning that it legalized and ended marijuana prohibition, which is currently putting people in harms way of loss of job, child custody, housing, insurance, occupational licenses (according to DORA 75% of workers in CO affected), gov aid, gun rights and freedom for possession, use and cultivation of marijuana, all while in violation of 1-13-109CRS.

"Rather, your concerns are more akin to good faith policy differences about the legal impact of Amendment 64, competing policy considerations about the wisdom of State legalization while marijuana remains illegal under Federal law and the impact on Colorado's TABOR Amendment."

I appreciate that you admit that excise taxing marijuana remains illegal under TABOR. However -- after researching, your staff would know that the campaign promised 40 million in excise tax revenue in the title and in all marketing -- even when they testified on public record that they knew their language was NOT TABOR compliant and that the excise tax might never come to fruition.

My concerns in this complaint address ONLY what the author, proponents and attorneys said on public record at title board hearings verses what they campaigned to the electorate, not my personal opinions. The campaign KNOWINGLY MISINFORMED the voters. They went on public record saying they knew they were NOT legalizing marijuana and had the word legalization REMOVED from title and then campaigned on LEGALIZATION and an end to marijuana prohibition.

"Differing interpretations of the legal significance of a proposed constitutional amendment are best resolved in free society through open and free debate and free elections."

Again, this was not a debate nor did it involve my personal interpretation of the language but it is clear and concise right out of the authors and proponents mouths on state public record.

The only question at hand is did the author, proponents and the attorneys for A64 say 180 degree conflicting statements on public record at title board verses in public marketing? And my complaint is significant if this misinformation will cause harm (above list of losses possible under A64) to the electorate.

Perhaps your pro-legalization stance has compromised/clouded the investigation of my complaint?

How do I file an official complaint against the DA's office?

Thank you,

Kathleen Chippi

Continue to read our earlier reportage about the complaint against Amendment 64.

 

Update, 4:20 p.m. November 19: In recent weeks, we've followed the progress of a complaint about Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act , filed with the Boulder District Attorney's Office by Kathleen Chippi, a pro-pot activist who opposed the measure; see our previous coverage below. Now, the DA's office has responded to Chippi with a letter announcing that it will take no action against the proposal, which voters have now approved. See it below. As we reported, Chippi, who unsuccessfully pushed her own marijuana-related ballot measure, Initiative 70 , detailed her problems with A64 in a long document shared below. Here's the gist of her conclusion:

I request immediate and continual press releases explaining that the language in A64 does not legalize marijuana in Colorado to every media outlet they have been interviewed in to make up for the year of lying with truth -- that A64 decriminalizes possession of one ounce or less, and clarify that only if the property owner or employer allows marijuana possession, use or cultivation will residents not be harmed through loss of employment (with no unemployment check) or loss of housing. Voters also need clarification that the language in A64 does not repeal the majority of jail-able offenses (felonies) and leaves marijuana in the definitions of the state Controlled Substances Act, which makes all cannabis users subject to lose: employment, unemployment benefits, housing, school grants, government aid, child custody, fire arms and occupational licenses (of which DORA says 75% of workers in Colorado have) and their freedom. The voters also deserve an apology.

Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett's response to Chippi's allegations is much more succinct. In a single page, he describes why "we do not believe that a criminal proceeding" against the backers of the act "is appropriate." Here's an excerpt:

Though I understand your disagreements with the statements made by the proponents of Amendment 64, those statements do not warrant criminal prosecution. Rather, your concerns are more akin to good faith policy differences about the legal impact of Amendment 64, competing policy considerations about the wisdom of State legalization while marijuana remains illegal under Federal law and the impact on Colorado's TABOR Amendment.

Garnett, by the way, was the first major district attorney in Colorado to announce that his office would drop pot and paraphernalia cases for infractions that will be legal under Amendment 64. Since he did so, a number of his colleagues, including Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey , have followed suit. However, DAs such as Weld County's Ken Buck , who offered his help to the campaign that fought the measure, have said they will wait to take action until the measure is signed into law, likely by the first week in January.

