Huffington Post is reporting that Amendment 64 legalization foe Kathleen Chippi has failed in her attempt to punish the campaign that legalized marijuana in Colorado.
Chippi, who claims to be a proponent of legalized marijuana, objected to the campaign for Amendment 64 using the messaging that the measure would “regulate marijuana like alcohol.” In a complaint to the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office, Chippi alleged the Amendment 64 campaign was willfully misleading Colorado voters, in violation of Colorado Revised Statutes.
The complaint, filed on October 15 (three weeks before the election but over a year since the campaign began using the “regulate marijuana like alcohol” messaging), drew a bemused reaction from one of the leaders of the first successful campaign to legalize marijuana in the world, Mason Tvert:
“The Title Board and the campaign mutually agreed to remove the phrase, ‘in a manner similar to alcohol,’ from the ballot question, as it was deemed to be a ‘catch phrase,’ which had been previously ruled by the courts to not be permitted in ballot titles. But Ms. Chippi doesn’t seem to appreciate the difference between a ballot title and campaign messaging. Catch phrases are allowed in campaigns. In fact, that’s traditionally just about all that campaigns have ever used.”
“My staff have carefully reviewed references to the Amendment in the media, statements made at hearings, the text of the Amendment, and voter materials with your concerns in mind,” Garnett wrote. “We do not believe that a criminal proceeding is appropriate.”
Garnett wrote that his office receives complaints against campaigns during every election, but that prosecution requires “factually false statements” be made. He said that charges against campaigns are rare.
“Differing interpretations of the legal significance of a proposed constitutional amendment are best resolved in free society through open and free debate and free elections,” Garnett wrote. “One of the many benefits of our right to free speech under both the United States and the Colorado constitutions is that citizens are at liberty to vigorously debate the pros and cons of legislative matters, constitutional amendments and policy concerns. In all but the most egregious circumstances, they should be able to do so without the threat of criminal prosecution.”
My favorite thing about marijuana legalization is that it brings the issue and the product into the mainstream. No longer does the fate of marijuana smokers remain restricted to the hippie class of “activists” with too much time on their hands, too little money in their pocket, too lofty of ideals to compromise, too tenuous a grasp on reality to be effective, and too few brain cells to ever figure all of it out.