Marijuana legalization: As a precaution, Mason Tvert files language to put it on November ballot

Pot advocate Mason Tvert filed language on Wednesday for a November ballot initiative that would allow Coloradans 21 and older to use marijuana. Does that mean Colorado is about to be embroiled in a full-scale movement to legalize weed?

Not necessarily.

"There isn't some large campaign being launched," says Tvert, reached during a business trip in San Francisco. "It's just something we wanted to make sure was possible if we decided to do it." He explains the he and his colleagues at SAFER, the marijuana reform organization Tvert runs, wanted to file the appropriate paperwork for such a contingency before key election deadlines had passed. But they're far from launching an official political operation.

After all, Tvert, who's never one to turn down a press opportunity, wasn't really looking to get the word out about the filing at all. "If we knew this was happening, we'd be the first ones to let people know about it," he says.

If Initiative 47, as its titled on state paperwork, moves forward, it would ask voters to authorize a comprehensive regulatory system that would control marijuana similarly to how the state currently manages alcohol, says Tvert. In this model, both pot shops and pot grows would have to be licensed, there'd be limitations as to where one could use it and nothing in the law would supersede current rules about driving under the influence of drugs.

A lot of considerations will go into whether or not advocates decide this is the year to fight marijuana prohibition in Colorado, says Tvert. That includes timing issues, funding potential and what happens with current state attempts to regulate medical marijuana.

If the time does seem right, rest assured Tvert will have a whole lot more to say about it.

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Joel Warner is a former staff writer for Westword and International Business Times. He's also written for WIRED, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Bloomberg Businessweek, Popular Science, Slate, Grantland and many other publications. He's co-author of the 2014 book The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, published by Simon & Schuster.
Contact: Joel Warner