Here's Garnett's letter to Chippi, followed by our previous coverage.

Boulder District Attorneys Office Letter to Kathleen Chippi

Continue to read our previous coverage of activist Kathleen Chippi's complaints about Amendment 64.

 

Update, 6:07 a.m. November 9: A day before passage of Amendment 64 , we noted that activist Kathleen Chippi had filed a complaint against the measure with the Boulder District Attorney's Office, which opened an investigation to determine if actions were justified; see our original coverage below. Now, Chippi is sharing a rundown of her gripes, plus her call for "continual press releases explaining that the language in A64 does not legalize marijuana in Colorado."

She also feels voters deserve an apology.

The gist of Chippi's argument against Amendment 64's proponents is that they misled voters into believing that the proposal legalizes marijuana in a broad sense, rather than simply decriminalizing small amounts for adult use.

Kathleen Chippi testifying before a previous Board of Health hearing.
Kathleen Chippi testifying before a previous Board of Health hearing.
Courtesy of Cannabis Therapy Institute

Moreover, Chippi, who unsuccessfully pushed her own marijuana-related ballot measure, Initiative 70, earlier this year, believes those behind the act have not fully disclosed the legal risks that remain for those who use and sell marijuana based on a number of court rulings involving medical marijuana patient Jason Beinor and Blue Sky Care Connection dispensary.

About the former case: Beinor was fired from a street-sweeping job for testing positive on a drug test even though he is a legal MMJ patient -- an action a court upheld. According to a statement provided to Westword this past June by Chippi and fellow activist Rico Collibri, the result is that "patients now have no protections from losing their jobs, unemployment benefits, occupational licenses, fire arms, school grants, government aid, housing, insurance and/or child custody over their use of medical marijuana" -- a scenario that can be extrapolated to the larger public thanks to the approval of Amendment 64.

As for the later case, a judge overseeing a dispute involving Blue Sky ruled that since marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, MMJ is an illegal enterprise -- and therefore, all contracts between businesses and individuals are null and void. Chippi presumes that this decision would also apply to recreational marijuana sales and operations.

When contacted for our original post about Chippi's complaints, proponent Mason Tvert sent us an e-mail statement that reads in part:

The Title Board and the campaign mutually agreed to remove the phrase "in a manner similar to alcohol," from the ballot question, as it was deemed to be a "catch phrase," which had been previously ruled by the courts to not be permitted in ballot titles. But Ms. Chippi doesn't seem to appreciate the difference between a ballot title and campaign messaging. Catch phrases are allowed in campaigns. In fact, that's traditionally just about all that campaigns have ever used.

We stand by everything we have said during this campaign. Our representation of the initiative has been entirely accurate, as have been the facts we have cited in support of it.

According to Boulder District Attorney spokeswoman Catherine Olguin, the DA's office regularly receives complaints about election-related items and has a protocol for determining if sanctions are needed. To her knowledge, no such inquiry in recent memory has led to charges filed by the office.

Continue to read Chippi's argument for action against Amendment 64.

 

Kathleen Chippi e-mail in support of her complaint against Amendment 64:

All of the signatures for initiative 30 (now Amendment 64) were collected by asking voters if they:

1. wanted "to legalize marijuana?" (often with "like alcohol" at the end) 2. wanted "to end marijuana prohibition?" 3. wanted "to give 40 million to schools?" 4. wanted "to legalize hemp?"

At the 6-15-2011 title board hearing (http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/info_center/audioArchives.html) the author of A64, Steve Fox, A64 attorney Ed Ramie and A64 proponent Mason Tvert argued to have the word "legalization" removed from the title of their Amendment. They insisted at length that they were not legalizing marijuana.

After explanation the Title Board agreed it was not legalization or an end to marijuana prohibition, agreed that saying like alcohol would be confusing and misleading to voters, confirmed that the excise tax might not come to fruition and confirmed that hemp could be banned outright by the General Assembly.

