Marijuana: Amendment 64 opponents' response to charges of lying? A box of Kleenex

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In this space yesterday, Mason Tvert, a proponent for Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, accused the leading No on 64 group of lying and intimidation in fighting against the measure.

In response, the opponents' campaign director sent Tvert a note essentially accusing him of being a crybaby, accompanied by a photo featuring a box of Kleenex. See it and Tvert's reaction below.

As we've reported, the latest dispute between the camps flows from a Yes on 64 announcement earlier this month involving more than 300 doctors who voiced their support for the initiative. Among these physicians were a number who live and practice on Colorado's largely conservative Western Slope -- but a recent article in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reveals that at least three of them now claim they don't actually favor the act. Why not? Two of the docs failed to return calls to the Sentinel, but the third, plastic surgeon Dr. William Merkel, says he misread the letter he received from the campaign; he claims to have thought the amendment was actually an anti-marijuana proposal.

Smart Colorado, the No on 64 organization, pounced on this report, with spokeswoman Laura Chapin telling Westword it fits into a "pattern with the proponents -- making claims about the proposal and about their support that don't hold up under further scrutiny." She also took another opportunity to claim a pro-Amendment 64 commercial talking about revenues the act will generate for school construction is false.

Tvert's take? He charges Smart Colorado with "flat-out lying" on a number of fronts in a desperate effort to reverse the measure's momentum; a recent poll has Amendment 64 leading by a 53 percent-43 percent margin. He added that attacks against those who've spoken out for the initiative -- including decorated ex-Denver Police Lieutenant Tony Ryan, who opponents dubbed a "pro-pot rent a cop" -- may explain why people like the Western Slope doctors are reluctant to publicly voice their support.

After publication of the item, No on 64 campaign director Roger Sherman copied yours truly on a note to Tvert that made it clear he sees such assertions as little more than whining.

Continue to see the note and read Tvert's response. Here's the note and accompanying photo, which arrived shortly after the latest No on 64 campaign release, announcing that Senator Michael Bennet has joined politicians such as Governor John Hickenlooper, former governors Bill Owens and Bill Ritter, and Denver mayor Michael Hancock in opposing Amendment 64.

Dear Mason --

We here at the No on 64 campaign are concerned about you. You seem to be getting very upset that not everyone agrees with you. But such is life. We have a responsibility to inform the voter about what Amendment 64 will mean for Colorado and correct the well-documented misinformation your organization continues to put out. However, never let it be said that I'm not compassionate -- so I'm sending along something to alleviate the symptom and help you get through the final week. I hope the attached will come in handy.



When contacted by Westword for his reaction, Tvert e-mailed the following: "With the election just one week away, I have to wonder if Mr. Sherman's donors, such as Focus on the Family, would be happy with his campaign spending its time on arts and crafts."

Maybe not -- but you've got to admit, the sticker is nicely centered.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Amendment 64 opponents dub Tony Ryan, decorated Denver officer, a rent-a-cop."

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