Colorado recently emerged as an epicenter of drug policy reform in this country. In 2012, voters in the state approved a groundbreaking initiative to tax and regulate marijuana for adult use. In the last few years, the state also legalized sterile syringe access programs, established the most comprehensive medical marijuana regulatory system in the nation, and enacted bold sentencing, parole, community re-entry, and overdose prevention policy reforms.
In 2011, the Drug Policy Alliance expanded its state-based advocacy to Colorado and appointed Denver-based Art Way to its first staff position in the Centennial State. Building on recent statewide reforms, DPA's Colorado priorities are to minimize the costly and ineffective role of the criminal justice system in addressing drug-related issues, to increase statewide support for proven, health-centered drug policies and to help implement and defend the voter-approved initiative to legalize marijuana for adults.
DPA’s work in Colorado did not stop with the historic 2012 victory that ended nearly a century of marijuana prohibition. We continue to advocate for sane, effective retail and medical marijuana regulations that promote equity, reparative justice and public health.
DPA is committed to advancing drug policies that treat drug use and misuse as a public health issue, not a criminal justice matter. We advocate for innovative, evidence-based models in Colorado such as law enforcement assisted diversion (LEAD), supervised consumptions services (SCS) and injectable opioid treatment/heroin-assisted treatment (HAT). We also promote humane child welfare policies to empower families affected by substance use.
Often, the consequences of low-level drug arrests far outweigh the impact of drug misuse itself. DPA works to ensure that the collateral consequences many face in Colorado do not guarantee perpetual second-class citizenship and the inability to escape the labels and stereotypes of having been a “drug offender.” We promote reforms designed to reach those communities most negatively impacted by the war on drugs while striving to ensure that new and changing policies promote general public welfare.
DPA is committed to creating and maintaining productive dialogue surrounding drug use and misuse issues with the goal of shifting current paradigms from a criminal justice to a public health approach. We are proud to collaborate with impacted communities and support state and local organizations that are working for drug policy reform in various capacities. These partnerships will be invaluable as we work together to promote groundbreaking drug policy reforms in the coming years. Thank you to our allies in Colorado.