Residents of Colorado will have the opportunity to vote in favor of ending marijuana prohibition this November. Today, the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act” was approved for the ballot by Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler. With this confirmation, Colorado now joins Washington as one of two states where measures specific to legalizing cannabis will appear on the electoral ballot.
Backers of the initiative had previously turned in over 160,000 signatures. However, the Secretary of State’s office on February 3 responded that petitioners still needed an additional 2,500 valid signatures from registered voters to place the initiative on the ballot. On February 17th, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted an additional 14,000 signatures, well in excess of what was required to meet that threshold. Today’s approval from the state cements their placement on this fall’s ballot.
The Colorado initiative seeks to allow for the limited possession and cultivation of cannabis by adults age 21 and over. The measure would further amend state law to establish regulations governing the commercial production and distribution of marijuana by licensed retailers.
The measure is supported by a broad coalition of reform organizations, including NORML, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, SAFER, Sensible Colorado, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), the Drug Policy Alliance, and the Marijuana Policy Project.
“This is a very exciting prospect for marijuana law reform advocates,” states Erik Altieri, NORML’s Communications Coordinator, “Coloradans have already set the example for how to properly implement a state medical marijuana program and now they have the opportunity to lead the country yet again by being the first to end cannabis prohibition in their state. With their state pride and frontier mentality, the Centennial State stands a great chance of being the first state to declare an end to the war on cannabis consumers.”
Since its inception, the 2012 Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has been comprised of a broad-based coalition of state and national organizations that includes NORML. The NORML Board of Directors is expected to publicly endorse the initiative shortly.