Art Way (720) 288-6924 or Tony Newman (646) 335-5384</p>
Denver – Today, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler certified an initiative for the state's November general election ballot that would legalize personal marijuana possession and allow regulated sales of marijuana to adults. Colorado now joins Washington as one of two states to qualify a legalization initiative in 2012, while several other states are hoping to follow suit.
Denver-based activists gathered more than 170,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot, including 14,000 during a ten-day period after initially falling short by 2,400. The initiative, now known as Amendment 64, is spearheaded by Mason Tvert, director of SAFER, and Brian Vicente, who is the director of Sensible Colorado.
"This could be a watershed year in the decades-long struggle to end marijuana prohibition in this country," said Art Way, Colorado manager of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Marijuana prohibition is counterproductive to the health and public safety of our communities. It fuels a massive, increasingly brutal underground economy, wastes billions of dollars in scarce law enforcement resources, and makes criminals out of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens."
If approved by voters, the initiative would decriminalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults 21 and older statewide and would allow small-scale cultivation for personal consumption. It would also permit the Department of Revenue or local governments (cities and counties) to design and implement regulations for controlling sales of marijuana to adults.
The initiative also allows local governments to prohibit marijuana sales altogether. However, the provisions decriminalizing personal possession and cultivation would apply statewide.
The Drug Policy Alliance, the nation's leading organization working to end the war on drugs, has endorsed the initiative and pledged to support its passage.
"Never before has support for legalizing marijuana been so widespread or so out in the open. It is truly exciting that voters in both Washington and Colorado have a chance to make history this year," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "I'm confident Colorado can lead the way in ending the follies of marijuana prohibition in favor of a responsible framework of regulation and taxation."