CO Voters Prepare For Vote On Recreational Marijuana

Similar Measure Failed In 2006

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Is there room for medical marijuana and recreational marijuana in Colorado? That's what voters will decide on Election Day.

"I think it should be legalized, particularly because people make such a drama about it," said Jessica Landa of Colorado Springs. "We should stop worrying about marijuana and start worrying about more pressing issues."

This week, state leaders approved placing Amendment 64 on the November ballot. The announcement came after months of haggling about whether a petition drive had enough signatures. Organizers said they ended up with 4,000 more signatures than required.

Amendment 64 proposes legalizing the recreational use and possession of an ounce or less of marijuana, and the home growth of up to six marijuana plants. The measure also calls for establishing a system of supply, licensing and regulation that is separate from the current medical marijuana system.

What's unclear is whether Amendment 64's chance of passing will be influenced by the recent growth of the medical marijuana industry.

"If it's a problem with some people, that's fine, and I understand that," said Nichole Fowler, of Colorado Springs. "But if (marijuana) isn't hurting anyone else, then it shouldn't really matter if it's legalized."

The amendment also proposes taxing recreational marijuana use, in a similar manner to how alcohol is taxed.

Although the amendment calls for a separate system for recreational marijuana, some existing dispensary owners licensed to grow or sell medical marijuana also may apply for recreational licenses. That leaves owner Mike Scudder of A Wellness Center torn over whether to vote "yes" on the amendment.

"Certainly, there's a potential for us to have an increase in business," Scudder said. "But how would it be regulated after passage? And how would the federal government react? There's still a lot to be done."

A similar initiative, Amendment 44, failed in 2006 by a margin of 59 percent to 41 percent.

Colorado has become the second state to place such an amendment on the ballot, joining Washington state.

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