This week, both sides of the debate on Colorado’s Amendment 64, which would legalize the use of marijuana for adults 21 and older, grew in size. Prominent groups in Colorado endorsed the Amendment, while others established their position of opposition.
At a press conference on Tuesday morning held by the Amendment 64 campaign, it was announced that over 300 physicians from 65 localities throughout the state pledged their support to marijuana legalization.
Dr. Bruce Madison, associate medical director of the faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, released a statement, explaining, “As physicians we have a professional obligation to do no harm. But the truth is that the Colorado marijuana laws do just that, by wasting hundreds of millions of dollars in a failed War on Marijuana, by ruining thousands of lives by unnecessary arrest and incarceration, and by causing the deaths of hundreds of people killed in black-market criminal activities. I am proud to join all of the other Colorado physicians who support Amendment 64, a sensible measure whose time has come.”
Campaign to Regulate Marijuana advocacy director Betty Aldworth echoed the value of the doctors’ support. “These 300-plus physicians have joined more than 130 college professors in supporting Amendment 64 because the evidence is clear that our current system of marijuana prohibition has failed. It has not only been ineffective and incredibly wasteful, but also harmful to our citizens and our communities. Like alcohol prohibition, marijuana prohibition has caused far more problems than it has solved, and it is time for a new approach. Eighty years ago, Colorado voters concerned about the health and safety of their families approved an initiative to repeal alcohol prohibition. We hope they will once again take a stand against prohibition at the polls this November.”
Contrastingly, the Colorado Springs City Council and the El Paso County Commissioners spoke out on Tuesday in opposition of Amendment 64.
The Colorado Springs council voted 5-1 to oppose the amendment, calling it a “bastardization of the Colorado Constitution.”
At the council meeting, District Attorney Dan May said that, “Amendment 64 is bad public policy. It’s bad for Colorado and it’s bad for our youth.”
The El Paso County Commissioners voted unanimously to oppose the amendment, citing a negative economic and social impact. “Marijuana and other drugs help decimate part of the work force and it would just get worse,” explained commission chairwoman Amy Lathen. “Besides, marijuana use is federally illegal. It would affect the money that comes [to Colorado] from the federal government for all sorts of things. It would be a big states rights issue.”
The most recent polls from the University of Denver show that 50% of likely voters support the passing of Amendment 64, while only 40% of likely voters oppose it.