Cannabis University founder Michell LaMay recieved title approval from the state board yesterday for her Relief for the Possession of Cannabis Act.
She calls the bill an "elegantly simple solution" to marijuana laws in Colorado.
Initiative 40, now officially (and lengthily) titled "An amendment to the Colorado state constitution directing the judiciary branch of all governing bodies in the state of Colorado to prohibit their courts from imposing any fine or sentence for the possession of cannabis," would prohibit courts from "imposing any fine or sentence for marijuana-related crimes."
"All I can say is that Initiative 40 is for all Coloradans," LaMay says. "Our laws have ruined so many lives and cost us so much money. The damage to families -- the physical cost -- far, far, far exceeds any perceived danger of cannabis in the communities."
Without fines and prison sentences to back up the laws, LaMay believes, there will be no motive for law enforcement to enforce them. She also notes that the bill is written vaguely enough to include cultivation as well as simply possessing some herb.
As LaMay notes, she's already fundraising online, and she plans to start collecting the 85,000-plus signatures required to land the initiative on the November ballot starting in early February.
The petition drive will focus as much on rural areas as larger towns and cities. "I found that in 2006, when there was a legalization initiative on the ballot, where people voted against it was where nobody went -- the edges of the state. We're getting out to the corners with our marketing. Our circulators won't have to explain much, it's just so simple. People worried about getting an MMJ card for professional reasons, this is aimed at them."
LaMay added that her bill offers a simple alternative to Initiative 30, commonly referred to as the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act -- which she says would add pages of unnecessary law to our state constitution. "[Initiative 40] doesn't describe anything. If I would have, I would be in the same bind as Initiative 30, which is eight, nine pages long."
The word "relief" was officially removed from the title of the measure, with board members saying that it could be misinterpreted to mean monetary relief. Otherwise, the bill was left pretty much as LaMay originally drafted it. She says she'll still refer to the bill as the Relief for the Possession of Cannabis Act, since "relief" was left in the body of the proposal.
The Relief for the Possession of Cannabis proposal is the second marijuana initiative to be put forward, following the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, which has already submitted almost twice the required number of signatures. In addition, the Cannabis Therapy Institute recently announced plans to file a third marijuana legalization initiative in the coming weeks.
Below is the text of Initiative 40.
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado state constitution directing the judiciary branch of all governing bodies in the state of Colorado to prohibit their courts from imposing any fine or sentence for the possession of cannabis?
More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: No punishment for possession under Michelle LaMay's new ballot proposal."
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.