Opponents of Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act are hyping a letter endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatric's Colorado branch decrying the measure. Backers responded with their own pediatrics-approved physician and a promise of support from more medical pros. How many? As will be announced at an event this morning, three hundred-plus.
At 11 a.m. at the Denver Press Club, a number of Colorado docs, including Dr. Larry Bedard, former president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and Dr. Bruce Madison, associate medical director of the faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and vice-chair of the Council on Legislation for the Colorado Medical Society, will appear on behalf of the act; get more details below. And they represent literally hundreds of their colleagues, says Betty Aldworth, an Amendment 64 spokeswoman who's also on the bill.
"This is a very wide variety of physicians in every field of medicine, as far as I can tell," she says.
Are any of them specialists in medical marijuana?
"Some of them have probably written medical marijuana recommendations," Aldworth replies. "But this is an unrelated topic in many ways." Rather than focusing on what she refers to as "the clinical value of medical marijuana," she says the physicians speaking out on behalf of Amendment 64 will be concentrating on "the failures of criminalizing marijuana users.
"Marijuana prohibition has negative ramifications for individuals and communities, and those negative effects certainly include negative health effects," she continues. "But the physicians helping us recognize that marijuana prohibition has failed Colorado citizens and communities, so they're joining us in support of this policy change."
Regarding the opposition to Amendment 64 of the American Academy of Pediatric's Colorado affiliate, Aldworth criticizes Smart Colorado, the No on 64 campaign, for implying that proponents don't care about teen weed smoking.
Continue to read more of our interview with Amendment 64's Betty Aldworth. "These pediatricians and the Amendment 64 campaign have the same goal in this case -- which is preventing youth marijuana use," she allows. "But when we look at the complete and utter failure of marijuana prohibition to keep marijuana out of the hands of youth, we think it's time for a sensible, evidence-based approach.
"Since launching the 'No' campaign, our opponents have been using reefer-madness scare tactics and fear-mongering to try to convince Colorado voters that Amendment 64 isn't good policy. But their arguments about children ignore the facts on the ground, which are that there is currently a universal underground market for marijuana, and that by regulating that market -- bringing it off the streets and putting it behind a counter -- we can more effectively keep it away from youth, and stop criminalizing 10,000 Colorado adults each year. And it will also benefit Colorado children with $40 million in tax revenue put into school capital construction."
One more thing: Aldworth confirms that more Amendment 64 endorsements will be forthcoming before election day arrives...and she's confident that Smart Colorado is on the same track. However, she says, "the endorsers our opponents are bringing out are typically people who benefit from the status quo -- members of drug-treatment or testing agencies, or law-enforcement agencies that directly benefit from our failed policy of marijuana prohibition. And I think Colorado voters can see through that."
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Here's the complete release about today's event:
More than 300 Colorado Physicians Endorse Amendment 64
Former president of American College of Emergency Physicians and Associate Medical Director of the Faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine will be among the physicians joining the campaign at a news conference Tuesday (10/9), at 11 a.m. at the Denver Press Club (1330 Glenarm Pl.)
DENVER -- The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol will announce at a news conference tomorrow, Tuesday, October 9, that more than 300 physicians from across Colorado have endorsed Amendment 64. Dr. Larry Bedard, former president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and Dr. Bruce Madison, associate medical director of the University of Colorado School of Medicine and vice-chair of the Colorado Medical Society's Council on Legislation, will be among the physicians in attendance.
WHAT: News conference to announce more than 300 Colorado physicians' endorsement of Amendment 64
WHEN: Tuesday, October 9, 11 a.m. MT
WHERE: Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Pl.
WHO: Dr. Larry Bedard, former president of the American College of Emergency Physicians
Dr. Bruce Madison, associate medical director of the faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine; vice-chair of the Council on Legislation for the Colorado Medical Society
Other Colorado physicians
Betty Aldworth, advocacy director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol