Denver Direct: Marijuana Advocates to Blast Former Booze-Dealing Gubernatorial Candidate Hickenlooper Over Hypocritical Opposition to Marijuana Reform

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Marijuana Advocates to Blast Former Booze-Dealing Gubernatorial Candidate Hickenlooper Over Hypocritical Opposition to Marijuana Reform

Thumbs down on Hick, thumbs up on Garnett and several state legislative candidates

DENVER — Colorado’s largest marijuana advocacy organization will hold a news conference in front of the Denver City-County Building on Wednesday, October 13, at 11 a.m., to discuss the results of the first-ever marijuana-specific Colorado voter guide. The event, which will occur just as voters begin receiving their mail-in ballots, is being coordinated by the SAFER Voter Education Fund (SVEF), the social welfare lobbying arm of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER).

** Voter guides available on-line here.

At the news conference, advocates will blast gubernatorial frontrunner and former alcohol dealer John Hickenlooper for continuing to oppose the legalization and regulation of a far safer substance — marijuana. The group will also praise attorney general Stan Garnett, as well as several other state lawmakers, for supporting a system of marijuana regulation similar to that of alcohol.

“Mayor Hickenlooper owes Colorado voters an explanation,” said SAFER Voter Education Fund Executive Director Mason Tvert. “In the five years since his city became the first in the nation to remove all penalties for adult marijuana possession he has yet to explain why it was okay for him to make a fortune selling alcohol, yet it should be a crime for adults to use a far safer substance instead. “The Democratic candidate to become the state’s next top law enforcer agrees that marijuana should be regulated and treated similarly to alcohol,” Tvert said. “Why does the Democratic gubernatorial candidate disagree?”

Along with the gubernatorial and attorney general candidates, every candidate for the Colorado State Legislature received the one-question survey, which asked:
Do you agree with the following policy statement excliusively as it appears below:

Marijuana should be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol, and adults twenty-one (21) years of age and older should NOT be subject to criminal penalties for private use and possession of up to one (1) ounce of marijuana.

The majority of candidates — including most incumbents — failed or refused to respond to the one-question survey despite having more than a month to do so.

“Those candidates who failed to respond to the survey ought to be embarrassed,” Tvert said. “Either they’re too scared to publicize their viewpoint or they were unable to take the time out of their campaigns to complete a one-question survey on a major political issue.”

Of note, several incumbent legislators responded to the survey indicating their support for making marijuana legal and regulating it like alcohol, including Democratic State Senator Pat Steadman, Democratic State Reps. Mark Ferrandino, Jeanne Labuda, Debbie Benefield, and Joe Miklosi, and Republican State Rep. Larry Liston.

SAFER and the SVEF coordinated the 2006 statewide legalization initiative in Colorado and the two successful citywide marijuana initiatives in Denver. The organizations have also announced plans to pursue a statewide initiative in 2012 that would remove criminal penalties for adult marijuana possession and establish a system of regulation that would treat marijuana similarly as alcohol.

WHAT: News conference to discuss first-ever marijuana-specific Colorado voter guide

WHEN: Wednesday, October 13 @ 11 a.m.

WHERE: In front of the Denver City-County Building, 1437 Bannock St., Denver