Vicente and Amendment 64 co-author Mason Tvert celebrated the sweat and tears they had injected into the initiative on Tuesday night. Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who opposed the amendment, was more measured in his response.
“The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will. This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through,” Governor Hickenlooper said. “That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly,” Hickenlooper quipped.
Tvert fired back, suggesting that the governor was simply bitter that his opposition campaign failed. Amendment 64 ended up passing with an estimated 1.28 million votes, 54.8 percent compared to 45.1, and received more support than President Barack Obama in the state.
The campaign against Amendment 64 was led by CRL Associates, a well-known public policy firm in town. Some of the No on 64 campaign’s most vocal leaders included Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Attorney General John Suthers and former Govs. Bill Owens and Bill Ritter. They spoke of a proliferation of marijuana that would paint Colorado as a tourist trap for free-spirited cannabis lovers, leading to increased use by children and more traffic accidents.
“We were up against a national movement, and we did the best we could with the resources we had,” said Danielle Glover, No on 64 coalition director.
The mostly young coalition of proponents had pointed out that over the past 40 years, the federal government’s drug war cost $1 trillion and led to the arrest of 850,000 Americans for marijuana violations in 2010 alone.
Betty Aldworth, Amendment 64’s advocacy director, said it took time to convince voters. But she says momentum is growing and a new generation of voters is turning the tide. “People my age have been raised through the DARE program, and other programs that lie to us about marijuana and marijuana users, and we’re all products of the last 70 years of prohibitionist rhetoric,” said Aldworth, who is 36 years old. “When we say marijuana is safer and we can regulate it like alcohol, it does take a minute for people to realize that. But we’ve done a phenomenal job.”
John Walsh, the U.S. attorney of Colorado, said in a statement: “The Department of Justice’s enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged. In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance. We are reviewing the ballot initiative and have no additional comment at this time.”
Tvert believes the tipping point came Tuesday when voters in Colorado and Washington voted to legalize marijuana, and he is confident that over time, the federal government will honor the will of individual states.
“The more people talk about marijuana and hear the facts about marijuana, the more they recognize that our current system is not working and that it’s time for a new approach,” he said.
The above is an excerpt from The Colorado Statesman, “High hopes for pot users with passage of Amendment 64“.
Reminder: Refer to vaporize, not smoking marijuana (tar, etc. is unhealthy), e.g., using Valcano vaporizer, for example.