As we noted in a post yesterday about more than 300 doctors urging approval of Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, shortly after a state organization of pediatricians denounced it, those for and against the measure are engaging in the equivalent of endorsement wars. Today's salvo? Denver DA Mitch Morrissey will join other law enforcement officials to say why they think the measure should be rejected.
Laura Chapin, spokeswoman for Smart Colorado, the No on 64 campaign, offered us a preview of the event, which takes place on the State Capitol steps at noon today; get full details below.
According to Chapin, Morrissey and his fellow speakers -- Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, Broomfield Chief of Police Thomas Deland, and Vicki Ferrari, boardmember of the Colorado Drug Investigators Association (and former American Gladiators contestant) -- have expressed their antipathy for Amendment 64 in the past, as has Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hillkey, appearing at a separate event in Palisade, on the Western Slope.
"I know they've been speaking out against it with groups and their peers for a while now," Chapin says. "But this is sort of their first major media event."
As such, she continues, "they'll be able to show that people who are actually on the front lines of Colorado law enforcement, people who are current officers from across the state, are opposed to this. And they'll be highlighting not just the traditional concerns about marijuana law, but they're also going to go after what opponents are saying about providing money for schools, which Amendment 64 won't."
The school-funding carrot is certainly one of the act's prime selling points. In yesterday's post, Betty Aldworth, spokeswoman for the campaign, stressed that the measure "will also benefit Colorado children, with $40 million in tax revenue put into school capital construction."
However, Chapin points out that the excise tax written into Amendment 64 and earmarked for this purpose "won't automatically do that." Instead, legislators would have to pass a law directing money to this purpose. For that reason, she goes on, "they're relying on a hypothetical. They're counting on the idea that the legislature will magically do what they want them to do, and as someone who's worked with the legislature for a long time, I can tell you that's frequently not the case."
And how will the speakers respond to the claim made by Amendment 64 backers that regulation will help keep marijuana away from kids, while the measure's defeat will maintain a status quo of underground drug markets whose participants won't ask kids for an ID before selling to them?
"One of the main concerns is just the sheer volume," Chapin replies. "Amendment 64 doesn't just sort of legalize small amounts of marijuana for personal use, which effectively happens anyway. It turns Colorado into the pot manufacturing capital of the United States. It will create an entire industry with grows, manufacturing, retail and marketing, and there's no way you can talk about that kind of expansion that's not going to get to kids, and it's not going to get to schools."
Here's the release about today's event:
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COLORADO LAW ENFORCEMENT SAYS VOTE NO ON 64
Denver & Palisade -- On Wednesday, October 10, Colorado law enforcement will urge Colorado citizens to vote NO on Amendment 64. There will be a press conference on the steps of the Capitol with district attorneys, peace officers, chiefs of police, sheriffs and active, frontline law enforcement officials from across Colorado. Additionally, Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hillkey will be available to Western Slope media.
In addition to the press conference, the No on 64 coalition will be releasing an extensive list of No on 64 endorsement quotes from statewide law enforcement officials.
Amendment 64 would amend the Colorado constitution to make Colorado one of the first states to fully legalize marijuana for recreational use. Amendment 64 would make it legal to grow, transport and sell marijuana for recreational use; make it legal for anyone twenty-one years or older to possess and consume up to one ounce of marijuana; and permit opening marijuana retail stores, growing facilities, manufacturing facilities and testing facilities in communities across the state.
WHAT: Colorado Law Enforcement Says Vote No on 64
WHEN: Noon, Wednesday, October 10
WHERE: Denver -- West Steps, Colorado State Capitol; Western Slope -- Palisade with Mesa Sheriff Stan Hillkey
WHO: Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey, Arapahoe Sheriff Grayson Robinson, Thomas C. Deland, Broomfield Chief of Police & President, Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, Vicki Ferrari, Board Member, Colorado Drug Investigators Association
More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Ken Buck says Amendment 64 backers care more about profit than people."