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Pro-Pot Group Says Voter Guide Misleading

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:21 pm    Post subject: Pro-Pot Group Says Voter Guide Misleading Reply with quote

Supporters Of Marijuana Initiative Say Voter Guide Misleading

DENVER -- Supporters of an initiative that would legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana said Tuesday they will ask a judge to block the state from distributing a voters guide, claiming it is misleading.

Mason Tvert, campaign director for Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, said the voter guide incorrectly claims the initiative would allow people to transfer up to one ounce of marijuana to juveniles 15 and older as long as there is no compensation. The voter guide notes that possession for people under 21 would still be illegal.

The voter guide, known as the blue book because of its cover, is printed by the state and distributed to voters to explain initiatives on the November ballot. It includes statements submitted by supporters and opponents of initiatives on the changes that would be made to state laws.

This year's blue book was approved last week by the Legislative Council. The final draft said that Amendment 44 would legalize the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, and "possession" includes consumption or use of marijuana as long as it's not in public, and transferring up to an ounce of marijuana to someone 15 years or older.

Tvert said the marijuana initiative would not change current state laws that bar contributing to the delinquency of a minor and make distribution of any amount of marijuana to minors under age 18 a felony.

"For some reason, the Legislative Council wants to make this about children. It's not," Tvert said. "The Legislative Council has perpetrated an act of fraud upon the people and the voters of Colorado ... The Legislative Council wants people to believe that our initiative would make it legal for adults to give small amounts of marijuana to minors. That, in no uncertain terms, is a lie."

"We don't and certainly would never perpetrate a fraud on the public," said Kirk Mlinek, the director of research for the Legislative Council.

Mlinek said the wording is derived from existing law and is an impartial analysis of the proposal.

"For the past 70 years, officials at all levels of government have lied, exaggerated, and used every dirty trick in the book in order to keep marijuana illegal. This is just one more example," said Tvert, at a press conference on the steps of the Capitol.

"He's dead wrong and I think those accusations are reckless and wrong," said Rep. Andrew Romanoff, the House Speaker. "It's not the job of the Legislative Council to fix flawed ballot measures on their way to the ballot."

Romanoff said the people who compile the Blue Book don't take sides; they simply explain what the proposal is, and then present both sides of the argument. He said the opponents of the marijuana ballot measure didn't like the wording either and tried to get the Legislative Council to strengthen the arguments against it.

"They didn't get what they wanted, but they're not suing the Legislative Council or trashing the staff who work for us. And I think that sort of behavior is reckless, unwarranted, and deeply disappointing to me," Romanoff said.

David Evans, an opponent of the initiative, said supporters want to eliminate the crime of possession of marijuana from state statutes, which could allow juveniles under 18 to possess the drug.

"I don't think it's ambiguous at all," Evans said.

Tvert and his group plan to file suit to block the blue book on Wednesday.

Even if Amendment 44 passes, it would still be against federal law to possess marijuana and it would be against state law to grow marijuana.



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