6-15-11 2:02pm - Original Title Board Hearing for "Regulate Marijuana"

Bill Hobbs -- Deputy Sec of State Dan Dominico -- Attorney Generals Office Jason Gelender -- Senior Attorney Office of Legal Counsel Mason Tvert -- Proponent Steve Fox -- Author of A64, Director of Public Relations Marijuana Policy Project,DC (on behalf of proponent Brian Vicente) Ed Ramie -- A64 Attorney

minute 50:55 seconds Mr. Ramie, "I think it would work if we deleted the word, starting on line 1, with legalization."

1 hour, 18 minutes, 11 seconds Mason Tvert, "This notion of using the term legalization, which is incredibly subjective, in fact is highly debated."

1 hour, 21 minutes, 48 seconds Steve Fox, A64 author(on behalf of proponent Brian Vicente), "I mean she made our point better than we have, which is legalization is not what this is. She said it clearly and they are going to propose an initiative regarding the legalization of marijuana. What we are doing is regulating marijuana. It's a significant legal difference and it would be inaccurate to call it legalization."

1 hour, 15 minutes, 46 seconds Mr. Fox, "Tomatoes are legal. You can buy them anywhere. Tomatoes have been legalized. But as you've seen with the medical marijuana system, it is a highly regulated (emphasis added) system by a regulatory agency and that is what we're proposing. I appreciate that you prefer marijuana over legalization because legalization would be truly misleading as a part of the title."

2 hour, 3 minutes, 38 seconds Mr. Dominico, AG's office "I just wanted to raise the fact that even if this passes, we're not technically permitting a person 21 or older to consume or possess limited amounts of marijuana."

1 hour, 31 minutes, 28 seconds Mr. Hobbs (about adding "like alcohol" to the title) "I would be troubled by that...strictly speaking there are some deviations. It's similar to alcohol but it is not the same."

"I agree with you that it may be misleading." response from either Gelenger or Dominco.

1 hour, 37minutes, 15 seconds Mr. Hobbs "For me personally, when I was looking at this, I thought the most important thing, if I am interpreting the measure correctly, is that local governments can prohibit all of these things within their jurisdiction. Um. And I thought that was really a significant thing."

1 hour, 53 minutes, 40 seconds Mr. Ramie, "It seemed important for us......and then employers may place restrictions on the use of marijuana by employee's. "

Minute 11:30 seconds Mr. Hobbs, per industrial hemp, "They have to act but it doesn't give them any guidance on what to do so I suppose the General Assembly can enact a law that says there will be no regulation of cultivation, processing or sale of industrial hemp. Is that accurate?"

Mr. Fox, "If that interpretation is there, than yeah, that would be an option for them. Yeah. We would hope the interpretation of this would be a directive that they should affirmatively regulate it . But if they chose to do otherwise, we will be stuck with it."

Title Re-hearing 7-6-2011

Minute 32, 10 seconds Mr. Ramie, "I'm hearing allot of objection and I can't honestly say that the objections that I'm hearing are completely crazy or off the wall and I know Mr. Hobbs has heard me for many years that the objections are without merit, I really can't say that for these...So lets take the phrase out. And if we want to present the message in campaigning, where we can do that, we'll do it-but we absolutely do not want to have something floating around in the title that could either be characterized as a catch phrase and tilt the argument one way or the other in the official title or have anything in there that can mislead the voters."

Mr. Ramie, "Exactly, and if we're suggesting "in a manner similar to alcohol", if that phrase, and I see how it could, carry the suggestion that we're now wholly legal on all levels, we don't want to suggest that because we're not."

Mr Hobbs, "And I agree with you, it's a good faith argument that they have made here."

10-4-12 KGNU A64 debate with Mason Tvert (http://kgnu.org/morningmag) Mason claims the amendment will end prohibition and legalize marijuana.

And I will include some news articles but you can literally find that in almost all publications or broadcasts the voters are being misled that A64 wholly legalizes marijuana in Colorado.

10-9-12 http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/10/medical-marijuana "THREE states -- Colorado, Washington and Oregon -- have on their ballots this fall initiatives to legalize marijuana fully,..."

