Proposition 19 loss gives CO chance to be first state to legalize marijuana

The state of CO is planning a launch of Legalize2012.com, a drive to legalize marijuana for adult use in Colorado — and noted that organizers planned to move forward even if Proposition 19, a similar measure in California, failed at the ballot box — which it did. But advocates Mason Tvert and Brian Vicente, while downcast about the Prop. 19 results, see the opportunity to now cast Colorado in the history-making role.

Shortly after the die was cast last night, Tvert, of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation, aka SAFER, and Vicente, who heads Sensible Colorado, jointly released statements expressing confidence that the Prop. 19 vote won’t doom legalization efforts in Colorado. To the contrary, they suggest that the “no” vote in Cali will energize their push over the next two years.

Here’s their release:

Prop. 19 Loss in California Means Colorado Could Be First State to Legalize Marijuana
State’s largest marijuana reform organizations — SAFER and Sensible Colorado — planning 2012 statewide initiative to make marijuana legal and regulate it like alcohol

Colorado groups not deterred by California results — point to polls that show Coloradans are ready for legalization

DENVER — The state’s two largest marijuana policy reform organizations are not deterred by the results of Proposition 19 in California and will move forward with a similar 2012 statewide ballot initiative in Colorado. Prop. 19 was trailing 56-44 at the time of this release.

Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) and Sensible Colorado are working to place a measure on the 2012 ballot that would remove penalties for adult marijuana use and establish a system of regulation for marijuana similar to that of alcohol.

According to a 9 News/Denver Post poll released last week, 46 percent of likely 2010 voters would support such a measure, while just 43 percent would oppose it. The poll echoes previous and recent internal polls showing support for regulating marijuana around 50 percent among 2010 likely voters.The 2012 electorate should be even more favorably inclined toward supporting such a measure.

“California started the race toward legalization but Colorado is going to finish it,” said Mason Tvert, executive director of SAFER, which coordinated the successful citywide marijuana initiatives in Denver in 2005 and 2007, and the statewide marijuana initiative in 2006. “Coloradans are ready to move forward and bring about a safer, more sensible approach to marijuana.

“For too long our government and the Arrest and Prosecution Industry have been playing a game to keep marijuana illegal for adults,” Tvert said. “That game will soon be over — we’re playing to win in 2012.”

SAFER and its close ally, Sensible Colorado, have been working on plans for a 2012 initiative while closely following the fight over Prop. 19 in California this year.

“Over the past five years we have built a large coalition of organizations, elected officials, and citizens across the state,” said Sensible Colorado Executive Director Brian Vicente. “Now that the 2010 election is over we are moving full-steam ahead with a plan to organize, mobilize, and energize our coalition and potential voters throughout Colorado.

“The campaign for legalization in Colorado begins today and will not end until we become the first — or one of the first — in the nation to establish a legal marijuana market for all adults.”

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