Colorado Cannabis Ballot Initiatives
As you know, there are at least two separate campaigns to change
marijuana laws in Colorado through ballot initiatives for the November
2012 election. The first campaign to file its initiative is Initiative
#30. Init. 30 is supported by the Marijuana Policy Project, Drug
Policy Alliance, Sensible, and SAFER and is a "Marijuana Regulation
Initiative". Our ballot initiative is the "Cannabis Re-Legalization
Act" and represents true legalization.
Having two cannabis campaigns in Colorado has the potential to
either confuse voters or to educate them, so it's important to discuss
using accurate terminology early in these campaigns. Below are a
few suggestions for future reporting about Initiative 30 MPP/SAFER/DPA/Sensible
ballot initiative proposed for the Colorado ballot. It is important
to get the wording correct when referring to their initiative, as
not to confuse voters. This is going to be a long campaign, so we
appreciate all your efforts to make sure the public has the most
accurate information about both campaigns. Please let us know if
we can clarify any of this further.
What is the official name of the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative?
Officially, in the language of the initiative, the amendment is
called "Section 16. Personal Use and Regulation of Marijuana".
For ballot tracking purposes, the Secretary of State has given it
the number "Initiative 30".
It is inaccurate to call the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative
"Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012". These words
do *not* appear in the language of the actual ballot initiative.
If the authors intended to use the name "Regulate Marijuana
Like Alcohol Act", they should have added it to the language
of their initiative, right after the words "Section 16".
Common practice in writing initiatives is to give the law a "short
title", so that it is easier to refer to:
The same MPP drafters made this same mistake when they wrote what
is commonly referred to as "Amendment 20," Colorado's
medical marijuana law. "Amendment 20" was the number given
the initiative when it was on the ballot in 2000. After it passed,
it was no longer accurate to call it "Amendment 20".
Since the MPP drafters failed to give "Amendment 20"
a short title in the language, we are now and forever hereafter
forced to refer to it as "Article XVIII, Section 14 of the
Colo. Constitution" or "Section 14. Medical use of marijuana
for persons suffering from debilitating medical conditions."
These are both cumbersome ways to refer to it, but they are the
only accurate ways, because of the lack of an official act name
or short title in the actual law.
If the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative is enacted, it must to
be referred to as "Section 16. Personal Use and Regulation
of Marijuana" or "Article XVIII, Section 16 of the Colo.
Constitution". Since the phrase "Regulate Marijuana Like
Alcohol Act of 2012" does not appear anywhere in the
actual language of the law, and only in the proponents' marketing
material, and since it will never be referred to it as that if it
is enacted, we ask that reporters refrain from using this inaccurate
phrase that will confuse voters.
Why is the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative not legalization?
It is inaccurate to call the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative "legalization"
because they themselves fought to have that word removed from the
ballot title, so not to confuse voters. We ask that reporters refrain
from using the term "legalization" to refer to the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER
initiative, as the proponents themselves have said clearly that
their initiative is NOT legalization. Since Legalize 2012 is working
on a "true legalization" ballot initiative for 2012, the
MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER proponents agreed Legalize 2012.com should
to "own that term". See quotes from the Title Board hearing
on June 15, 2011:
Why is the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative not like alcohol?
The MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER proponents argued successfully on July
6 to have the words "similar to alcohol" removed from
the ballot title because it would be misleading to voters. Given
this, their continued use of the phrase in their marketing material
is disingenuous and should not be
repeated by the media. We ask that reporters refrain from using
this inaccurate phrase that will confuse voters.
Why is the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative is like medical
It is clearly the intent of the proponents to regulate marijuana
like medical marijuana, not alcohol. The initiative gives all the
power over marijuana to the Department of Revenue, just like medical
marijuana, and gives preferential treatment to medical marijuana
licensees, not liquor stores. The proponents have said repeatedly
that they intend to use the medical marijuana regulatory system
because it is "already set up."
What can we call the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER initiative?
Unfortunately, the only accurate way to refer to the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER
initiative is this:
"Article XVIII, Section 16 of the Colorado Constitution, the
Personal Use and Regulation of Marijuana Act."
However, to make it simpler for the press, Legalize 2012 will not
object if reporters use the phrase "Marijuana Regulation Initiative"
to refer to Initiative 30.
What is the Legalize 2012 Initiative?
In contrast, the Legalize 2012 campaign will start by abolishing
all criminal penalties for cannabis in Colorado. Our initiative
is called the "Cannabis Re-legalization Act of 2012".
Our language was written by a large coalition of people from across
CANNABIS Vs. MARIJUANA
The Legalize 2012 ballot initiative will use the word "cannabis"
and not "marijuana". "Marijuana" is a racist
term invented during the 1920s "Reefer Madness" campaign
to make people believe that it was some new drug that Mexicans were
using and going out and raping white women. No one knew that "marijuana"
was really "cannabis", a drug that had been in the US
pharmacopeia until 1943. The MPP Sentencing Reform Initiative uses
the term "marijuana". The Legalize 2012 initiative will
not use that word, and would like to encourage reporters to use
the accurate historical and scientific term for the plant: Cannabis.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
This educational information has been provided by:
"Take the Greed Out of the Weed"