DENVER (CBS4)- The Kush Convention is under way at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver this weekend. The expo features marijuana vendors, dispensaries and physicians. Some advocates are pushing an initiative to get marijuana use legalized in the state.
There are hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries across Colorado since the measure was approved by voters in 2000. Now, supporters want to push legalization to the next level.
“By legalizing it, you can better control it and regulate it,” said marijuana legalization advocate Evan Frank.
Eight initiatives were filed in Colorado for the 2012 ballot. All of them pose the question to voters to legalize the use and possession, one ounce or less, of marijuana for those 21 and older.
“It’s a harmless plant, it’s a healing plant, it’s a spiritual plant,” said marijuana legalization advocate Rachel Scott.
A spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Colorado believes legalizing medical marijuana in the state laid the ground work for the initiatives.
“We knew it was a front from the beginning,” said DEA Acting Special Agent In Charge Kevin Merrill. “It was all about legalization, the whole entire medical marijuana legislation.”
This summer, supporters are expected to start gathering signatures to get those initiatives on the ballot.
Even if a legalization measure is passed by voters, the measure would be in direct conflict of federal law.
“The DEA would continue to do what it has always done is to continue to enforce the controlled substance act in which posession, distribution, manufacture of marijuana is a violation of federal statues,” said Merrill.
A similar effort failed in 2006, but proponents are hoping to see it on the ballot next year.
“The legal drugs are in the market, sugar, tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, those are all way more detrimental to the human body than marijuana is,” said Scott.
Fourteen states, including Colorado, have legalized medical marijuana. None have fully legalized the drug. California voters shot down a similar measure last year.