10-9-12 http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/10/will-colorado-legalize-pot/263355/ "Mischief-making is a specialty for Mason Tvert, the 30-year-old activist who got marijuana decriminalized in Denver seven years ago and lists "assorted mayhem" in the job description of his official bio. This year, Tvert and his merry pranksters are behind an initiative on the November ballot that would make Colorado the first state where drug's cultivation, sale, possession, and consumption are legal, taxed, and regulated. (Two other states, Oregon and Washington, also have statewide legalization measures on the November ballot. More than a dozen others also have some form of decriminalization in place, but none has ever achieved full legalization.)"

9-25-2012 Sensible Colorado (Led by A64 proponent Brian Vicente) e-mail release: "Amendment 64, which is on the ballot across Colorado, will end marijuana prohibition for responsible adults."

6-11-12 http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2012/06/11/poll-61-of-colorado-voters-support-regulating-marijuana-like-acohol/ "The vast majority of Coloradans appear to be ready to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with a more responsible system in which it is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol," said Betty Aldworth, advocacy director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. "By regulating marijuana like alcohol we can better control it, generate much-needed tax revenue, and stop making adults criminals simply for using a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol."

6-11-12 http://justsaynow.firedoglake.com/2012/06/11/61-of-colorado-voters-support-legalizing-and-regulating-marijuana/ "This is extremely good news for the the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol which succeeded this year in getting Amendment 64 on the November ballot in Colorado. Their ballot initiative would do exactly what the polling question asked: it would legalize marijuana for adults over the age of 21, while regulating and taxing it similar to how alcohol is regulated......While this is only a single poll months out from the election, it is encouraging news. There is a real chance Colorado this year could become the first state to embrace marijuana legalization by approving Amendment 64."

8-23-12 http://www.cnbc.com/id/48764212 "But in all seriousness, November isn't just a Presidential Election -- three states are voting to fully legalize marijuana. That's right. Not medical marijuana or decriminalizing it. Full legalization could be a reality in Colorado, Oregon and Washington State."

99% of the marketing of A64 over the last year has been done in violation of 1-13-109CRS-Concerning the election offense of making false statements designed to affect the vote. (http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/olls/sl2005a/sl_305.htm)

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado:

SECTION 1. 1-13-109, Colorado Revised Statutes, is amended to read

1-13-109. False statements relating to candidates or questions submitted to electors -- penalties -- definitions.

(1) (a) No person shall knowingly make, publish, broadcast, or circulate or cause to be made, published, broadcasted, or circulated in any letter, circular, advertisement, or poster or in any other communication any false statement designed to affect the vote on any issue submitted to the electors at any election or relating to any candidate for election to public office.

(b) Any person who violates any provision of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1) commits a class 1 misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S.

2(a) No person shall recklessly make, publish, broadcast, or circulate or cause to be made, published, broadcasted, or circulated in any letter, circular, advertisement, or poster or in any other communication any false statement designed to affect the vote on any issue submitted to the electors at any election or relating to any candidate for election to public office. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, for purposes of this subsection (2), a person acts "recklessly" when he or she acts in conscious disregard of the truth or falsity of the statement made, published, broadcasted, or circulated.

(b) Any person who violates any provision of paragraph (a) of this subsection (2) commits a class 2 misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S.

(3) For purposes of this section, "person" means any natural person, partnership, committee, association, corporation, labor organization, political party, or other organization or group of persons, including a group organized under section 527 of the internal revenue code.

The proponents (Brian Vicente is a licensed, practicing attorney) and the campaign know very well that their language in A64 does not "legalize marijuana (especially not like alcohol), end prohibition, raise 40 million for schools or legalize hemp", yet in every publication or interview in Colorado (or world wide), the proponents and the campaign say they are "legalizing marijuana, ending prohibition, excise taxing marijuana for schools and legalizing hemp."

Misleading the voters to think they are legalizing marijuana, when they are not, has very serious consequences for the residents.

1. A64 does not repeal the majority of jail-able offenses (felonies) and leaves marijuana in the definitions of the state Controlled Substances Act, which makes all cannabis users subject to lose: employment, unemployment benefits, housing, school grants, government aid, child custody, fire arms and occupational licenses (of which DORA says 75% of workers in Colorado have) and their freedom. To suggest that under Amendment 64 all adult use and cultivation of marijuana is no longer criminalized is not only misleading, but will result in harm to the voters and increased arrests.

