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Daily Times-Call Election Editorials

Publish Date: 10/6/2006

Keep marijuana illegal; cast ballot against 44

Amendment 44 presents a problem that its supporters cannot solve: If possessing up to an ounce of marijuana is legal for residents 21 and older, where will those marijuana users get their supply?

In the economy of illegal drugs, demand for legal 1-ounce increments of marijuana will require the services of the suppliers, who have operated and would continue to operate outside the law, even under Amendment 44.

Thatís just the beginning of the conundrums that riddle this poorly worded amendment to Colorado statutes. Its defenders defy logic.

They claim that passing an ounce of marijuana to someone younger than 18 still would be illegal as contributing to the delinquency of a minor. True. But they fail to mention that a 21-year-old could legally pass an ounce of marijuana to a 20-year-old, a 19-year-old or an 18-year-old, who very likely would still be in high school.

While proponents and opponents differ on just how much an ounce of marijuana is, it is clear that an ounce of marijuana can make at least 30 joints, and thatís low by National Organization of Marijuana Laws standards.

It could be as high as 60.

So if Amendment 44 passes, it could be legal to pass up to 60 joints to an 18-year-old.

Further, supporters fail to mention that marijuana legalization has failed in at least one other state: Alaska.

There, possession of up to 4 ounces of marijuana was made legal in 1975. A 1988 University of Alaska study found that teenagers in Alaska used marijuana at more than twice the national average. Alaskans re-criminalized the drug in 1990.

Finally, Amendment 44 backers make bizarre comparisons between their drug of choice and alcohol and fast food. Theyíre all bad for you. In fact, they say, alcohol is worse, so why not legalize a more mellow drug so that alcoholics can have a safer alternative?

Get real. If they are that concerned about the effects of alcoholism, Amendment 44 backers should put their money into combating alcoholism, not offering yet another intoxicating substance to the public.

Amendment 44 is not about making society safer; itís a twisted effort to weaken Colorado law.

What were they smoking? We already know. Vote against 44.

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