If you’ve been following the battle among legalization advocates in Colorado as we’ve been covering it throughout the day, we told you we were in contact with the organizations that filed the legalization initiatives in Colorado for their responses, and SAFER’s Mason Tvert was the first to get back to us.

“We tried to include CTI and Legalize 2012 in the drafting process, and asked them to provide suggestions and proposed changes,” Mason told me. ” It’s a shame they did not do so and instead spent a week complaining about not being included.

“It’s exceptionally disingenuous for this group to be calling this initiative a carpetbagging effort, when in fact the organizations behind it represent tens of thousands or more Colorado marijuana reform supporters.

“It’s always easier to tear things down then it is to build them up.  Unfortunately, these folks have opted to dedicate their time to attacking other reformers and fracturing this movement, as opposed to contributing to achieving our shared goal of ending marijuana prohibition.”

It seems things are just heating up. We will bring you all the developments on this story as they become available.

13 Responses

  1. myagent2000

    Don’t know the parties, but I would suspect some anti-weed ppl trying to torpedo effort by posing as pro- then infighting. Legalize weed and elect GARY JOHNSON prez.

  2. Michelle LaMay, Chair

    Hi Michelle,

    First and foremost, it was great seeing you at the tea last week. It’s been a while since we last saw one another.

    I just wanted to reply to your e-mail quickly with a couple important comments and corrections. I apologize for the lengthiness of my response, but as you seem to agree, this is a very important issue. Thus I feel it is very important to have an in-depth discussion about it.

    1) At 18 you can kill for your country; vote; and are emancipated. I believe an 18 year-old must take responsibility for their own mental and physical health.

    This is absolutely right on and I agree completely, hence my very public support for lowering the drinking age to 18 (an effort that has picked up quite a bit in the past few years). I have no doubt that most in the reform community would also agree. That said — and I’ll get into this further down — there are several very critical reasons why 21 is used as the age when it comes to ballot measures and other reform efforts.

    2) These registered voters would be eliminated during the petition process on every campus in Colorado: not only eliminating legal signature drives but the petition drive would suffer the real loss of the enthusiasm and support of Colorado’s young student activists volunteers to get an initiative on the ballot.

    This is absolutely not the case. Whether the proposed age limit is 18 or 21, EVERY registered voter, whether they’re 18-20, 21, or older is able to sign a ballot initiative petition. In fact, history has shown that the 18-20 age group is most excited to sign, regardless of whether the initiative is specific to 21 and older (as it was here in CO in 2006, during which time we had massive support from 18-20 year olds). Spreading the message that any group of registered voters cannot sign a petition is very problematic and counterproductive, so I hope this is something that could be corrected or at least no longer spread to the potential universe of petition signers.

    3) To eliminate this age group would create a special class of criminals whose only crime is choosing marijuana, hopefully over alcohol, and thus to be discriminated against for being the wrong age.

    Actually, it wouldn’t create any new or special class of criminals, as it is already a crime for 18-20-year-olds to possess and use marijuana. However, it will remove everyone 21 and older from the special class of criminals that stems from marijuana prohibition. Moreover, it is highly likely that once marijuana is legal for adults, infractions by those 18-20 will no longer result in such harsh punishments and will instead be similar to the slap on the wrist issued for drinking underage.

    4) If the intent of any ballot initiative is to change Article XVIII of the Colorado Constitution from 18 to the age of 21 to gain protection from prosecution of possession of medical marijuana, it is a step BACKWARDS and this age group will not forget, can and will organize to defeat any initiative put forth that would eliminate them and criminalize them in particular.

    I cannot speak for anyone else, but our current 2012 initiative coalition will not be addressing or amending Article XVIII (or were you referring to Amendment XX, regarding medical marijuana?). Either way, the proposed initiative will not have ANY effect on Amendment 20 or medical marijuana laws and protections, including anything that pertains to 18-20-year-olds.

