Moffat County law enforcement officials: No on Amendment 64

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To the editor:

We are law enforcement leaders in Moffat, Routt and Grand counties, and we wanted to express our concerns about Amendment 64, the effort to legalize “recreational” use of marijuana in Colorado.

First, we are concerned about any steps that might increase use of marijuana among children. Studies indicate that increased availability and increased perceptions of acceptability will increase underage use of marijuana, which already accounts for 67 percent of teenage substance abuse treatment in America.

The evidence is also compelling to us that marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to use and abuse of even more dangerous drugs like heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine. Because of the permanent, lifelong debilitating effects of marijuana on young people, we are gravely troubled about Amendment 64’s potential long term harm to our community’s youth.

Second, the argument that the government should tax marijuana like alcohol and tobacco, and use those tax revenues to address the potential impacts, totally overlooks how little tax revenue is actually collected compared to the social costs of alcohol and tobacco use.

In the US, the estimates are that communities spend $185 billion to address alcohol use but collect only $14.5 billion in tax revenues, or less than ten percent. Costs of tobacco use are estimated at $200 billion, yet we collect only $25 billion in tax revenues or about 12 percent.

Consequently, we are concerned about the increased costs our community will be asked to bear from legalized marijuana, such as increases in drug-impaired driving, on top of the social costs we already carry from alcohol and tobacco use.

Third, it has taken our state government several years to begin to regulate medical marijuana and we are concerned that even now, enforcement resources for medical marijuana are insufficient. As a result, we are concerned that the time that it would take state authorities to build the structure to regulate a legalized marijuana industry will allow drug cartels and other criminal organizations to continue their penetration of that industry in Colorado.

Significant evidence exists that these organizations use the medical marijuana umbrella to grow and ship marijuana to other states where it remains illegal. We are gravely concerned that Amendment 64 will even further open the opportunities for these illegal organizations to burrow into Colorado and use their bases here to expand illegal marijuana use across the country.

We do not want marijuana to be what Colorado is best known for in America.

Some have argued that enforcement resources should not be directed to simple marijuana possession. We can assure you that our drug enforcement efforts focus on the most dangerous drugs in our communities — methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine — and not simple marijuana possession, which is a petty offense in Colorado.

As law enforcement leaders who have devoted their lives to the safety of our wonderful community in Northwestern Colorado, we urge you to give careful consideration to Amendment 64 and to visit www.votenoon64.com for further information.

Ultimately, we ask you to vote “no” on Amendment 64.

Brett Barkey

District Attorney

Sheriff Tim Jantz

Moffat County

Sheriff Garrett Wiggins

Routt County

Sheriff Rodney Johnson

Grand County

Chief Walter Vanatta

Craig Police Department

Chief Gordon Booco

Hayden Police Department

Chief Joel Rae

Steamboat Springs Police Department

Chief William Housley

Granby Police Department

Officer Ed Corriveau

Oak Creek Police Department

Officer Bobby Rauch

Oak Creek Police Department

Comments

wm97 1 year, 10 months ago

Why was marijuana outlawed in the first place?

Marijuana was originally outlawed for two major reasons. The first was because "All Mexicans are crazy and marijuana is what makes them crazy." The second was the fear that heroin addiction would lead to the use of marijuana - exactly the opposite of the modern "gateway" idea.

Only one medical doctor testified at the hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. The representative of the American Medical Association said there was no evidence that mj was a dangerous drug, and no reason for the law. He pointed out that it was used in hundreds of common medicines with no significant problems. In response, the committee told him that, if he wasn't going to cooperate, he should shut up and leave.

The only other "expert" to testify was James C. Munch, a psychologist. His sole claim to fame was that he had done an experiment where he had injected mj directly into the brains of 300 dogs, and two of them died. When they asked him what he concluded from this, he said he didn't know what to conclude because he wasn't a dog psychologist. He also testified in court, under oath, that mj would make your fangs grow six inches long and drip with blood. He went on to say that, when he tried it, it turned him into a bat. He then described how he flew around the room for two hours and found himself at the bottom of a 200-foot-high inkwell.

Mr. Munch was the only "expert" in the US who thought marijuana should be illegal, so he was appointed US Official Expert on marijuana, where he served -- and guided policy -- for 25 years.

If you read the transcripts of the hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act you will find that the most common question is "What is this stuff?" It was the cannabis plant -- common hemp that had been grown throughout the US since colonial days. Even the hemp farmers who grew it were surprised to hear that a dangerous drug could be made from the plant.

Shortly after the law was passed, Harry Anslinger, then head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and promoter of the MTA, walked out on a bridge over the Potomac River. He saw before him a field of cannabis that stretched as far as the eye could see. He said he knew then that the law was completely unenforceable. Therefore, he reasoned, the only possible hope was to wage a campaign of such stupendous lies that people would be scared to even touch it.

The laws were absolute lunacy, passed by lunatics, from the very beginning.

For reference, see the short history of the marijuana laws at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/whiteb1.htm See also the complete transcripts of the hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/taxact/taxact.htm See also, the other histories and historical documents at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/history.htm

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wm97 1 year, 10 months ago

A question for the people on this list:

Can you name any significant study of the drug laws in the last 100 years that supports marijuana prohibition?

I have asked this question of every US Drug Czar since William Bennett (under Reagan). I got a personal reply from each. Not one of them could name any significant study of the drug laws that supported marijuana prohibition. In fact, it was quite apparent that they had not read any of the major commission reports.

In 1973, President Nixon's US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse completed the largest study of the drug laws ever done. At the end of their study, they said the real drug problem was not marijuana, or heroin, or cocaine. The real drug problem, they said, was the ignorance of our public officials who have never bothered to read the most basic research.

These public officials prove that what they said is still true. The full text of every major government commission on drugs from around the world over the last 100 years can be found at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer under Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy.

I will bet that not one of these public officials have ever read any of them. I will bet that, even though they are posted online, they will never read them. If they haven't read the major research, then they are ignorant. If they refuse to read it, then the ignorance is deliberate. That is the real problem.

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Shaun Hadley 1 year, 10 months ago

Sorry guys, the State of Colorado saw right through your lies about Marijuana. Colorado will be known as a State who stood up and chose Freedom, not the marijuana state. You guys should be glad - You can now worry about bigger and better things than Marijuana - As you pointed out yourselves, marijuana is simple, and is dangerous in no way at all, so why fight it? The people have spoken, and now it's time for you all to re-evaluate your stance on Marijuana. It's here to stay, like it or not.

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