Marijuana

Amendment 64 is now law: Governor John Hickenlooper quietly signs measure

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Whereas Initiative 502 in Washington state (the equivalent of Amendment 64 there) set a specific date -- December 6 -- for the proposal to take effect, Hickenlooper has implied that he might put his signature on the line that is dotted as late as early January. He took this course, presumably, to avoid a celebration like the midnight party at the Space Needle, when hundreds of Seattle residents blazed up in defiance of prohibitions against public consumption of weed.

We'll see if this tactic worked at Civic Center Park today around 4:20 p.m.

As for the announcement itself, the press release announcing the signing was so obtuse that it required a couple of calls on our part to confirm that A64 is now the law of the state. The opening passage begins: "Gov. John Hickenlooper today signed an Executive Order that makes an 'official declaration of the vote' related to Amendment 64. That declaration formalizes the amendment as part of the state Constitution and makes legal the personal use, possession and limited home-growing of marijuana under Colorado law for adults 21 years of age and older."

When asked if there's a distinction between signing the "official declaration of the vote" and signing the amendment itself, Hickenlooper spokesman Eric Brown responded via e-mail that the actions are "one in the same. Language in state law requires an 'official declaration of the vote' before taking effect. Governor signed that proclamation this morning."

Also included in the press release is a list of members assigned to a task force that will guide Amendment 64's implementation, and you can bet there'll be controversy about it. The list is dominated by elected officials and bureaucrats -- and while a few folks from the campaign and other pro-marijuana-reform groups are included, others taking part include Dr. Christian Thurstone, perhaps the most prominent medical professional in the state when it comes to identifying and decrying the negative health impacts of marijuana, particularly on young people of the sort who are expressly banned from using pot under A64.

We'll get into those issues down the line. Meanwhile (update), here's a statement from Amendment 64 proponent Mason Tvert -- not a member of the task force:

"This is a truly historic day. From this day forward, adults in Colorado will no longer be punished for the simple use and possession of marijuana. We applaud Gov. Hickenlooper for issuing this declaration in a timely fashion, so that adult possession arrests end across the state immediately.

"We look forward to working with the governor's office and many other stakeholders on the implementation of Amendment 64. We are certain that this will be a successful endeavor and Colorado will become a model for other states to follow."

Continue to read the A64 release and proclamation.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts