As we reported earlier this morning, Patrick Kennedy came to Denver today to promote and officially launch a new national organization dedicated to finding alternatives to legalizing marijuana that incorporate the expertise of public health officials. Amendment 64 proponent Mason Tvert held a preemptive news conference criticizing the efforts an hour before the Kennedy event at the Denver Press Club this morning. More on that event below.At the launch event, Kennedy, alongside Kevin Sabet -- a former drug-policy adviser for both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations -- spoke to reporters about the need for a more public health-based conversation on legalization.
Though they chose Colorado as the launch site for the effort, the speakers in attendance were reluctant to specifically discuss what they would be advocating in the state, where it is now legal for adults to possess small amounts of marijuana and smoke it recreationally. (Eventually, adults will be able to buy pot, too, but not for at least a year -- and the details are being debated by a governor's task force, which will make recommendations to legislators).
Kennedy announced that Bob Doyle, executive director of the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance, would be leading a Colorado chapter tied to the new national alliance, called Project SAM, which stands for "Smart Approaches to Marijuana."
Doyle was in attendance and said that he would be holding a press conference in a few weeks to discuss details of his group, which will be called Smart Colorado. (That was also the name of the anti-64 group, but officials at the presser tell us that it's not the same group, even if it might have similar members and the same name).
Continue for more details on Doyle's group and the response from Mason Tvert.