On Thursday, the Denver Post reported that “infighting” among cannabis legalization activists slows the local campaign for legalization. Westword followed up that afternoon with an interview with Mason Tvert, a proponent of the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012. Tvert, in an act of what appears to be damage control, expressed that dissenting voices in the pro-legalization movement are minimal at best. “What we’ve found is that everyone appears to be rallying behind this effort, with perhaps the exception of a few,” he told Westword. ”All the momentum is on our side.”
Competing bids aren’t the only thing bearing down on marijuana’s potential legality after next year, though. Around the state, folks are banning or campaigning to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. Tvert compared these cities to dry counties vis-à-vis alcohol regulation, backing up the act’s claim that cannabis should (and would) be treated like alcohol. And that’s a fair point: Especially if non-medical cannabis use were legal, local governments should have the final say on whether or not it can be sold. Leave it up to a vote of the people.
But what of the dissenting voices? Do they not get a say? Obviously a state-wide vote on the issue, as many activists hope to see next year, will be the deciding factor. But should we resign ourselves to a well-funded initiative that would limit possession to one ounce? Where are the possession limitations on alcohol? I wrote about this back in late May, when the Legalize 2012 campaign felt jilted over the filing of the Like Alcohol initiative. It seems like no other initiatives are being talked about anymore.
I’m not saying that an ounce of pot isn’t enough for anyone. I can’t think of anyone who would need to have more than an ounce at one time, except maybe a caregiver or a patient with a serious condition–though it’s worth noting that the current law allows for twice that. But is that the final word? If we’re going to treat cannabis like alcohol, why place limitations on possession or production? If government regulations are present, fear of a black market isn’t an issue. And what other reason is there to tell folks they can’t have or make more marijuana?
Not that any of this matters, of course. While the act’s support is growing steadily, no one without bias can guess whether or not the initiative will pass when it comes to vote. (Then again, that may be because so few are unbiased on this issue.) If the medical marijuana bans are any indication, there’s enough support to keep pot illegal for another year. As I wrote a couple weeks ago, the outcome seems to rest largely on the shoulders of the youth vote: an incredibly apathetic demographic.
Hell, even I’m unsure how I’d vote on the Like Alcohol act, and I actually give a shit about this issue.