In order to win this November, we must make voters comfortable with the idea of making marijuana legal for adults. Perhaps the best way to do that is by drawing a comparison to something with which they are already familiar — alcohol. Whether they use it a lot or never at all, very few people think alcohol should be illegal, and most recognize that its prohibition was an abysmal failure. This is how we want voters to react when they think about marijuana. Once they understand that it is not as harmful as they have been led to believe — in fact, it's less harmful than alcohol — they will recognize that its prohibition is just as worthy of repeal as alcohol prohibition.
It is critical that the campaign stick to this core message and accurately convey the facts about marijuana. Below are several key talking points we encourage you to use when making the case for Amendment 64.
Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol for the consumer and the community.
• Marijuana is far less toxic, less addictive, and less harmful to the body, and unlike alcohol it does not contribute to violent and reckless behavior.
• Most adults who use marijuana use it for the same reasons most adults use alcohol: to relax after a hard day of work and to enjoy time with friends.
• It is irrational to punish adults and make them criminals simply for using a substance that is far safer than alcohol.
Marijuana prohibition is just as ineffective, wasteful, and harmful as alcohol prohibition.
• Just like alcohol prohibition, marijuana prohibition does not eliminate use of the product and simply steers all of the profits to the underground market.
• Marijuana prohibition steers consumers into the underground market, where they can be exposed to other more dangerous drugs.
• Given the fact that marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol, it is time we have it produced and sold in a legitimate regulated market.
When it comes to keeping marijuana away from teens, keeping marijuana in an unregulated undergound market is the worst possible policy.
• For decades, teens have said that it is easy to find marijuana, and many report that it is easier to obtain than alcohol.
• Drug dealers don't ask for ID. We need to have marijuana sold in regulated stores where employees ask for proof of age, and it is only sold to adults.
• Strict enforcement of regulations, along with public education, have been effective in reducing teen tobacco use. We can do the same thing with marijuana.
Regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol would bolster Colorado’s economy with significant new tax revenue and job creation.
• In addition to sales tax, Amendment 64 requires the legislature to enact an excise tax on wholesale sales. The first $40 million of revenue raised annually will be directed toward the state's public school construction fund where it can be leveraged for much more.
• Regulating marijuana like alcohol will create thousands of new legal jobs and generate business for a variety of other Colorado industries.
• The initiative allows for the cultivation, processing, and distribution of industrial hemp, an environmentally friendly crop with a wide variety of uses. Hemp products are legal in the U.S., but all of the hemp must be imported from other countries, such as Canada and Japan, due to our outdated laws. We can help Colorado farmers and establish a whole new industry by allowing the production of this sustainable and highly demanded crop.
Colorado can adopt and implement Amendment 64.
• Colorado voters approved a ballot initiative repealing alcohol prohibition (1932) prior to it being repealed at the federal level (1933); it can do the same with marijuana.
• If voters approve Amendment 64, possession of marijuana by adults 21 and older will be legal under state and local law, and federal officials have made it clear they would not be able to handle arresting and prosecuting people for simple marijuana possession. It would be insane for them to try to keep the state and localities from controlling the production and distribution of a legal product.
• Colorado should be trusted to control marijuana as effectively and responsibly as possible without interference from the federal government.