Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Biff America: The Innocence Of Pot

Summit Daily
I'm ready for my close-up and drug test Mr. DeMille

Samples of my urine are available upon request.

It is not that I expect a huge demand — the holidays are long past and, with this economy, who can afford luxuries?

The reason I'm offering up my liquids is I have recently been accused of drug use; even by my friends.

This charge stems from my endorsement of a local ballot initiative that would decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana for those 21 years or older.

To be clear, it would still be illegal to smoke pot, grow or posses large quantities, or to spread peanut butter on Oreo cookies (just kidding about the Oreos).

And of course, like alcohol, underage possession would still be against the law.

I was contacted by members of “Sensible Colorado,” the group promoting this ballot initiative. They asked if I would meet them for coffee. I walked into the local caffeine-den expecting to see Cheech and Chong. Instead I saw two young, clean-cut guys, wearing neck-ties.

Immediately, I became suspicious. Hoping to avoid entrapment I asked, “Are you guys cops?” Turns out they were lawyers.

The group was looking for well-respected, community figures to lend their name to this cause. After much searching they could not find anyone willing, so they asked me. It seems many who were contacted agreed with the mission and even promised to vote for it; but none wanted their name attached to it.

Granted, I have less to lose then many who did not want to be associated with this. I have no children, no real job and after some of the things I have been called, “pot-head” is a compliment.

During America's war on drugs I've been a conscientious objector. Particularly, I've always felt that our nation could make better use of its money, cops and prison-space then to mess with stoners. But before I signed off on the proposed initiative I did a little research and was even more convinced. One statistic that hit home was almost 800,000 pot arrests in 2007 for simple possession. In some states that means jail time. In almost all cases that means a more difficult task of getting jobs, loans, scholarships or even to enlist into the military. Pot prohibition costs $10 billion to $14 billion a year (Jeffrey Milton Harvard economist).

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