As the state seeks reclassification of medical marijuana to a schedule 2 drug, Colorado pot activists are seeking full recreational use legalization, and by the looks of the amount of signatures they have collected, they are off to an overwhelmingly strong start.
7News reports that the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol says it will turn in nearly 160,000 signatures in favor of the legalization initiative Wednesday to the Secretary of State's Office -- nearly double the 86,000 signatures required to put the question of pot legalization on the 2012 ballot.
The state then has 30 days to decide whether or not the pot measure will be on the ballots, according to The Denver Post. If it gets approval, it would be the first measure approved for the 2012 Colorado election.
The amendment seeks to make the personal use, possession and limited home-growing of marijuana legal for adults aged 21 and older. It establishes a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol is currently. The act also would allow for the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp, according to the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol website.
The Associated Press reports that if the measure makes it onto the 2012 ballot, which appears likely, the much more difficult road of convincing a majority of Coloradans to challenge a federal drug law, like this measure would do, is ahead. Added to the challenges are the escalating rumors that a federal medical marijuana crackdown, similar to that which was seen in California, is on its way to Colorado.
This would be the second recreational use legalization measure to appear on Colorado ballots, the first, which appeared in 2006, was voted down.
"Because so many people have been hearing about marijuana and about the fact that it's far safer than alcohol, they are becoming increasingly comfortable with acknowledging that an adult should be able to use it without fear of punishment," Mason Tvert, head of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, said to the Grand Junction Sentinel about the measure. Tvert also says that full legalization could result in an economic boom for the state and with the current flagging national economy, dollars and cents may get Colorado voters to think differently this time around.
For now, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol plans to celebrate its success and end of the signature drive with a party at the Industry Lounge in Denver on Jan. 4 at 6 p.m.