    Just to be clear, the initiative we are proposing (and hope you will support) does NOT lock in a 21 age limit forever. The legal age could be lowered by the legislature or a ballot initiative in the future, once the system is in place and people are comfortable with it. The fact remains, however, that any initiative that sets 18 as the age limit will be destroyed on Election Day. It will without a doubt result in less than 30% in support, as opposed to 50+% who currently support a limit of 21. If we truly want to protect 18-20-year-olds, we should be taking the steps necessary to reduce the harm done to them both now and in the future. Killing an initiative will simply result in those 18-20-year-olds continuing to face harsher punishments than if a measure passes. And it will result in them getting busted once they turn 21, not to mention their family members, friends, etc. continuing to get busted. If we want to ever see an age limit of 18, we must first end prohibition for those 21 and older. Otherwise, it will be another 25+ years (if ever) until we see any changes.

    Again, I completely hear you on this issue, and if it were at all possible, I’d absolutely love to set the limit at 18. But doing so will simply result in marijuana prohibition continuing for everyone for a very long time.

    Thank you for bringing up this important subject. It is one worthy of discussion, and it’s my sincere hope that we can have this discussion openly amongst the community so that other reform supporters develop an understanding of the proposed 21 age limit and how it is the quickest way to reach our shared goal of broader freedom for all adults, 18 and older.

    Please do not hesitate to drop me a line if you’d ever like to talk about this or any other issue. You can reach me any time at the number below.

    All my best,

    Mason

    Mason Tvert
    Executive Director
    SAFER Voter Education Fund
    P.O. Box 40332, Denver, CO 80204
    phone: 303-861-0033 ⎮ fax: 303-861-0915
    mason@saferchoice.orghttp://www.saferchoice.org

    On May 9, 2011, at 5:48 PM, Cannabis University wrote:

    Dear fellow marijuana activists:
    I personally have made the decision to be a voice for 18, 19 and 20 year-old voters/marijuana users in upcoming discussions about ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana in 2012, of which there already several camps, because:
    1) At 18 you can kill for your country; vote; and are emancipated. I believe an 18 year-old must take responsibility for their own mental and physical health.
    2) These registered voters would be eliminated during the petition process on every campus in Colorado: not only eliminating legal signature drives but the petition drive would suffer the real loss of the enthusiasm and support of Colorado’s young student activists volunteers to get an initiative on the ballot.
    3) To eliminate this age group would create a special class of criminals whose only crime is choosing marijuana, hopefully over alcohol, and thus to be discriminated against for being the wrong age.
    4) If the intent of any ballot initiative is to change Article XVIII of the Colorado Constitution from 18 to the age of 21 to gain protection from prosecution of possession of medical marijuana, it is a step BACKWARDS and this age group will not forget, can and will organize to defeat any initiative put forth that would eliminate them and criminalize them in particular.
    I insist that the age for possession of all quantities of cannabis be 18. 303-886-7998

  3. Windy

    myagent2000
    Don’t know the parties, but I would suspect some anti-weed ppl trying to torpedo effort by posing as pro- then infighting. Legalize weed and elect RON PAUL prez.

    FIFY

  4. Kathleen Chippi

    @Mason–WOW! after talking to you this weekend and then jumping online now to read your responses–all I can say is that you are full of BS—legalize 2012 will be posting your emails to prove you are full of SHIT—anyone that reads see’s whats going on here.

    All Coloradans need to know is:

    NOT ONE person got to review the out of state language on 8 initiatives BEFORE they were ‘quietly’ filed.

    Your out of state funded language brings the DUI-M into the Colorado constitution–After citizens just spent 5 months fighting to kill it in the legislature and winning.

    It’s no wonder NORML supported the 5 nano limit in the legislature–they needed it for your initiative language, which says “under the influence”.

  5. Kathleen Chippi

    Legalize 2012 Reply to the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER alliance

    May 23, 2011

    The MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER alliance has lost the trust of everyone in Colorado by making a unilateral decision to file 8 ballot initiatives without letting anyone in the state outside of their small group read or comment on them.

    Mason Tvert of SAFER sent Legalize 2012 a draft of one of the initiatives on 5/12. He never indicated that he was on the verge of filing on 5/19.

    Legalize 2012 invited the MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER alliance to participate, in good faith, in a community policy debate on June 22 so that we could try to find some common ground among all the groups that have ideas for the 2012 ballot and bring unity and focus to the Colorado cannabis movement.

