Legalize marijuana? Bookies say it’s not a safe bet
October 20, 2006
Online bookies are taking bets on whether the amendment to legalize possession of marijuana will pass in the Nov. 7 election, and they say the odds are against it.”Everybody has an opinion,” said Mickey Richardson, CEO of BetCRIS. “Now they can put their money where their mouth is.”BetCRIS (www.BetCRIS.com) is an online booking agency based in Costa Rica. The company, Richardson said, takes recommendations from clients and turns “water cooler talk” into wagers. In the past, he’s given odds on everything from presidential races to whether Jimmy Hoffa’s body would be found.Richardson’s online oddsmakers say it’s 1.6-1 odds on the “yes” vote and 1-to-2 odds for “no” for Amendment 44 to pass, which would allow Coloradans 21 or older to posses up to an ounce of marijuana. Nevada has a similar initiative on the November ballot, and bookies are giving the same odds in Nevada as in Colorado. BetCRIS bookies calculate odds based on previous amendments regarding marijuana, the polls and the many media reports.If the amendment to the Colorado constitution passes, it still would be illegal to grow, sell, drive under the influence of, or openly display, use, or consume marijuana.Some critics are concerned with provisions that would allow those older than 21 to give marijuana to people 15 or older as long as there is no compensation. It would remain illegal for anyone younger than 21 to possess any amount of marijuana. Passage of Amendment 44 would require a statewide majority.”I would bet it would pass in Denver, Boulder, Aspen and some of the other resort counties,” said Aspen Mayor Helen Klanderud, but added that she doubts the amendment will pass statewide. She added that even in Aspen there is more of a family focus now, and the measure might not pass.”I think we forget when we live here how conservative other areas of the state are,” Klanderud said.Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis also predicts the measure will pass locally, in Colorado’s other resort areas and in Denver and Boulder, but will get trounced in the rural, agricultural areas of the state.”Colorado is a state largely governed by farmers and Ford dealers,” he said. “It’s going to take the voters to make these changes.””Maybe I should do something on the ticket sales on the slopes in Aspen,” Richardson said by phone from Costa Rica. “Business owners would probably want a hedge.”Charles Agar’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.