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.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ring in 2013 and Support Criminal Justice Reform

As 2012 comes to an end we just taking a moment to say thank you once again for all of your support.  It’s hard to believe that we are nearing the end of this year already, your support has helped to make this a very successful and busy time for CCJRC.  We look forward to having you with us as we starting a new year of activism and organizing for social justice.
As we gear up for 2013—and we have a lot to gear up for—we hope that you have a wonderful and safe New Year and we thank you for being a part of this organization.   As I am sure that you know, there are only a few hours left  to make a tax-deductible contribution for 2012 to support our work in 2013, you can click here to do that. 
If you have already made a donation this year, thank you for your generosity.

Big Agenda for 2013 Legislative Session
Here’s a brief list of some of the bills that CCJRC will be working on. It will be a very busy session and we’ll keep you posted via email action alerts. Much of our agenda will support recommendations approved by the state Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice (CCJJ). CCJRC is part of both the drug policy task force and the comprehensive sentencing task force.

Drug Policy Reform – legislation will be introduced that rewrites the entire Controlled Substances Act.  There are a lot of changes but here are some highlights:
  • creates a stand-alone drug sentencing grid
  • creates different felony offense levels for drug distribution based on weight to better differentiate between low, medium and high-level drug dealers
  •  requires that a felony conviction for drug possession be converted to a misdemeanor after successful completion of probation/community corrections for the first two offenses unless the person has a prior violent conviction or is ineligible for probation
  • expand residential treatment availability in the community
You can read the full text of the recommendation at:

Expansion of Diversion Programs – legislation will be introduced that would expand diversion programs statewide.  Diversion is a voluntary alternative that allows a person accused of a crime to fulfill certain conditions and if successful, the charges against the person are dismissed or are not filed.
You can read the full text of the recommendation at:

Consolidation and changes in the theft statute—legislation will be introduced that consolidates the crimes of theft, theft by receiving, theft of rental property, and fuel piracy. The amount of the loss, which establishes the crime level, will also change. For example, under current law theft of $500 - $1,000 is a class 1 misdemeanor.  Under the proposed changes, the class 1 misdemeanor would be theft of $750-$2,000.  These types of adjustments to the crime cut-points are made for all the different felony theft crimes.  You can read the full text of the recommendation at:

Eliminate Extraordinary Risk Statute – current law has enhanced sentencing for crimes of violence, extraordinary risk and aggravated range.  The intersection of these three is complex, convoluted and often duplicative.  Legislation will be introduced that will repeal the extraordinary risk sentencing range.
You can read the full text of the recommendation at:
We look forward to doing a great job for you in the coming year.  We can't thank you enough for your generous support.

Christie Donner, Executive Director
Pamela Clifton, Communications Coordinator
Ellen Toomey-Hale, Finance Coordinator
John Riley, Outreach Coordinator
P.S.  There are several ways you can support CCJRC. One way to support is as a Freedom Fighter.  Freedom Fighters are a very important part of CCJRC. They make small donations on a monthly basis.  Ten, fifteen or twenty dollars a month, gives us the ability to plan strategically throughout the year because we know what we have coming in. Our members also like it for the same reasons.  They are able to spread their donations and budget their generosity more effectively.  Whatever way you choose to support CCJRC, your involvement is deeply appreciated.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Exciting matching grant opportunity

As this year comes to a close, CCJRC wants to thank YOU for helping us have another successful year. After years and years of pushing to end mass incarceration, the prison population has declined for the third year in a row and the fifth prison closed ahead of schedule.  We simply couldn’t have done any of this without you.  Today, we are writing to ask you to support CCJRC and share some exciting news.
The Unitarian Universalist Fund for a Just Society has just awarded CCJRC a matching gift grant of $2,000.00!  That means that any donation you make may be matched dollar for dollar.  We would love to be able to access the full amount of this grant by the end of 2012 and your donation would also be fully tax-deductible.
We know that behind every statistic are people and families and that is our ultimate focus.  For CCJRC, the battle for reform isn’t just political, it’s intensely personal. And it’s especially personal for me.

On November 22, 2012, after waiting 15 years, I was finally able to make Thanksgiving dinner for my 2 children.

The back story behind that statement is why I am here today.  In July of 1997, I was sentenced to prison for 6 years for possession of a small amount of drugs. I had a prior felony conviction and no money for treatment and so the judge sentenced me to prison. At the time I was a single mom with two children, my daughter was 8 and my son was 4 years old.  They were placed in foster care because I didn’t have any family in Colorado.

While I was in prison, my parental rights were terminated due to the length of my sentence and my children were put up for adoption. After I was released, I fought for and regained my parental rights to my daughter.  She was returned to my home in 2004 after going through 23 separate foster home placements.  It was too late to get my son back because he had already been legally adopted.  My daughter and I were not allowed to have contact with him.

