On Thursday the ACLU of Colorado endorsed the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which would legalize the use of marijuana for those 21 years of age and older in the state.

In a statement on the endorsement, the ACLU explained their reasoning:

In Colorado we believe our laws should be practical and they should be fair. Yet we are wasting scarce public resources in our criminal justice system by having police, prosecutors and the courts treat marijuana users like violent criminals. It is unconscionable for our state to spend tax dollars to arrest, prosecute and crowd the courts, and jail people for possession of a small amount of marijuana, especially when those being arrested and jailed are disproportionately people of color.

The war on drugs has failed. Prohibition is not a sensible way to deal with marijuana. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol will move us toward a more rational approach to drug laws.

Much like Prop 19 in CA in 2010, marijuana legalization in Colorado in 2012 is not a forgone conclusion. There will be a long, uphill fight that may depend a lot on who the GOP has on the ballot in the Presidential race.

A Presidential election will bring – in theory – the highest voter turnout. There will be no better test for marijuana law reform in Colorado than 2012. The 420 Times will bring you more details on events in CO as they become available.

Joe Klare

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23 Responses

  1. Charles Queen

    This could work I suppose.I remember back in the very lat 60’s/early 70’s and how everyone tlked about how the tobaco company’s already had everything geared up for when and if they legalized marijuana.Ya,do it like booze.The regular pot would be sold much as ,say some buwieser would be sold,the better grades ould be treated and sold like any top of the line,premium alchol is done now.This I do now though and that is legalizing it for adult use nation wide go’s way,way beyond a person being able to use it legaly.The positive aspects are just way to many to list all of them on here right now but i can say this much,it’s a hell of a lot of them,thats a given

  2. Robert Chase

    At least the ACLU is taking a little more interest in the issue — so far, they have disdained to defend patients’ civil rights under Article XVIII, Section 14 of Colorado’s Constitution. There have been significant violations of Federal civil rights in the Colorado Establishment’s counterevolution against medical cannabis, but (apparently because cannabis is involved) the ACLU turns a blind eye towards them as well. Initiative 30 will leave plenty of scope for defense lawyers to continue to defend people accused of crimes related to cannabis (so I suppose that it is the sort of cannabis-law reform the ACLU can support), but it would reduce overall criminal liability for cannabis. Voters should bear in mind that should multiple reform measures make the ballot, all can be supported — CRS 1-40-123 provides that if initiatives conflict, the one with the most votes prevails on all conflicting particulars. The only other initiative vetted by legislative staff at this point (Initiative 40) would simply end punishment for possession or cultivation of cannabis.

  3. Sanyars

    To this forum audience-

    I know that this comment will be greatly unpopular with those of you who use cannabis but it has to be said. 1. Comparing marijauana with alcohol and nicotine is unhelpful. They are different drugs that affect different areas fo the brain in very different ways. 2. Yes, alcohol and nicotine are dangerous and highly addictive but cannabis has potential to be abused as well. 3. If everybody’s mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt and cousin (all over 21) got legal permission to use cannabis, then every kid would be able to get their hands on it. People would share it with them or they would steal it from them. That level of the black market would still exist. Simple supply and demand. 4. Cannabis abuse and dependence as mental illness are in the DSM IV (Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) for a reason. Simply taking away the legal consequences will not solve all the problems associated with cannabis use. Some people will have problems with it anyway. 5. Some people will use cannabis and drive. That’s a significant problem as well. And there is not any reliable pratical on site tests that an officer can perform to rule it out. Marijuana does affect motor coordination and reaction time of many users. 6. Like it or not, the feds will do everything in their power to trump state leagalization laws if they are enacted. 7. Independent growers who make big profits selling to dispenseries and on the black market do not want pot legalized and regulated. 8. Marijuana does create respiratory complications too. It is a carcinogen and can create cancer with excessive long term use. 9. So, saying pot is harmless and benign is simply a lie. There are significant harms associated with its use. 10. I know it is fun and enjoyable to many and that it has some medical benefits. But those do not eliminate the dangers. There are pros and cons. Please be honest about that.

    • Old Hippie

      If everybody’s mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt and cousin (all over 21) got legal permission to use cannabis, then every kid would be able to get their hands on it. People would share it with them or they would steal it from them. That level of the black market would still exist. Simple supply and demand

      So, just like how there’s a huge black market for alcohol currently…NOT.

