Governor Hickenlooper opposes Amendment 64

On Sept. 12, the Huffington Post reported Gov. John Hickenlooper officially announced his opposition to Amendment 64, which would regulate marijuana like alcohol.

“Colorado is known for many great things — marijuana should not be one of them,” Hickenlooper said.

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My question is, why not?

Can you even imagine the amount of publicity and national recognition that would occur because of Amendment 64? Our state’s many tourist attractions would surely benefit from the attention, exponentially increasing the amount of revenue that would come from out of state vacationers.

According to a report by the Colorado Center on Law & Policy, passing Amendment 64 would cause a huge boom for the economy. Legalizing marijuana would produce hundreds of new jobs, as well raising millions for Colorado’s public schools and providing about $60 million annually in revenue and savings for the Colorado budget.

As a reason for his opposition to Amendment 64, Hickenlooper cited the age old ‘think of the children,’ justification.

Well, Gov. Hickenlooper, I am thinking about the children.

Studies show that the legalization and regulation of marijuana would actually decrease use by minors, just as the introduction of medical marijuana has decreased the usage rate of minors in just about every state it’s been implemented.

More importantly, the youth who are already using, if caught, won’t have to face the dire implications that are the effect of getting busted with marijuana or paraphernalia. The ramifications of these offenses can affect you and your employment opportunities throughout the rest of your life.

This goes without saying all of the health risks associated with alcohol, whereas marijuana is much less harmful and not physically addictive.

Of course I don’t have to tell you all this, most people know these basic truths, which is why a Rasmussen poll shows that 61 percent of likely Colorado voters are in favor of legalizing marijuana.

Amendment 64 has been met with some stark opposition, however, using some dirty legislative tricks to prevent its passing.

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The Colorado Legislative Council deleted some key text out of wording that appears in the voters guide blue books that are distributed before voting day.

The key sentences that were deleted include: Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol; the consequences of a marijuana offense are too severe; and law enforcement resources would be better spent on more severe crimes.

This deletion makes the wording count of the “Arguments For” section of the voters guide 298 words, to the “Arguments Against” section’s 366 words — about 75 percent more than the arguments for.

The worst part is that Sen. Mark Scheffel’s original motion to amend the “Arguments For” section was unanimously approved, but the approval was not genuine — the Huffington Post reports.

When Council members realized the motion had deleted the last three sentences of the five sentence paragraph instead of only a few words — which is what they had understood would be deleted — the Council members made a motion to reinsert the sentences.

The motion to reinsert the language that had been mistakenly removed failed to achieve the two thirds vote necessary to modify the language.

Despite this foul play, Colorado is still poised to become the first state to legalize and regulate marijuana like alcohol, even with the outspoken opposition of our state’s governor.

A reason Hickenlooper cited for his opposition was that “Federal laws would remain unchanged in classifying marijuana as a Schedule I substance, and federal authorities have been clear they will not turn a blind eye toward states attempting to trump those laws,” the Huffington Post reported.

Well, Mr. Governor, what if Federal laws are wrong?

The majority of Colorado citizens support Amendment 64, it would be beneficial to Coloradans in every conceivable way and is in the best interest of our state, yet the Governor opposes its legalization.

Is it simply because Washington’s edict has remained unchanged all these years since Nixon’s Drug War?

By citing the Federal government as the reason for his opposition to Amendment 64, Governor Hickenlooper missed a great opportunity to stand up for Colorado and the authority of all Coloradans to decide this issue for themselves rather than bureaucrats thousands of miles away.

Our governor missed an opportunity to stand up for the Tenth Amendment. An opportunity to stand by his state’s citizens’ decision in the matter — whatever it may be — and challenge the extent to which our state’s fate is self determined.

Editorial Editor Kevin Jensen is a senior English major. His column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to kjensen@collegian.com.