Earlier this week, Cannabis University owner Michelle LaMay filed language with the state title review board that would eliminate all punishment for cannabis possession in Colorado. The introduction of her bill marks the second ballot initiative aimed at lessening marijuana punishments in the state behind the Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act of 2012.
Tentatively called The Punitive Relief for the Possession of Cannabis Act of 2012 (at least until LaMay's July 26 title hearing), the bill would prohibit all courts in the state "from imposing any punitive fine or sentence for the possession of cannabis." The language does not set limits on amounts of cannabis.
La May said recent announcements from the federal government asserting that cannabis will remain a Schedule 1 drug gave her little hope for true legalization any time soon. She says she opposes the Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol initiative already submitted to the state because it adds more regulation to the constitution.
"I realized that to put a question up like I wanted to see, I would have to draft it," she says. "So, I put my thoughts down on how to how to go around legalization. I believe that Coloradans think enough is enough. We've had enough damage to lives and spent enough money."
LaMay says she will not start collecting signatures until June 2012. In the meantime, she hopes to drum up supporters. So far, she says she's received a lot of positive feedback online and in person and no complaint call from a local activist (she wouldn't say who) to chastise her for not discussing it with other groups before submitting the language.
But she says winning over people already in support of cannabis doesn't concern her. "It's not my problem," she points out. "I don't think [the unnamed caller] gets any work done. Talk is cheap. I don't preach to the choir. I don't have to tell [activists] all the reasons that the drug war is bad. It's the choir and we need to be reaching the people on the fence."
You can read official language in .pdf form here.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana: State fees for MMJ business licensing too high, says attorney Warren Edson."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.