      Cannabis abuse and dependence as mental illness are in the DSM IV (Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) for a reason.

      Yes…psychologists and psychologists make a shit-ton of money by counseling people for a virtually non-existent condition. Who do you think made up those criteria?

      The guy who sold me my first nickle bag of weed in 1967 is now a psychiatrist who’s also a “substance abuse specialist”.

  4. sanyars

    By black market I mean specifically that demand for marijauana by youth under 21 would still exist (obviously) and it would be procured by them illegally just as alcohol is. AND cannabis abuse and dependence do exist. Maybe not for you personally, but if you really looked at the data and surveyed a wide population of people like scientists and psychologists do you would quickly see that this is true. Certainly money will be made by professionals charging for services rendered helping those who have a problem with pot or any other drugs. That’s normal and to be expected. To claim that the condition doesn’t exist just because you or the people you associate with don’t have it is a narrow and myopic view. It’s called confirmation bias, where you eliminate all evidence to the contrary of your preferred view and only focus on that which supports it. Yours is not a solid scientific view or critique based on evidence.

  5. TruthB

    Why ACLU? Why now endorse a campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol? I know the ACLU was not there when medical marijuana laws were created that violated the Colorado constitutional amendment. I know the ACLU stepped aside when tobacco was being outlawed in bars.

    Exactly like prop 19 in CA – CO marijuana legalization is all about money, CA voted down prop 19 but big money was spent before that red state realized it was all about taxes. Save time and money CO they don’t mean legalize marijuana, just like Vote Ron Paul 2012 – For Pot, For Peace – For Freedom! Only the Federal government can stop the war on drugs. There is nothing ACLU fair about the CO push for legalizing marijuana. End drug tests! There are pros and cons to sugar or caffeine.
    Sanyars is looking for attention or for help with a HS term paper. Please be honest about that. and that your normal and expected and not solid scientific view based on any data.
    Look it up!

  6. Sanyars

    “The health effects of Marijuana have been widely debated and remain quite controversial, probably due to the inconsistent effects of the drug on the individual user and across different users. For some time Marijuana was considered relatively safe and nonaddictive (Brecher, 1972). Presently, however, it is associated with multiple adverse physical and psychological effects, including labile affect and depression, amotivational syndrome, impaired short-term memory and pulmonary disease (Weiss & Millman, 1991). According to DSM III-R, marijuana dependence is characterized by heavy use of the drug (e.g. daily) with substantial impairment. Marijuana dependence also puts one at risk for other psychological problems, as those who are dependent on cannabis are also likely polysubstance abusers or afflicted with other psychiatric disorders (APA, 1987; Weiss & Millman, 1991).” Excerpted from: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Substance Use Disorders, Aaron Beck, et al.

  7. Sanyars

    Dear TruthB-

    I know why you and others turn to Marijuana despite the fact that it carries with it a number of negative outcomes; legal, social, familial, mental, psychological, and so on… You use this drug because of the dysfunctional ideas you have about it. These are: 1) the belief that you need Marijuana to maintain psychological and emotional balance, 2) your expectation that Marijuana will improve your social and/or intellectual functioning, 3) your expectation that you will find pleasure or excitement from using Marijuana, 4) your belief that Marijuana will give you increased power and energy (and relaxation), 5) your expectation that Marijuana will give you a soothing effect, 6) your assumption that Marijuana will relieve your boredom, anxiety, tension and depression, and 7) your conviction that unless something is done to satisfy yur craving or to neutralize your distress, it will continue indefinitely or get worse. When you add in your risk taking behaviors, your justification and rationalization as well as your sense of entitlement it pretty well wraps it up here for all to see. These previous ideas are of course based on faulty logic and are of course false. But you can believe whatever you want to, it’s your life after all. Also, please write in complete sentences so I can respond to your point of view. The last part of your post made no sense whatsoever. Were you stoned when you wrote it?

    • Old Hippie

      Funny, Sanyars, you make a lot of claims and yet have nothing to back them up with…other than your statement that the “ideas are of course based on faulty logic and are of course false”.

      Just stating your opinions doesn’t make them facts, even if you say “of course” a dozen times. Or were you drunk when you wrote that?

  8. Sanyars

    Old hippie-

    The facts speak for themselves and I have layed out plenty of clear factual information. The fact that you cannot recognize it, face it and come to terms with it is your problem, not mine.

