Marijuana legalization qualifies for Colorado ballot

DENVER Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:54pm EST

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DENVER (Reuters) - A Colorado voter initiative that would legalize adult possession of marijuana for personal recreational use qualified on Monday for the state's November ballot, state officials said, despite staunch opposition from the federal government.

A similar measure earned a place last month on the Washington state ballot, but legalization of pot for recreational purposes was defeated by California voters in 2010.

The latest moves to decriminalize marijuana at the state level face opposition from the federal government, which still classifies pot as an illegal narcotic.

Colorado is one of 16 states, along with the District of Columbia, that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.

Under a medical marijuana law enacted in 2000, Colorado maintains a registry of more than 80,000 card-carrying patients and rules governing how physicians and distributors operate.

However, federal prosecutors launched a crackdown last month against nearly two dozen medical marijuana dispensaries located within 1,000 feet of schools, giving proprietors 45 days to cease operations or face civil and criminal penalties. That deadline was to lapse at the end of the day on Monday.

Proponents of legalized recreational possession initially submitted more than 163,000 signatures on a petition to place their measure on the ballot, but the state's secretary of state declared the petition insufficient on February 3.

Advocates submitted an additional 14,000 signatures two weeks ago, and after a second review, the state certified that the proposal would qualify for the general election ballot on November 6, 2012.

Voters defeated a previous ballot measure to legalize pot for recreational purposes in 2006. But proponents see momentum on their side, citing an October 2011 Gallop Poll that found a record 50 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana use, up from 36 percent five years earlier.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

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Comments (2)
WildBillWB wrote:
I was watching the news a couple of months back and there was a story about a small bridge being replaced in Scranton after a five and a half year wait. It was big news because the people in that neighborhood had to take a twenty minute detour to get across the creek.
The story that followed was about a marijuana distribution ring consisting of 100 people was busted. As I watched the police officers escorting all of these people into the magistrates office all I could think about was the police man hours and overtime, court costs to pay for their prosecution and the cost of incarceration for 100 people. My second thought was “I wonder how many bridges we could replace with that money and would we have to wait almost six years for them?” Why not just let them smoke their weed? They’re not hurting anybody and we need the bridges.

Feb 27, 2012 6:11pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Parent wrote:
Jesus said to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us. None of us would want our child or grandchild thrown in jail with the sexual predators over marijuana. None of us would want to see an older family members home confiscated and sold by the police for growing a couple of marijuana plants for their aches and pains.
If the people who want to use marijuana could grow a few plants in their own back yards, it would be about as valuable as home-grown tomatoes; it would put the drug gangs out of business and get them out of our neighborhoods.

Mar 01, 2012 9:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
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