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

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"It's like that story about Henry David Thoreau. He was thrown in jail at some point in time for civil disobedience of some sort, and he had these friends come and visit -- and one of them said, 'Thoreau, what are you doing in there?' And he said, 'The real question is, why aren't you in here with me?' When my conservative friends attacked me for doing this, I asked, 'Why aren't you here with me?'

"They rail against New York nanny-state activities like telling people what size soft drinks they can sell and how much people can imbibe. They talk about it being ridiculous, and I say, 'You're right. But what the hell do you think is different about the government telling you that you can't smoke dope?'"

Granted, Tancredo isn't interested in doing so personally.

"I've never had a marijuana cigarette, and I really don't have any plans on smoking one," he says. "I might, but it's not something on my agenda. I tell people al the time that the only bright spot in the whole election was the passage of 64, because now I can get high for the next four years -- but I'm joking."

Despite his delight over 64's approval, though, he doesn't believe Republicans could take a major chunk out of the Democrats victorious coalition in Colorado and beyond by suddenly getting behind marijuana legalization. True, young voters who backed Amendment 64 overwhelmingly cast their ballots for Democrats, but Tancredo doesn't see their numbers as decisive.

"The bigger problem we face is the fact that the country, and certainly Colorado, has changed over the past fifty years as a result of massive immigration and a public school system that is ideologically tilted to the left," he says. "We've created what's essentially a new sort of political demographic profile of people who believe that government has a greater role to play in their daily life than it used to."

Continue for more from Tom Tancredo on why Republicans should support 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