Move over, Cheech and Chong: The two most important people in Colorado's marijuana scene are Brian Vicente and Mason Tvert -- and they're out to prove it by passing a statewide initiative in 2012 that will legalize marijuana for all Coloradans over 21.
Vicente and Tvert unveiled the plan last Monday at their marijuana-reform "Thanksgiving celebration" at the Gilmore Art Center at Mile High Framing -- and they admit there's a lot of work ahead before Colorado sanctions (as well as regulates and taxes) recreational marijuana use. After all, just three years ago, state voters rejected by a 60/40 margin a constitutional amendment organized by Vicente, Tvert and others that would have decriminalized just an ounce or less of weed.
But like Bob says, the times, they are a-changin'. Earlier this month, Breckenridge voters decriminalized possession of up to an ounce of pot, following in Denver's footsteps, which passed a similar measure in 2005. A Gallup poll last month found that 44 percent of Americans favor legalization, up from 31 percent in 2000. The same poll found that just in the West, the percentage rose to 53 percent.
There are efforts underway to legalize weed in California next year, but if that fails, Colorado could end up leading the legalization movement nationwide -- and it's hard to imagine a duo better suited to the task than Vicente and Tvert. While the two helm different drug-reform organizations -- Vicente runs Sensible Colorado and Tvert leads SAFER (Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation) -- it's no accident the two share an office space and are both funded by the venerable Washington D.C.-based organization Marijuana Policy Project. In the war against the war on drugs, Vicente and Tvert are coordinating their attacks with a two-front offensive.
Lately, Vicente, a lawyer, has spent most of his time lately guiding the state's medical-marijuana community -- assisting on pivotal court cases, consulting with dispensaries and meeting with policy makers. And on December 19 at a location yet to be announced, Sensible Colorado is hosting a medical-marijuana stakeholder meeting -- sort of a "gathering of the five families" à la The Godfatherat which the state's captains of marijuana industry will try to craft a unified legislative agenda for 2010.
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
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.
Thursday, November 26, 2009