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Pot Blue Book May Backfire on Opponents

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

In a relatively quiet election season in Colorado, when it comes to ballot measures, that is, we finally have a minor flap that may generate some interest in one of the only statewide decisions to be made this November.

The Blue Book, the name of the small booklet every registered voter gets in the mail that explains each ballot issue and offers pros and cons on each one, is due to go to press soon.

However, proponents of Amendment 64, which would legalize possession of marijuana for adults, are suing to delay that printing.

The lawsuit is due to what proponents believe is unfair wording in the book, basically omitting some arguments in favor of the amendment, while offering nearly 100 more words for the opposing arguments.

The Denver Post has come out in agreement with proponents that the wording in the Blue Book is indeed unfair. The lawsuit has received a great deal of attention, far more than if it was the other way around in regards to wording in the Blue Book.

Whether the legislative panel that approved the final wording of the Blue Book meant it or not, they have given the proponents of Amendment 64 a major boost in free advertising with its move to limit the arguments in favor of the proposal in the Blue Book.

If I were the opponents, I would find it difficult to truly know how to feel about what is happening right now.

On one hand, if the wording in the Blue Book stands, it would give my side a decent advantage in swaying any undecided voters who use the book as a resource.

But on the other hand, it is far more likely that more people will see the stories about the unfair wording story than will ever use the Blue Book for voting guidance.

In a nutshell, the wording and the flap that it is causing is hurting the opposition more than it may help it.

It is still early September, and even the mail-in ballots that most Coloradans will use won’t go out for over a month. However, the sympathy that this perceived unfair action may create could just be the advantage that the pro Amendment 64 campaign needed.

The last few years have proved the medical marijuana was really a complicated way of simply legalizing marijuana and public opinion has somewhat wavered on the issue. It’s one of those ideas that many are okay with as long as it is not next door to their house or anywhere near their kids.

But it’s been difficult to feel sorry for an issue that has turned into a multi-million dollar industry. And while this wording flap isn’t exactly a dire injustice, it may just prove to be the shot in the arm the proponents need.

In a season that will give almost all of the ballot measure attention to one issue, a small perceived injustice may turn into a major advantage in a few short weeks.

About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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