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Marijuana Sides Debate Colorado’s Future

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

The Colorado Decides debate series, co-produced by CBS 4 and Colorado Public Television, continues this Friday at 9:00pm on Channel 12 with a debate featuring both sides of the Amendment 64 ballot issue which would legalize marijuana possession for adults in Colorado.

The debate was filmed on Thursday, so I hope to provide a sneak peek into the key points of the debate and hopefully encourage you to check out the entire debate yourself.

The first detail that you should be aware of is that this is really the only major statewide decision that all Colorado voters will have a voice in deciding this year. Besides the Presidential race, and some smaller more obscure ballot measures, Amendment 64 is the only issue that every Coloradan will have a say on this fall.

So since this decision belongs to all of us, it is our collective responsibility to really know what the issue would do and to consider if it is the best thing for Colorado.

One of the more interesting aspects of the issue is the effect of marijuana on the Colorado brand. Opponents claim that making Colorado the first state in the country to fully legalize marijuana would hurt tourism and business as people would avoid a state known first for marijuana. That argument is actually exactly what Governor John Hickenlooper said when he announced that he was against the measure.

But our conversation turned to how Colorado is already known for its medical marijuana laws, and how to some, we have already quasi-legalized marijuana. This did not totally address the branding question raised by opponents, but it did bring up another good talking point.

With Colorado already legalizing the use of medical marijuana, would fully legalizing it make a major difference, or have we already legalized enough for those who wish to use it?

This part of the discussion is likely where many of the undecided voters in Colorado are at with this issue. Amendment 64, like the presidential race, have fairly large groups already firmly in one camp or the other, with a small group of undecided voters still trying to make up their minds.

If we were voting to legalize marijuana without the experience of seeing the reality of medical marijuana, the campaigns on both sides would be far different. Our collective experience with medical marijuana gives Colorado a unique perspective on this issue.

Before you place your vote, I encourage you to learn more about this important issue and tune in for the debate. Our hosts, Eric Sondermann and CBS 4’s Rick Sallinger do a great job of getting real answers from both sides. With Amendment 64 being one of the only statewide decisions we will make this year, it has earned our attention.

Also, stay tuned in October as CBS 4 and Colorado Public Television bring you debates with the candidates running in the major Congressional races in Colorado.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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