Amendment 64: Tom Tancredo on why GOP should embrace marijuana measure

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"If you really believe what conservatives say they believe -- in less government -- this is a perfect way to express that belief," Tancredo maintains. "To say, 'I don't think the government has any right to tell me what I should ingest.'"

This logic didn't result in a great deal of support for Amendment 64 among Republican office holders in Colorado before the election. Tancredo was pretty much the only major pro-64 advocate from his party -- which explains why he debated Weld County District Attorney (and former Republican senatorial hopeful) Ken Buck, a vocal opponent of the act, on public television, and recorded a radio commercial for the Amendment 64 campaign.

Here's a video version of that spot.

Amendment 64's passage hasn't spurred many changes of heart among the GOP. Thus far, the only Republican member of the state's congressional delegation to sign on to Democratic Representative Diana DeGette's bill that would exempt Colorado from federal marijuana policy is Mike Coffman. But in backing the measure, he made it clear that his support was unenthusiastic. His statement about the proposal reads, "I voted against Amendment 64 and I strongly oppose the legalization of marijuana, but I also have an obligation to respect the will of the voters given the passage of this initiative, and so I feel obligated to support this legislation."

Granted, Coffman's words represent a ringing endorsement compared to the views of many fellow Republicans, as Tancredo knows personally. "I remember a phone message I got from a woman who has been a quote-unquote friend for forty years -- and I say 'quote-unquote' because she said this [his endorsement of Amendment 64] ended the friendship. And I thought, if this ended it, we didn't have much of a friendship. But she considers herself a strong Christian conservative, and she couldn't believe I'd support it. And this wasn't unique. I got that from a lot of people."

Not that this rejection shook Tancredo's certainty that he'd chosen the proper path.

Continue for more from Tom Tancredo about why Republicans should embrace Amendment 64.
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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