2. Beinor-V-ICAO, People-v-Watkins and the Blue Sky rulings seriously compromise the intentions of the Amendment 64 language before it is even voted on. Beinor says medical marijuana is not legalized, but decriminalized possession, is not legal to use and grants no rights do to limits in the language. Watkins says no patient has rights based on Beinor and that federal law trumps our state medical marijuana constitutional amendment. Blue Sky says all marijuana contracts are based on illegal drug activity and are null and void as they are trumped by federal law.

3. Provides no relief for the most affected and arrested adults age 18 - 20. (especially those from disadvantages communities).

4. Amendment 64 contains no proper legal deterrent to federal intervention and the surplus of $40 million via a constitutionally infirm excise tax will not stand in court. The soonest authorized retail sales for adults could be 2014, if at all. Forcing adults to rely on the black market in the interim.

5. Amendment 64 allows towns to ban all marijuana sales, which bolsters the black market, as most of the state has already banned MMJ (over 95 bans statewide). This forces adults in ban areas to rely on illegal sales and risk criminal prosecution.

6. Amendment 64 provides no legal guidance on hemp and merely mandates the general assembly to pass legislation. This still allows the general assembly to ban hemp production.

7. Amendment 64 enshrines "driving while under the influence" (any amount over zero) and "driving while impaired" into our constitution, by deferring to current State DUID limits could prevent MMJ patients and other wise responsible adults who consume cannabis from legally driving."

The people need the campaign to be charged with violation of 1-13-109CRS. And since everyone who says they are voting for A64 say they are "voting for A64 because it either legalizes marijuana, ends prohibition, raises taxes for schools or legalizes hemp", there should be a mandatory correction/retraction made in every media outlet in the state that has mislead the voters.

The TV channels and newspapers are also in violation of 1-13-109CRS--though I understand they are simply believing the campaign and relaying the campaigns marketing w/o doing their own research. I'm sure they are just as confused as the voters -- as why would they (or anyone) think the campaign would lie about what their language does? That would be almost unheard of and in most cases make no sense for campaigns to mis-market their language to voters before the vote. I have researched 1-13-109CRS and from my research, it has been investigated about 2-3 times a year but has not been enforced (which I take to mean there was not evidence of real violation). I vaguely remember a person-hood initiative being removed from the ballot (maybe in the 1990's?) after the campaign had lied to voters saying it would not ban abortion when it would, but I have not found it online.

In this rare case, the campaign was very clear in title board hearings that they were NOT legalizing marijuana. "It's a significant legal difference and it would be inaccurate to call it legalization." Steve Fox, A64 author(on behalf of proponent Brian Vicente), "I mean she made our point better than we have, which is legalization is not what this is." It's clearly time to enforce 1-13-109CRS.

How can it be acceptable for the voters to go into the polls after a full year of being intentionally misled?

I kindly requests 1-13-109CRS be enforced on the A64 campaign. I request immediate and continual press releases explaining that the language in A64 does not legalize marijuana in Colorado to every media outlet they have been interviewed in to make up for the year of lying with truth -- that A64 decriminalizes possession of one ounce or less, and clarify that only if the property owner or employer allows marijuana possession, use or cultivation will residents not be harmed through loss of employment (with no unemployment check) or loss of housing. Voters also need clarification that the language in A64 does not repeal the majority of jail-able offenses (felonies) and leaves marijuana in the definitions of the state Controlled Substances Act, which makes all cannabis users subject to lose: employment, unemployment benefits, housing, school grants, government aid, child custody, fire arms and occupational licenses (of which DORA says 75% of workers in Colorado have) and their freedom. The voters also deserve an apology. Gag order A64 from misleading the voters further.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Chippi

Continue to read our previous coverage.

