Marijuana: Team 420 rips Michael Hancock, Chris Romer for ignoring cannabis questions

Update: Last week, Colorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers' Robert Chase sent an open letter to mayoral candidates Chris Romer and Michael Hancock, asking them to answer three key questions about marijuana policy in the city; see it below. At this writing, neither camp has responded to the request. So Chase plans to disendorse Hancock and protest one of his fundraisers this morning in the company of a group dubbed Team 420.

Look below to read the Team 420 release, followed by our original item:

TEAM 420 CONDEMNS CANDIDATES' FAILURE TO ANSWER THE CANNABIS QUESTIONNAIRE, AND DISENDORSES MICHAEL HANCOCK FOR MAYOR

10:45 AM, THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2011

WEST SIDE OF CAPITOL

A coalition of groups supporting adults' right to use cannabis and voters' decision to legalize it in Denver will gather outside a fundraiser for Michael Hancock to upbraid both candidates for failing to answer the Candidates' Cannabis Questionnaire, and to disendorse Hancock's candidacy for Mayor.

Irrespective of their views on cannabis, voters should be concerned that the City continues to violate our lowest law enforcement priority ordinance, citing thousands illegally for what is not a crime under our law. Voters should be concerned that their City Council is so irresponsible as to pass provisions into the Zoning Code which violate the Colorado Constitution. Voters deserve to know whether the next Mayor will move against an valuable sector of commerce in Denver. Both candidates have a sorry history of anti-cannabis demagoguery up till and including the present, and they have failed to answer three simple, specific questions about these issues of public policy, just because they relate to cannabis.

Denver has voted four times for cannabis in the past eleven years -- for the Medical Marijuana Amendment in 2000, to rescind its ordinance against possession of less than an ounce of cannabis in 2005, for the outright legalization of adults' possession of up to an ounce without penalty in 2006 in its vote for Amendment 44, and most recently by a majority of 57% of the voters in 2007 for Denver's lowest law enforcement priority law (Chapter 38, Section 176 of the Municipal Code, which Mr. Hancock opposed as City Councilor). Denver cannot be represented by a Prohibitionist Mayor!

Michael Hancock has learned nothing about cannabis, even as it has become an important source of revenue for the City. His repeated votes against the interests of patients and his ineducably ignorant insistence that cannabis is "a gateway drug" mark him as a Prohibitionist of the worst stripe. There are other issues in the race, several of them completely outside the Mayor's purview, but do we want a fundamentalist who doesn't believe in evolution and would divert public monies from public education with school vouchers "not yet" as Mayor? Hancock seems to be running on a "business as usual" basis -- Denver faces a $100 million budget deficit, our Department of Public Safety is reeling from repeated instances of police abuse, and we are paying out millions of dollars in settlements for that abuse - we cannot afford more of the same. It has been difficult to discern which of Romer or Hancock would make a worse Mayor, but Michael Hancock has managed to edge Chris Romer; Team 420 urges voters not to vote for Michael Hancock.

Original item, 7:42 a.m. May 17: Even though Chris Romer spurred Colorado's medical marijuana legislation, he has largely avoided the MMJ issue while campaigning for Denver mayor -- and rival Michael Hancock has been similarly quiet. That's frustrating to Colorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers' Robert Chase. So he's written an open letter to both candidates, asking them to state their positions on three key marijuana questions.

Via e-mail, Chase, among the state's most vocal marijuana advocates, decries what he considers the "anti-cannabisism of both candidates." Moreover, he sees a "stark contrast between the candidates' views on cannabis and the electorate's."

Look below to see Chase's letter -- and those three questions.

Candidates for Mayor of Denver

Dear Sirs:

Denver has voted four times for cannabis in the past eleven years - for the outright legalization of adults' possession of up to an ounce without penalty (in 2006, in its vote for Amendment 44) and most recently by a majority of 57% of the voters in 2007 for Denver's lowest law enforcement priority law (Chapter 38, Section 176 of the Municipal Code, which Mr. Hancock opposed as City Councilor). Despite the poor showing of pro-cannabis candidates in this municipal election, issues surrounding cannabis remain of interest to many voters. On behalf of the pro-cannabis community, I pose the following questions regarding significant concerns of the community of import for all Denver. Your answers will be disseminated throughout the community, and should help your campaigns clarify your stances on these important issues of public policy.

1. Will you implement Chapter.38, Sec.176 of the Municipal Code, and ensure that the Department of Safety institutes a policy not to cite adults under State law for possession of less than an ounce of cannabis?

2. Will you work to remove the City's unconstitutional restrictions on patients growing their own cannabis as medicine (in the amounts recommended by their doctors) and unconstitutional ban on caregivers growing medicine for their patients from Denver's Zoning Code?

3. Will you act to further restrict the commerce in cannabis in Denver in any way?

I put it to you that accepting Denver's acceptance, its love, even, for cannabis makes sense for any politician with an eye on the future, and it makes sense to jettison the previous Administration's intransigent refusal to obey 38-176 now, along with Chief Whitman. I look forward to your response, and hope it serves to distinguish your candidacy as consonant with the will People of Denver regarding cannabis.

Sincerely, Robert D. Chase

More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana protest against Denver City Council: 'Closing half of the businesses in a particular sector is a sweeping action without any justification,' activist says."


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