Lawmen oppose marijuana proposal
A day after more than 300 doctors came out in support of the ballot measure to legalize marijuana, a large group of law enforcement officials came out against it.
Those law enforcement officials, including Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey, said Wednesday that legalizing marijuana as Amendment 64 would do could cause far more problems than it’s worth.
“Anytime you normalize a behavior, it’s going to happen more often,” Hilkey said. “If it’s occurring more often, there’s going to be more people using it, and the more people who use it, a percentage of them are not going to use it responsibility.
“And those people who are not using it responsibly are going to get into a cycle of addiction and a cycle of behavior that goes to supporting their addiction, and that grows into something else. It happens all the time.”
Proponents of the measure, which is designed to regulate marijuana the same way alcohol is controlled, say legalizing it would reduce crime and reduce people’s access to other, harder drugs.
But Hilkey said there’s no evidence of that.
In fact, the evidence indicates the opposite happens.
“They say our prisons are full of (marijuana criminals). That’s not true,” Hilkey said. “At best you get a ticket. The people that are in prison, there’s less than 1 percent who are there on a marijuana charge, and that marijuana charge is a big marijuana charge.”
Mason Tvert, head of the effort to get the measure passed by voters on Nov. 6, said not all law enforcement officials agree.
Last month, the National Latino Officers Association and Blacks in Law Enforcement of America endorsed the measure, along with a number of individual police officers, judges and prosecutors.
Lauren Davis, former senior deputy district attorney in Denver, said Wednesday’s opposition of the measure by a coalition of sheriffs, police chiefs and district attorneys will only serve criminals.
“The goal of Amendment 64 is to eliminate the underground market by having marijuana sales conducted by taxed and regulated Colorado businesses,” Davis said. “By opposing this measure, these law enforcement officials are fighting to keep marijuana sales in the hands of gangs and cartels.”
The measure calls for liquor store-like stores to open to sell the weed, but only in jurisdictions that approve them.
The measure also calls for a portion of tax money collected from those sales to go toward school construction.