On Friday, the Secretary of State's Office noted that the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act had fallen 2,409 signatures shy of ballot approval. Given the resources available to the Regulate folks, whose measure will be known as Initiative 30 if the shortfall can be cured in the next week plus, this turn suggests big challenges for the grassroots Legalize 2012 effort to win approval for a marijuana re-legalization proposal. What's proponent Laura Kriho's take?
"Whether or not we have the resources never stopped us from doing what is right," she says.
What are the latest developments for Legalize 2012's offering?
"We submitted it to the legislative council on Thursday," she notes, "and we have a hearing on February 16. They'll give us input on the language and whether or not what we've written expresses our intent, and give feedback on ways to change it to make it clearer. If we make changes that are just based on their comments, we don't have to restart the process. But if we make substantial changes, we have to resubmit it to the legislative council."
Once these steps have been taken, the initiative will be sent to the title board, whose approval triggers petitioning. But in advance of this process, Legalize 2012 has launched what it's calling a virtual petition; to access it, click here. Supporters who fill out the form will be contacted once signature collection begins in earnest, thereby giving Legalize 2012 a jump-start.
Kriho points out that the act, whose language was vetted by a committee that mingles prominent marijuana-scene figures such as Dr. Robert Melamede and Danyel S. Joffe with the likes of Colorado Green Party's Victor Forsythe and Libertarian Party of Boulder County's Ralph Shnelvar, now features a number of sections intended to address the conflict between state and federal law. For example, "we say the attorney general is required to file lawsuits against the feds for intervention until the feds cease and desist their activities to enforce federal law."
By the way, the office of Colorado Attorney General John Suthers is extremely dubious about such a mandate. We'll address these concerns in a separate post.
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Regarding the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, Kriho speculates that the amount of money spent to collect signatures may be higher than for any previous Colorado initiative. While this claim is extremely difficult to confirm, there's no question the act's backers have had considerable funds at their disposal. And yet around 80,000 signatures collected by volunteers and paid petitioners were deemed invalid -- nearly 50 percent of the total.
Those are daunting figures, but Kriho is philosophical about them. In relation to petitioning, "we're just going to take it as it goes," she maintains. "The initiative we've written is our ideal initiative -- where we want to end up at. And now that we have it written, we just have to put the pieces together to get us where we want to go. And we've had a lot of support so far." According to her, people who've compared both proposals overwhelming favor the one by Legalize 2012 -- and she hopes that if the Regulate initiative falters, its supporters will line up behind the Re-legalization act
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