Supporters Hope Amendment 64, Colorado's Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, Might Increase Safety, Increase Community Trust in Police

Today two national police groups, Blacks in Law Enforcement of America and the National Latino Officers Association endorsed Colorado's November ballot initiative, Amendment 64, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol; joining them are numerous other cops, clergy, judges, politicians, and other seemingly straight-laced folks including the NAACP. (Oddly enough, the Colorado Education Association recently came out in opposition to legalization.)

Amendment 64 is one of three full-legalization pushes for the 2012 election. Oregon and Washington state will also offer initiatives. Colorado's, however, might have the biggest reasons for optimism. Recently The Denver Post reported that support for Amendment 64 has passed 50 percent and is gaining.

Today Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) hosted a conference call with LEAP Executive Director Lt. Neil Franklin, a 34-year veteran of the Baltimore Police department andTony Ryan, a 36-year veteran of the Denver Police Department, now on LEAP's board, along with Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol advocacy director Betty Aldworth. 

Aldworth mentioned that marijuana prohibition leads to the arrest of "about 10 thousand Coloradoans each year, nearly 95 percent for simple possession," and Amendment 64 is looking to turn that around. It would also bring Colorado an estimated $60 million in revenue and savings, according to the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. Ryan talked about his 36 years on the Denver force, mostly on street patrol. "Where marijuana is concerned, the only calls I remember getting for marijuana was because someone was mad at someone and wanted to turn them in for using it," he said. "“Far as I can see, people who use marijuana don’t cause any problems.”

Franklin read statements said earlier today from representatives of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America and the National Latino Officers Association.  Blacks in Law Enforcement of America's Ron Hampton, said:

"Keeping these outdated prohibition laws on the books accomplishes nothing to reduce marijuana use, but it does cause incredible damage to our communities of color. Even though African Americans use marijuana at a rate virtually identical to that of whites, people from our community are arrested, sentenced and jailed at a much higher rate. Passing Amendment 64, while it won't solve all our problems, is a great step toward ensuring equality for all under the law."

The statement from the National Latino Officers Association included a hope for increased cooperation between law enforcement and communities, which Franklin echoed later. NLOA's Anthony Miranda said: 

"Right now, communities of color see the police as aggressors rather than as protectors. People are unwilling to come to us, to give us information, even to report crimes, because they see us as the enemy. When Amendment 64 passes, we’ll be one step closer to rebuilding that community trust that allows us to effectively perform our jobs."

When Reason asked about how Amendment 64 might increase officer and citizen safety, Franklin dropped many topics familiar to regular readers. He also reiterated that the drug war has seriously decreased trust in law enforcement and perhaps for good reason, saying:

"Police are not well respected, and when police are not well respected, you have many opportunities for conflicts between citizens and police. Citizens do not trust police, they do not give them information. In Baltimore they had things like stop snitching campaigns. when we don’t have citizens working with police to get violent criminals off the steet..."

He also mentioned cartels and the violent criminals involved in drug trades. Franklin went on to say that another area where safety will be improved by legalization:

“These dynamic SWAT raids we use on a regular basis, they are very, very dangerous....” “People are getting hurt, innocent people are getting hurt. We are conducting raids on the wrong homes. Even in homes where there might be some illicit activity, marijuana, there is no violence…yet the raid itself is an act of violence."

When asked what backers of Amendment 64 anticipated the Federal response might be if they were successful in November, Aldworth said:

"We anticipate that when Colorado passes amendment 64, the federal government will work with us. The DEA has never made it its business to prosecute or investigate individuals for simple possession of marijuana. We don’t expect that DEA priorities will be shifted."

When pressed as to whether the DEA and/or Department of Justice might go after growers or retailers of marijuana, Aldworth mentioned the 10th amendment, and with some hesitation said “I hope that the federal government finds themselves in a position where they want to work with us on that.”

Reason TV's Nick Gillespie interviewed Franklin back in July 2011

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    "I'd walk a mile for a bowl of Acapulco Gold..."

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Also, Firstieth!! YES!

    /whatever

  • Pro Libertate||

    So, have they arrested that woman on the billboard yet? That's like a giant confession.

  • AlmightyJB||

    What I wanna know is where the farm girl pot video is?

  • SKR||

    She will be suing shortly. She didn't know the photo shoot was for a evil drug campaign. She was provided a different script.

