Group Forms To Oppose Colorado Marijuana Stores

Mar 18, 2013

A cit­i­zens’ group opposed to a large-scale recre­ational mar­i­juana indus­try in Col­orado has hired two pow­er­house lob­by­ists in prepa­ra­tion for the state legislature’s com­ing pot fight. Smart Col­orado formed as a non­profit group within the last sev­eral weeks, group leader Doug Robin­son said. After col­lect­ing dona­tions, Robin­son said the group has hired for­mer con­gres­sional can­di­date Mike Fee­ley and long­time Capi­tol lob­by­ist San­dra Hagen Solin to rep­re­sent it as leg­is­la­tors write the laws for the forth­com­ing recre­ational mar­i­juana indus­try. It will be the first time in the last sev­eral years that a cit­i­zens’ group devoted to restrict­ing mar­i­juana will have such high-powered rep­re­sen­ta­tion at the Capi­tol. While medical-marijuana busi­nesses have had lob­by­ists for awhile, anti-marijuana lob­by­ing has often been done by law-enforcement groups or a dis­jointed col­lec­tion of advo­cates. Robin­son said mem­bers of Smart Col­orado — whom he described as “basi­cally, a bunch of moms” — decided they needed to be bet­ter orga­nized and rep­re­sented to make a dif­fer­ence. Though Smart Col­orado shares a name with the cam­paign com­mit­tee opposed to Amend­ment 64, the mea­sure passed in Novem­ber legal­iz­ing lim­ited mar­i­juana pos­ses­sion and sales, Robin­son said the two groups are sep­a­rate. “We have orga­nized for one rea­son, and that is to keep Col­orado the best state in the nation,” Robin­son told law­mak­ers on Fri­day dur­ing a meet­ing of a spe­cial leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee draft­ing the bill on recre­ational mar­i­juana. “We are deeply con­cerned that the way 64 is imple­mented could threaten this.” Robin­son said the group respects that Col­orado vot­ers legal­ized mar­i­juana in Novem­ber, but he said the group wants to keep the recre­ational mar­i­juana indus­try as small and con­tained as pos­si­ble. Group mem­bers tes­ti­fy­ing before the leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee said they fear greater avail­abil­ity of mar­i­juana will lead to big pub­lic health and safety prob­lems, espe­cially with kids. “It looks like we are head­ing down the path of social­iz­ing the costs and pri­va­tiz­ing the prof­its,” group mem­ber Gina Car­bone said. The leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee, though, rejected on Fri­day one sug­ges­tion from Smart Col­orado: state-run mar­i­juana stores. The group said state-run stores will pre­vent mar­i­juana leaks to kids. But a state task force that sug­gested reg­u­la­tions for recre­ational mar­i­juana rec­om­mended against state-run stores. Such stores would likely pro­voke a strong response from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. The leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee on Fri­day sided with the task force’s rec­om­men­da­tion against state-run stores. The com­mit­tee put off deci­sions on a num­ber of other issues — includ­ing whether to allow pot sales to out-of-state vis­i­tors or requir­ing mar­i­juana stores to grow what they sell. It is sched­uled to meet again next Fri­day, but law­mak­ers also dis­cussed adding extra, early-morning meet­ings to com­plete the work. The com­mit­tee must have bills for recre­ational mar­i­juana writ­ten by the end of the month. The full leg­is­la­ture will then have 38 days to pass the bills before the end of the ses­sion. New­shawk: The GCW Source: Den­ver Post (CO) Author: John Ingold, The Den­ver Post Pub­lished: March 15, 2013 Copy­right: 2013 The Den­ver Post Web­site: http://​www​.den​ver​post​.com/

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Group Forms To Oppose Col­orado Mar­i­juana Stores

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