Colorado already is one of 17 states that has legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. We have seen no evidence that the fact that a person can walk into a dispensary and legally buy weed has harmed anyone in any real way.
Amendment 64 asks to amend the state constitution to extend the regulated medical marijuana system to the rest of the people of Colorado. It would regulate the growth, manufacturing and the sale of marijuana through state and local governments, and allow individuals who are at least 21 years old to possess, grow and use limited amounts of the substance.
Regulating marijuana like alcohol in Colorado would quickly grow into a major new revenue stream for our state and local governments. It also will create jobs and generate millions of dollars for our state’s struggling schools. The measure would lead to an excise tax on marijuana sales, of which the first $40 million in revenue raised annually would go to a state fund used for constructing public schools. That fund, known as Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST), has benefited two local schools, which have been awarded millions in grants to improve their facilities.
By legalizing marijuana in Colorado, it would cripple the unregulated black market sale of the substance, which in turn would make it more difficult for the drug to be readily available to teenagers. Amendment 64 would regulate marijuana and restrict its sale to licensed stores, like we do with alcohol. Consumers would know what they are getting because pot production would be subject to oversight.
Let’s call a spade a spade; there are plenty of people in this state who have a license to buy and grow marijuana under the auspices of having a medical condition that warrants its usage. The cards aren’t hard to get. Passing this amendment would end state criminal prosecutions of otherwise law-abiding contributing members of society who have an affinity for the weed. We believe pot should be available to all who choose to imbibe — like alcohol. We would like remind to people that marijuana comes from a natural plant that grows in the ground, whereas alcohol has to be manufactured and causes far more problems than weed.
Vote “yes” on Amendment 64, and end the senseless prohibition.
Now, put down your pipe and vote “yes” on Amendment 65. This is about putting an end to big money buying elections. As is plainly evident thanks to the endless negative political ads blanketing the airwaves in Colorado, the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United has unleashed a torrent of money into the political process.
Amendment 65 is strictly an advisory vote that would instruct, or encourage, Colorado’s congressional delegation to support an amendment to the United States Constitution to overturn Citizens United and allow states to place limits on campaign spending. An affirmative vote would send a message to legislators: Get big money out of politics.
We believe it is a flawed rationale to say that spending unlimited amounts of money to influence an election is the same thing as free speech. Based on that rationale, citizens who can spend more money are entitled to a greater voice in elections. As it stands now, we are seeing wealthy billionaires and special interests having a disproportionate impact on political campaigns.
According to information at www.Amend2012.org , billionaires such as Charles and David Koch are planning on spending more than $400 million to influence election outcomes. But in many cases, the public does not know who is providing money because the source does not have to be disclosed.
Amendment 65 attempts to level the playing field, allowing more voices to be heard. The more big money rules our politics, the less likely ordinary citizens are to believe they can affect change.
Of course, if the measure passes, it’s a bit of a long shot to expect Colorado legislators to introduce such a federal Constitutional Amendment, and then to see it passed by super majorities in both the House and Senate. Many politicians probably like the unlimited spigot of anonymous money that Citizens United has unleashed. It’s even more difficult to get the required three-quarters of the states to ratify the amendment. Changing the U.S. Constitution is no easy feat, but it has been done — 27 times.
It can’t hurt to try. Amendment 65 is basically a citizen petition on steroids and its proponents are smartly attempting to use the election process to facilitate a grassroots effort.
Vote “yes” on Amendment 65.
We urge Garfield County voters to join their fellow valley residents in establishing a publicly funded open space program by passing question 1A.
While the measure would result in a 0.25 sales tax, we believe it’s worthwhile. Having an open space fund would give Garfield County residents a tool to protect one of our most important community values: preserving from rampant development the beautiful terra that makes this valley so special.
The program the ballot question proponents are proposing would focus mostly on obtaining conservation easements or purchasing development rights for agricultural lands and wildlife habitat. Some funds would be available for governments to make direct land purchases, but it would be nothing on the order of the millions that Pitkin County open space officials have at their disposal each year.
If Garfield County had this program in place years ago, it’s likely that the community would have avoided the divisive debate engendered by the recent land swap proposal from the Wexner family. The land swap would see the Wexners acquire public lands on the flanks of Mount Sopris in exchange for a private holding they own known as Sutey Ranch. Located next to the Red Hill recreation area, Sutey is exactly the type of land that would be targeted for protection under the Garfield County open space program, and likely would be already if such a program existed in the past, precluding its use as a trading piece.
That’s just one example of how an open space program would work to the benefit of Garfield County residents and visitors. For every undeveloped piece of land that contributes to the clean air, water and open views that make us proud to call this place home, there is another reason to support Garfield County question 1A.
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