    If you want to burn the rest of your life away getting stoned and stupid and being an idiot, then go right ahead. Someday you will look back and regret it.

    You are a drug addict plain and simple. You can’t really be proud of that, can you?

  9. Sanyars

    Old Hippie-

    First of all I would like to apologize for insulting you and putting you down. That is disrespectful and uncalled for. You deserve to be treated with dignity just like I do. Please accept my apology herein. We obviously disagree on this issue and that’s okay. You have your values and I have mine. I am disappointed though that you simply dismiss everything I have posted as not being factual because in your words there’s no evidence to support it. I have met and seen many drug addicts who are slaves to Marijuana use. Everything I have posted is blatantly obvious as true in regards to their thinking, emotions, and behaviors. You may not have a problem with your pot use. But that does not negate that others do. If you cannnot see this for yourself and refuse to acknowledge it then no amount of information giving or debate will convince you otherwise. I recognize this. If pot is an acceptable and helpful part of your life I hope for your sake that it stays that way. In the future it would be helpful if you would at least consider other points of view besides your own. Clearly you are totally invested in your lifestyle and not willing to look at how pot can be problematic. That is your bias. It would also be helpful if you did not generalize your point of view for all people and all pot use because in that you fail in your argument since every person is unique and many are abusing and dependent upon Marijuana whether you admit that or not. I wish you well old hippie.

  10. Old Hippie

    Sanyars, you clearly have me confused with a recreational cannabis user. I am a Medical Marijuana patient and I do not do this just for funsies.

    Despite your earlier hateful rant against me, which I thank you for apologizing about, my point is simply that you keep using the same old tired and DISPROVED arguments that the US government has been pushing (and I use that word deliberately) for 75 years. The fact that you keep talking about “drug addicts” shows that you have a rather extreme point of view yourself…even the Feds no longer make that silly claim about marijuana any more.

    When I talk about “claims and facts to back them up”, I’m talking about things like this, with 4 dozen footnotes:


    Read and learn. There is a huge difference, in both dosage and effects, between using cannabis for legitimate medical reasons and using it to get stoned out of your mind every day.

  11. Sanyars

    Old Hippie-

    I absolutely agree with you about medical marijuana use! I am for that entirely actually. I recognize that Marijuana does have medical benefits and that should be allowed to help people who are suffering. I just never said that in my previous posts, so please give me a break on this. The fact that you are a medical patient only helps me to understand you better. So thank you for clarifying your position. I will look at your link and read about what is there. I was sincere with my apology and wish I did not post a “hateful rant” as you put it. But I cannnot change that now. There definitely needs to be more compassion and understanding all the way around. I grieve the results of federal laws trumping state laws about medical use of cannabis. I know this is very upsetting and hurtful to many afficted people. I wish it were not happening. Maybe Ron Paul will get elected and make some positive changes… I support him. Lastly, I just want those individuals who do have a problem with Marijuana addiction to get the help they need.

    • Old Hippie

      Hi Sanyars,

      Thanks for your clarification too! It sounds like we have only one point of disagreement, and that is about the term “marijuana addiction”. I will follow up your other comment with some observations of my own, but please see my essay on “warping reality” here to understand why I have such a bad reaction to that term.

  12. Sanyars

    Old hippie-

    Since you let me in on your personal information I will do the same in return. Between the ages of 16 and 20 I used pot recreationally. However, I eventually abused it during that time and became dependent on it at the end of that period. Also all my friends and associates were doing the same thing. We did it constantly. We had to have it all the time. It definitely interferred with our lives because it became the center of our lives. I got clean from it at 20 and never went back. I haven’t done pot for the last 20 years. So I know it can be problematic for some and those individuals can and do become addicts.

    • Old Hippie

      Hi Sanyars,

      Thanks for the revelation. This definitely makes things clearer!

      I, too, was a regular recreational user at that age, and I also remember doing the same thing. It felt so good to be high that you wanted to be high all the time. You couldn’t imagine doing anything important unless you were high. Sound familiar?

      But I also remember the same thing about sex. Once I discovered it, I didn’t want to be without it. I couldn’t imagine having a relationship with a girl without it. Sometimes, lying in bed and doing it was all I wanted to do…for days!

      Then I discovered foreign films. I would spend all my spare time at the hipster movie theaters that showed them. I dreamed about them constantly and made them the center of my life. I went to Italy and watched Fellini on the set. I wanted to be a movie director. I even changed my life and college program to make this happen.

