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Pot Legalization Proponents, Opponents Gather At Convention Center

Colorado's Largest Union Supports Legalizing Marijuana
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Opponents of Amendment 64 on Monday (credit: CBS)

Opponents of Amendment 64 on Monday (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado will see only three statewide questions on the ballot and one of them is Amendment 64, which would allow the state to regulate marijuana like alcohol.

A recent poll in The Denver Post found 51 percent of Coloradans support the amendment to legalize limited possession of marijuana, while 40 percent oppose it.

Colorado’s largest union, the local United Food and Commercial Workers Union, announced Monday it will support the measure. Among those who oppose it is Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

If it passes people at least 21 years old could possess, consume, and legally buy up to an ounce of marijuana.

Hancock and opponents of the amendment gathered Monday morning at the Colorado Convention Center. The message was simple. They want Coloradans to vote down Amendment 64 because they say it’s bad for the state and some said they don’t want Colorado to become the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana.

Hancock expressed his concerns along with leaders of the tourism industry at the gathering. They made their points to a small crowd, which included proponents of the amendment who stood peacefully with banners and signs.

Opponents say the bottom line is that Amendment 64 is bad for business, the state’s reputation, and that it sends the wrong message to children.

“Passing Amendment (64) will be detrimental to Denver’s business, and our efforts to recruit businesses to our city as well as retain businesses in our city,” Hancock said. “We’re in a global battle to recruit jobs to our city and this amendment would simply hurt those efforts.”

“If Colorado passes Amendment 64, businesses win, employees win, and we will create jobs in Colorado,” Amendment 64 proponent Betty Aldworth said. “But cartels and drug dealers, they’re going to lose. Amendment 64 takes the unregulated marijuana market off the streets and puts it behind the counter where we can create legitimate businesses.”

Proponents went on to say that the passing of the amendment will actually free up law enforcement and the judicial system, allowing them to focus on more serious crimes. They say that will save the state about $12 million a year.

While Hancock is opposed to it, one of his council members supports it, and there are more than two dozen government leaders across Colorado who back it.

A study by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy says Amendment 64 would generate more than $32 million a year in new revenue for the state. But the study was paid for by the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports the measure.

CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd did a “Reality Check” on the latest ad supporting Amendment 64. Visit the Reality Check section to watch her report.

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