    Mason sent Legalize2012 a letter on May 16, 2011 that stated, “I can’t stop thinking about how exciting and impactful it would be if we were able to join forces and move forward together. It would be such a huge catalyst for the movement, and we could really make things happen.”

    He gave no indication that they were on the verge of filing. Mason gave no deadline for comments.

    Mason sent Legalize2012 a list of people who had read their initiative language prior to May 12 when we received it. The list was quite lengthy, and when Legalize2012 complained, jokingly, that we were the last ones in the state to see it, Mason wrote to Legalize2012 on May 17: “You made it relatively clear quite a long time ago that you were not interested in working together and would be working on your own initiative.”

    Legalize 2012 responded, “I am really getting tired of how you are spreading misinformation about our campaign. We never said we didn’t want to work with you. You were one of the first people I told about our Legalize2012 campaign last May 2010, -well before- you ever said you were working on an initiative of your own. In November 2010, you complained again that we never asked you to help with our initiative, so I sent you a personal email on Nov. 5, 2010 that said, ‘I am eternally sorry that my invitation to work with us a few months ago wasn’t more meaningful to you.’ And I included a more formal invitation to help on our campaign. For you to now say that we made it ‘clear’ that we ‘were not interested in working with you’ is a lie.”

    When Mason writes, “these folks have opted to dedicate their time to attacking other reformers and fracturing this movement”, it is clear that he knows this is untrue. Members of the Legalize2012 coalition have been very busy down at the Capitol testifying against several anti-marijuana bills during the legislative session, from January to May 11. The Sensible/SAFER alliance barely helped at all, aside from sending one or two emails on these bills the whole session. Neither Mason Tvert nor Brian Vicente showed up down at the Capitol to testify against any of these laws. In fact, Brian Vicente told everyone who asked that he was “not working on medical marijuana anymore.”

    So, instead of working together with the rest of the state, MPP/DPA/Sensible/SAFER chose to file 8 ballot initiatives unilaterally without showing them to anyone outside their small group. This shows extreme bad faith on their part, and will make it very hard for anyone to trust them on any level about anything ever again.

    Read the full story here about how this is an intentional nationwide strategy by MPP/DPA/Soros to divide and demoralize the grassroots by spreading lies and misinformation:
    “Can we win the war without the troops? An Analysis of the Americans for Medical Rights Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative Strategies in the 1998 General Election”
    http://www.levellers.org/inits98anal.htm

    MORE MISINFORMATION FROM THE ABOVE ARTICLE
    Legalize2012 never used the name “carpetbaggers”.

    Contact these people and ask them to stop spreading misinformation about local reform groups:

    Click here for more info:
    http://www.Legalize2012.com

  6. John

    I am sorry to say this and i am sure people will disagree but 18 years and over will not fly. And i am not willing to sacrifice my chance of finally getting legal for some 18 year old kid who like alcohol can just wait a few more years. We as a people are ok with 21 for alcohol, why not cannabis???

  7. Shan

    is this going to harm mmj patients under the age of 18 or 21 in anyway? What are you doing to help the children who realy need mmj?

  8. Chaz Moore

    @Chippi – Gee your on another board publicly attacking people you disagree with. Really, this is getting old – you’ve been doing this for over a year now.

    Please learn some civility, or leave.

  9. Cat

    What I want to know- Is there a solution to this problem? Will we be able to unite to fight for a righteous cause that affects every major issue at hand?

  10. bill smith

    wht are you doing for us kids.. who is look out for me and my under age mmj patients is this going to hurt us??

    the real chaz moore aka bill smith

  11. pierFunk

    Seems like egos and ignorance prevail again. Starting to sound a lot like what happened to prop 19. Was going great and building steam then WHAMMO! advocates create the arguments against legalization. Three years? Really? Sounds like Legalize 2012 is a bunch of college kids with a chip. Was excited, but this pretty much killed the campaign. Great job Legalize 2012 for your public hissy fit.

  12. Sam

    People forget that politics is about forming alliances, not in attacking your friends. Seems like both sides of this little flame war would have been well served to have remembered this. Nice to know our legalization efforts are in the hands of such amateurs.

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