On Monday, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol announced that the Colorado Democratic Party announced that it officially supports Amendment 64 at its state convention and assembly in Pueblo over the weekend.
This is a mainstream issue. Polls show that more than 60 percent of Democrats and a solid majority of Independents believe marijuana should be treated like alcohol. A broad coalition is forming in support of Amendment 64 and I am proud to say that it now includes the Colorado Democratic Party.
The support should come as no surprise, earlier in March, after the Democratic Caucus, the Denver County Democratic Party released a document outlining the planks of its current platform which stated a support of not only "well-regulated, taxed, medical marijuana facilities" but also the decriminalization of marijuana, "allowing its sale, regulation and taxation similar to alcohol, subject to local control."
Amendment 64 seeks to legalize marijuana for recreational use for adults and will appear on Colorado ballots this November. This will be the second time Coloradans will vote on recreational pot legislation -- state voters considered and rejected a similar recreational pot legalization initiative in 2006. But Mason Tvert, co-director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, told The Huffington Post that Colorado has come a long way since 2006:
More Coloradans than ever before are aware of the fact that marijuana is not as dangerous as they have been led to believe and is actually far less harmful than alcohol. They have also seen firsthand via our medical marijuana system that it is possible for the state and localities to regulate and control the production and distribution of marijuana. They have read stories that quote law enforcement officials acknowledging that it has not contributed to crime or caused any significant problems. The environment here has changed dramatically.
While the feds continue their crackdown on medical marijuana shops in Colorado, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is on a bit of a roll. Prior to Colo. Democrats announcing their endorsement, fifty-six percent of the delegates at the Denver County Republican Assembly voted in support of Amendment 64. Tvert's group also put up their first billboard in Denver to raise awareness of the issue. The billboard depicts a smiling woman with the quote, "For many reasons I prefer... marijuana over alcohol. Does that make me a bad person?"
The support from both Republicans and Democrats appears to echo the findings of a December 2011 poll released by Public Policy Polling which showed that a large group of Coloradans believe that marijuana should not just be legal medically, but fully legalized. From the Public Policy report:
Coloradans are even more strongly in favor of legalizing marijuana, and they overwhelmingly believe it at least should be available for medical purposes. 49% think marijuana use should generally be legal, and 40% illegal. But explicitly for medical use, that rises to a 68-25 spread. Just five years ago, a referendum to legalize simple possession by people over 21 failed by 20 points. On the medical question, Democratic support rises from 64% for general use to 78%; Republicans rise from 30% to 50%, and independents from 54% to 75%.
"In just the past couple months, support for Amendment 64 has been expressed by everyone from Pat Robertson to Howard Stern and from the Colorado Democratic Party to a majority of Republican county delegates in Denver," Tvert went on to tell The Huffingotn Post. "We expect the list of supporters to continue growing as we move forward, and with such a broad base of support we are confident we can make history in Colorado this November."