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Colorado legalization initiative leads in polls

By Mason Tvert

The campaign to pass the 2012 ballot initiative to regulate cannabis like alcohol, Colorado Amendment 64 (A-64), is picking up steam as it heads towards a vote.

The measure has been consistently ahead in the polls and support is growing. An August survey conducted by Public Policy Polling found the initiative leading 47-38, compared to 46-42 in June, and prominent pollster Floyd Ciruli told Denver’s NBC affiliate station that voters could very well adopt it in November.

“We are thrilled to see such a jump in the polls, but this campaign is far from over,” said Betty Aldworth, advocacy director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is spearheading support for A-64. “We have about two months to go, and we are going to use every minute to strengthen our support heading into Election Day.”

The campaign received a boost in August from the release of an economic analysis of the initiative performed by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. It found that passage of A-64 would produce at least $60 million in annual revenue and savings, with the potential to top $100 million in annual revenues within five years. It would also create hundreds of jobs, mostly in construction, and generate tens of millions of dollars annually for the state’s public school capital construction program.

“Not only will A-64 result in immediate law enforcement savings,” said campaign co-director Brian Vicente. “It will quickly grow into a major revenue stream for Colorado.”

The combination of an economic boon paired with the benefits of removing cannabis from the underground market has spurred a number of new endorsements from organizations, elected officials and community leaders. The measure received the official backing of the state Democratic Party earlier this year, and the campaign made headlines nationwide when it posted a billboard in Grand Junction highlighting the support expressed by conservative evangelist Pat Robertson.

In late June, a group of parents who support A-64 organized a committee to begin promoting the benefits of ending cannabis prohibition, Moms and Dads for Marijuana Regulation. The group announced its formation in front of a pro-64 billboard in Denver that featured a man and his high-school-aged son, reading “Please card my son… Regulate the sale of marijuana and help me keep it out of his hands.” MDMR has also been spreading its message to other parents through public speaking engagements.

“Far too often, we hear opponents of reform using teens as a reason to maintain marijuana prohibition,” said Georgia Edson, a Denver mother, licensed clinical social worker and co-chair of the committee. “They are simply playing on the fears of parents. The true dangers related to marijuana come from its illegal status.

“Like the father portrayed in the billboard, I would feel much more comfortable knowing that marijuana was being sold in regulated stores where sellers would be checking IDs.”

For info on the Amendment 64 Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, visit www.RegulateMarijuana.org.

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