      None of these things are physically addictive. They’re just pleasurable. And for an adolescent or young adult discovering the many and varied pleasures of life, it’s hard to get enough of them, especially if your peer group gives you a great deal of support and encouragement about continuing.

      There’s a big difference between a literally addicting drug like heroin or alcohol or Oxycontin…and marijuana. Marijuana is said to be “psychologically addicting”, but that’s only because psychologists came up with that term so they’d have a new income stream. They’ll also treat you for sex addiction, internet addiction, and possibly even foreign film addiction. But it’s not the particular drug or activity that’s forcing you to feel that way, it’s your own immature desire to have the fun thing continue. Most people can deal with it, but about 10 to 15% of people seem to have problems and let it take over their entire lives, no matter what “it” is. It’s their own personality and willpower that’s causing the problem, but it’s also difficult psychologically to admit this (due to the ego and self-esteem factor), so it’s easier to say “I’m addicted! It’s not my fault!” And society, in the form of media articles and the ever-present professional addiction counselors, is happy to agree with you.

  13. Sanyars

    Old Hippie-

    I do see a clear and marked difference between alcohol/heroin/oxycontin and Marijuana. I agree that Marijuana is not addictive in the same way. I don’t think there is a physiological dependence at least not in the way that those other drugs have. But it is psychologically addictive and there are withdrawal symptoms too. I appreciate you sharing more of your perspective in the way of your life. Pleasure pathways in the brain are activated by Marijuana use and those synaptic connections become stronger over time with repeated use. A person who uses Marijuana to cope and deal with stress, fears, anxiety, or facing life on life’s terms can become habituated to depending on pot as a crutch to perform their everyday functions and may come to believe that they cannot function without it. Then a person’s life becomes dysfunctional and maladaptive as the lives of me and my peers did. Life becomes inauthentic and diingenuous because the person (addict) has become a product of the drug’s constant effects. It is a miserable life of slavery. I know. I was there once. I had to cycle off of it, break the habit and learn to live without it. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.

    • Old Hippie

      I do sympathize that you had a habit and it was hard to break. There are definitely people like yourself who have had these genuine problems. But I suspect you didn’t need medical attention because of your withdrawal symptoms, either. That’s what I was talking about with your phrase “marijuana addiction”, because people read that and just assume that marijuana is like heroin in that regard.

      I appreciate your honesty and sincerity, believe me.

  14. Sanyars

    Old Hippie-

    PS: I never once said that I was not at fault for my cannabis abuse or dependence. It was my fault because it was always my choice to use the drug -and I did so. So, I never passed off that responsibility onto anyone or anything else. As such, I took full responsibility for my recovery as well. I don’t regret having quit using Marijuana. I am glad I did. It set me free actually.

    • Old Hippie

      No, I didn’t mean you and sorry if you took it that way. But there are lots of people who blame the drug as a third party: “I was drunk”…so, who poured that liquor into your mouth?

      I’m glad you quit too. It’s not for everyone, even medically. But it can definitely help people, and it has helped a lot of people who never use it to get high, and so never run into the problems that you had. Spreading that message is really why I’m here.

  15. Sanyars

    Old Hippie-

    No, I never needed medical attention for withdrawal from Marijuana because it’s relatively minor for many people. It can be problematic for some though. It’s just obviously not a ife threatening condition like severe alcohol withdrawal can be. Heroin withdrawal is not life threatening either actually. It’s just really unpleasant. For the record, I’d like to add that any real, genuine, credible addiction counselor would not accept an addict saying that they are not to blame for their condition. Blame isn’t really the right word here. But accountability and responsibility are. Any counselor worth their salt would move the client in that direction to help them gain insight into how their own choices and behaviors have caused their problems with substances. It’s not something that can be forced. The client has to be ready to accept culpability. Some never do. Hollywood is famous for deflecting responsibility and excusing all kinds of dysfunctional and abusive behavior due to fame and celebrity. It sells. Sad but true. Lindsay Lohan is an obvious example of priviledge due to special status. She still makes tons of cash from those who will exploit her and she is happy to go along with it. There have been countless others and many who have left us because of their drug abuse and addiction. I don’t equate Marijuana addiction with heroin addiction at all. They are totally different drugs with different profiles and effects. But the existence of a dependence is a paralell between them. Not the same quality and intensity of dependence mind you but both types of abusors can be hooked.

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