 

Original post, 11:17 a.m. November 5: Marijuana activist Kathleen Chippi, a longtime critic of Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act , has filed a complaint with the Boulder District Attorney's Office, charging proponents with misrepresenting the measure. The DA's office confirms that an investigation is underway, but stresses that its results won't be made public until after the election -- and backers of the act vigorously deny any wrongdoing.

Chippi is a familiar figure in the marijuana scene, and she doesn't shy away from taking on big cannabis-related issues. For instance, she's the driving force behind a lawsuit against marijuana regulations propagated for House Bill 1284, the legislation that set guidelines for Colorado's MMJ industry.

Writer Janet Perry, who broke the original story, supplied this account:

Boulder County D. A. Stan Garnett is investigating the alleged misrepresentation of Amendment 64 to the voters of Colorado. Kathleen Chippi, a long-time Colorado marijuana activist filed a complaint October 15th with Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett. She later spoke to Garnett who confirmed an investigation was being conducted, per her complaint and that he hoped for a conclusion later that week.

The author, attorney and the proponents of A64 explained to the Title Board at an Amendment 64 hearing on June 15th, 2011, that they were not "legalizing marijuana." For this to be true, the authors would have to remove criminal penalties from the state law books. They were indeed adding more penalties to the Constitution, including DUI-Marijuana language for drivers suspected of marijuana use. The Title Board and the A64 campaign also agreed that using the phrase "like alcohol" would be confusing to Colorado voters, as it would not be "legal" nor treated "like alcohol."

It is illegal to mislead Colorado voters under 1-13-109 Colorado Revised Statute. Garnett told Chippi in an e-mail...that they would not release the findings of the investigation before the election.

Many of these same issues were raised by another activist, Corey Donahue, earlier this year, in documents filed with the Colorado Secretary of State's Office and the Colorado Supreme Court and on view below. The latter rejected Donahue's challenge to Amendment 64's title, and the former didn't result in any action against the measure or its proponents.

Donahue, by the way, is currently in Mexico. He's said to be there seeking asylum in Bolivia because of the United States' ongoing war on drugs.

Continue to read a response from the Boulder District Attorney's Office and to see documents related to Corey Donahue's previous filings.

 

Catherine Olguin, spokeswoman for the Boulder DA's office, confirms that an investigation is underway, but warns against jumping to conclusions based on the launch of an inquiry.

"It's fairly common in election years for us to be asked to do investigations on various election issues," she says. "We have a protocol that we follow in conducting the investigations, and that's the case here."

In such instances, she goes on, "we assign it to an investigator in our investigations unit, and they will conduct witness interviews and gather documents and whatever evidence they think is necessary to do the fact-finding. Then, the investigator will typically write a report for the district attorney on the findings -- and depending on what the investigation reveals, there will be a determination about whether any criminal laws have been violated and, if so, whether charges should be brought."

Because the investigation is ongoing, Olguin can't add any more details when it comes to Amendment 64. However, she says there have been no actual criminal charges filed on the basis of any election-oriented complaints since DA Garnett has been in office, and she's been unable to find evidence of ones issued under his immediate predecessors.

As for the Amendment 64 campaign, proponent Mason Tvert sends the following response via e-mail:

The Title Board and the campaign mutually agreed to remove the phrase "in a manner similar to alcohol," from the ballot question, as it was deemed to be a "catch phrase," which had been previously ruled by the courts to not be permitted in ballot titles. But Ms. Chippi doesn't seem to appreciate the difference between a ballot title and campaign messaging. Catch phrases are allowed in campaigns. In fact, that's traditionally just about all that campaigns have ever used.

We stand by everything we have said during this campaign. Our representation of the initiative has been entirely accurate, as have been the facts we have cited in support of it. If Ms. Chippi wants to be productive, she should be seeking an investigation of the No on 64 campaign, which actually has been misleading on major issues throughout the campaign.

Look below to see the unsuccessful arguments put forward by Corey Donahue earlier this year.

Amendment 64 Corey Donahue Complaint to the Secretary of State
Amendment 64 Corey Donahue Supreme Court Opening Brief in Title Challenge

More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana lawsuit: State says no one in Colorado has fundamental right to MMJ."


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