Legalize it – vote ‘yes’ on Amendment 64 | AspenTimes.com

Legalize it – vote ‘yes’ on Amendment 64

Dear Editor:

As a member of the Board of Trustees for the town of Carbondale, I believe it is my responsibility to carefully consider how each ballot measure affects our community. After reading and reflecting on the failures of our nation’s drug policy, I am announcing my endorsement of Amendment 64. I also am speaking for myself and as the father of a teenage girl and not for the Carbondale Board of Trustees.

Amendment 64 should generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenues and law enforcement savings over the coming decade. The first $40 million raised annually is dedicated to fund public-school construction. Our schools need the new revenue, and this law funds schools without raising state income or property taxes. Regulating marijuana will take jobs away from cartels and give them to tax-paying Coloradans. Amendment 64 also will end the prohibition on farming industrial hemp, which has no psychoactive properties and can be used for paper, cloth, fuel and food. This opportunity will allow Colorado farmers to corner the market on this highly demanded agricultural crop.

Regulating marijuana for adults 21 and older and placing it behind a counter like alcohol will make it harder, not easier, for teens to access. Replacing an uncontrolled underground market with a tightly controlled system of regulation is smart policy. Plus, it will eliminate a key source of funding for drug cartels and will allow the state and local communities to redirect their limited law enforcement resources toward violent and harmful crimes.

I, like many other Coloradans, am proud of our healthy state. So I did the research and learned that government studies comparing the harms of marijuana and alcohol have concluded that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. It is less addictive, less damaging to the body and far less likely to trigger violent behavior. It seems obvious that adults who prefer marijuana over alcohol should not be made criminals for making that choice.

Coloradans understand what is best for our families and communities. Marijuana prohibition has been a costly and unmitigated disaster. Let’s regulate marijuana for adults and tax it.

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Join me in voting “yes” on 64.

Frosty Merriott

Carbondale

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