  • R C Dean||

    Treat Pot Like Booze is the only realistic way to get traction on this. I hope the Colorado initiative passes so it can serve as a model.

  • Pro Libertate||

    If the WoD ends, what's next then? Something's next.

  • AlmightyJB||

    WoF. Good by bacon and ice cream.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Maybe that's why Americans are hording fat, in anticipation of the coming war on it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Sorry, hoarding.

  • John Thacker||

    Yes, it's pithy, effective, easy to explain, and can actually persuade.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Voiceover: "Even in homes where there might be some illicit activity, marijuana, there is no violence…yet the raid itself is an act of violence."

    Narrator: The SWATborg became self aware in September, 2012, a time that will live in infamy.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "Police are not well respected, and when police are not well respected, you have many opportunities for conflicts between citizens and police. Citizens do not trust police, they do not give them information"

    Funny, exact same thing happened during alchohol prohibition yet we learned nothing.

    "I hope that the federal government finds themselves in a position where they want to work with us on that"

    LOL

  • AlmightyJB||

    When you have average people who are "looking out for the popo" when they would normally have no other reason to because they obey every other law then that's whats going to happen.

  • ||

    Weed could be legal and I still wouldn't talk to the cops. Just doesn't seem like a good idea.

  • ||

    Man oh man I would love to see the Washington one pass (I'd love to see them all pass, but you know what I mean), even though it's proposing that the state run the MJ stores just like it used to run the liquor stores, using the old liquor store employees/union and network. Fucking scumbag government unions never go away, do they.

  • fried wylie||

    the only calls I remember getting for marijuana was because someone was mad at someone and wanted to turn them in for using it

    Working exactly as intended.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Features, bugs - how do they work?

  • deified||

    You know why I like that lady on the billboard? Because she doesn't look like Peter Tosh or Greg Allman.

    I like my stoners looking like Ward Cleaver or, in this case, the mom from (the original) 90210.

  • Jason S.||

    So, have they arrested that woman on the billboard yet? That's like a giant confession.

    Good observation. Why haven't they arrested her?

    Good for her, though. Maybe if more "normal" people spoke out publicly, it would change drug policy.

    Growing up in a town near the "Emerald Triangle", you'll meet many different types of people who have used cannabis, use it still, grow it and sell it...yet they won't talk about it publicly. Hell, the first time I smoked marijuana, a friend and I found a "roach" that a surgeon left behind at the tennis court.

    Nurses, a realtor, a lumber yard owner, a pediatrician, an assessor, waitresses, chefs, high school teachers, two people who own computer services, a civil engineer, general contractors, psychologists, journalists, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers -- these are folks in the area I've known who lead productive lives, but can't (or won't) speak out. (And that's just for marijuana. The same goes for folks who've used cocaine and even methamphetamine.)

    Hell, a couple folks living three miles down the road, bought land and started a peach orchard w/ money they saved from growing and selling cannabis. They had a respectable organic peach business.

    Whatever. I post anonymously and I don't even smoke pot anymore, so I'm a hypocrite.

    Good luck in the Centennial State. I hope it passes. You can always make it illegal again if it gets out-of-hand, I guess.

  • Robert||

    They haven't arrested her because she's too big y high up.

  • ||

    they haven't arrested her for a # of reasons, primary of which is corpus delicti. admitting that you smoke pot is not probable cause for arrest.

    people here really need to get at least a LITTLE understanding of criminal law. it pays to understand it, so you can better criticize it.

    you can walk into any police station in the country and walk up to the desk officer:

    "i smoke pot everyday. i snort cocaine too"

    can they arrest you? of course not

  • Robert||

    You might as well try arresting some character in a murder mystery on TV.

  • ||

    very cool. these are the faces the legalization movement needs up front. - soccer moms, cops, businessmen, etc.

    there are certainly plenty in that group who have smoked in the past and.or smoke currently.

  • naql||

    I've been smoking it for 30+ years. Two college degrees, started a business, doing well enough thank you. I get frustrated with the emphasis on medical marijuana. The main reason to legalze it is because it's hamless and nobody's frigging busuness what I do. I'm all for decriminalizing it, but unless it is 100% legal to grow your own and smoke it in the privacy of your own home without a bunch of taxation nonsense they can just kiss my ass.

  • Robert||

    I've been smoking it for 30+ years.


    Then you better light it again, nothing burns that slowly.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement