As the election grows near a tense situation is building around the alleged misrepresentation of proposed Amendment 64’s language to the citizens of Colorado. Colorado marijuana activists have been filing complaints about this misrepresentation of the proposed Amendment by its proponents. Kathleen Chippi, a long-time Colorado marijuana activist, filed a complaint this past week with Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett and is awaiting a response.
The author of, the proponents of and the attorney for A64 explained to the Title Board at the A64 hearing on June 15, 2011, that they were not “legalizing marijuana.” For this to be true the authors would have to be attempting to remove criminal penalties from the state law books. They were indeed adding more penalties to the Constitution, including driving under the influence Marijuana language for drivers suspected of marijuana use. This is the same controversial language that Coloradans had opposed in mass just months before. The Title Board and the A64 campaign also agreed that using the phrase ‘like alcohol’ would be confusing to Colorado voters.
It is illegal to mislead Colorado voters under 1-13-109 Colorado Revised Statute; however, the Title Board does not have the authority to go after those who are actually misleading voters. That is up to the voters themselves. Indeed; the young canvassers who campaigned for Amendment 64 have been told to tout the same misrepresentation and therefore those canvassers could also be sued, although it’s hard to imagine anyone going after the young students who normally fill those jobs; however, those same canvassers did tout misrepresentation to Colorado’s voters, so the question remains, should the bill’s proponents be called accountable for the actions of their canvassers, as well as their own misrepresentation of the language?
It’s quite possible the decision made by the district attorney will be studied in history books in years to come. The Mountain-Ear will publish the DA’s decision online when he delivers the findings of his office’s investigation. Keep posted at themountainear.com.