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02 November 2005

it's the end of the world as we know it, i feel fine (2)

Denver citizens vote
to legalize marijuana;

Jesus returns to Earth;
Pigs fly;
Peace declared
in Iraq, Middle East

Mayor: "Drink more beer!"

DENVER [Colorado USA] (AP) -- Residents of the Mile High City have voted to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults.

Authorities, though, said state possession laws will be applied instead.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday, 54 percent, or 56,001 voters, cast ballots for the ordinance, while 46 percent, or 48,632 voters, voted against it.

Under the measure, residents over 21 years old could possess up to an ounce [28.5 grams] of marijuana.

"We educated voters about the facts that marijuana is less harmful to the user and society than alcohol," said Mason Tvert, campaign organizer for SAFER, or Safer Alternatives For Enjoyable Recreation. "To prohibit adults from making the rational, safer choice to use marijuana is bad public policy."

Bruce Mirken of the Washington-based Marijuana Policy Project said he hoped the approval will launch a national trend toward legalizing a drug whose enforcement he said causes more problems than it cures.

Seattle, Oakland, California, and a few college towns [Berkeley California, home to University of California-Berkeley, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, home to the University of Michigan] already have laws making possession the lowest law enforcement priority.

The Denver proposal seemed to draw at least as much attention for supporters' campaign tactics as it did for the question of legalizing the drug. Tvert argued that legalizing marijuana would reduce consumption of alcohol, which he said leads to higher rates of car accidents, domestic and street violence and crime.

The group criticized Mayor John Hickenlooper for opposing the proposal, noting his ownership of a popular brewpub.

It also said recent
violent crimes -- including the shootings of four people last weekend -- [w]as a reason to legalize marijuana to steer people away from alcohol use.

Those tactics angered local officials and some voters. Opponents also said it made no sense to prevent prosecution by Denver authorities while marijuana charges are most often filed under state and federal law.

The measure would not affect the medical marijuana law voters approved in 2000. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that medical marijuana laws in Colorado and nine other states would not protect licensed users from federal prosecution.

Also Tuesday, voters in the ski resort town of Telluride rejected a proposal to make possession of an ounce or less of marijuana by people 18 or older the town's lowest law enforcement priority. The measure was rejected on a vote of 308-332.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Anonymous patfromch said...

WHAT ??? 30 GRAMS ???
Are you sure this is not a typo ?
In any case it's more than you're allowed to possess in The Netherlands (or Switzerland.
I think I'm about to start liking Americans again...

Blogger Bob Merkin said...

from (a very prestigious science museum in San Francisco, founded, I think, by J. Robert Oppenheimer's brother)

The Science of Cooking

American standard

1 ounce = 30 grams


... which is still in the ballpark of "personal possession and use" rather than Evil Gang Kingpin Dope Seller. So the Denver voters are saying, "Bust the big-time gang sellers, but leave ordinary people with their household bag of pot alone. We have more important things to do with our police resources."

In the last decade in the USA, there are city and state local referendum votes over pot and other drug issues maybe 20 times a year. Almost all fail, as the political infrastructure and professional police scream bloody murder -- but each year, they are failing by smaller and smaller margins. And now and then a few, like this one in Denver, pass.

Ordinary citizens are getting angrier and angrier that the War on Drugs is costing them $$$$$$$$$$$$$ in taxes, but they are getting nothing important in return. And with 2,300,000 Americans in prison, most for some kind of drug crime, more and more ordinary citizens have a cousin or nephew or parent or child in prison or with a lifelong criminal record that ruins their lives. It's building slowly, but popular sentiment about the way the USA has dealt with drugs for the last 90 years is coming to a boil.


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