In 2005, I went to work for CCJRC to help change our inhumane drug laws.

In 2010, CCJRC worked with the state Commission’s Drug Policy Task Force and helped develop a drug sentencing reform bill that was passed by the state Legislature with overwhelming bi-partisan support.  I was thrilled because the same crime that I was sentenced to 6 years in prison for now carried a maximum sentence of 18 months.

Since then, CCJRC continued to work on the Drug Policy Task Force and last week the Commission unanimously approved recommendations that will rewrite the entire Controlled Substances Act. Look to hear from us a lot during the 2013 Legislative session.  We’re going to need you!

If I had been sentenced today instead of in 1997 my family wouldn’t have been shattered. Now, after fifteen years of living in the pain of a broken family and the incredible struggle we went through to make it whole, we were finally reunited when my son turned 18 years of age and he came home for Thanksgiving.  So we truly had something tremendous to be thankful for! 

It’s been a long road since CCJRC was founded in 1999 to help build the power and vision for alternatives to mass incarceration in Colorado.  In the basement of a church, a handful of folks got together and decided that something needed to be done.  We could no longer sit on the sidelines while the drug war raged out of control and the investment in our children’s education was gutted.

CCJRC will be advocating for a number of criminal justice reform bills during the 2013 legislative session.  We will be pushing for more funding for treatment and re-entry support services. We will also be pushing for the closure of more prisons, particularly the end of using for-profit private prisons in Colorado.

None of this can happen without you. Your engagement and support, along with the voices of thousands of others statewide, has created a movement.  The momentum is on our side and we will continue to work to achieve real change by advancing the message of practicality, reason and compassion to state and local policymakers and throughout the community.

Please make a generous tax-deductible donation today to CCJRC. Your support will help us to continue to fight for change and bring that message of hope to thousands of people caught up in the justice system in Colorado. 

They are not forgotten and this fall we were also able to deliver 15,000 free copies of the third edition of our reentry guide, Getting On After Getting Out, to people in prison. 

Thank you again for your generosity to this organization. Your involvement is deeply appreciated. Together we will continue to do the work that truly makes a difference.


Pamela Clifton, Communications Coordinator, on behalf of
           Christie Donner, Executive Director
Ellen Toomey-Hale, Development Coordinator
John Riley, Coalition Coordinator

Governers pitches mental health changes

The Denver Post
Colorado would streamline involuntary mental health commitments and speed that information to gun-sale registries as part of a comprehensive, $18.5 million psychiatric overhaul aimed at preventing future violence and improving care in a package of proposals announced by Gov. John Hickenlooper Tuesday.
Mental health advocates in the state hailed what they say is a desperately-needed bolstering of emergency psychiatric services and laws. They said civil commitments could be simplified while still protecting patient rights, and that the spending package to increase emergency beds and evaluations is the right approach.
At the capitol, Hickenlooper said the proposals, taken together, should "reduce the probability of bad things happening to good people."
The governor's proposals include:
• Rewriting three laws on mental health commitments into a new, comprehensive set of rules clarifying the procedures and rights of those involved.
• Allowing court proceedings on mental health holds to be entered immediately into Colorado Bureau of Investigation firearm registries, so that required background checks on gun buyers would have real-time information.
• Spend $10.3 million on a statewide mental health crisis hotline, and five always-open walk-in centers for stabilizing urgent mental health cases.
• Develop 20 new beds for prisoners with psychiatric needs in the Denver area, with $2 million in state funds.
• Spend $4.8 million next year on transitional mental health care, including two 15-bed residential homes for those leaving inpatient facilities to rejoin the community. This portion would also add 107 housing vouchers to help the seriously mentally ill.
• De-escalation rooms at state mental health hospitals, and a new consolidation of mental health and substance abuse data, with $1.4 million in state spending.
The expansion of services should be applauded, said Jana Burke, director of the Rocky Mountain ADA Center, which advocates for patient rights and is a clearinghouse for the Americans with Disabilities Act. Clarifying the commitment law will help define patient rights, Burke added.
Long before the Aurora theater shooting and the tragedy unfolding in Connecticut, state mental health leaders had called for higher spending and more coordinated care for the seriously ill.
A 2011 report by a group of key foundations said 90,000 Colorado children and adolescents have a "serious emotional disturbance." Another 170,000 adults have a severe mental illness, according to the report "Advancing Colorado's Mental Care."
The report highlighted Colorado's outsized suicide rate, and a large number of military veterans returning from challenging duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. It also noted that specialized psychiatric services are increasingly concentrated in major cities like Denver and Colorado Springs, leaving rural areas badly underserved in mental health.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Combined Abuse of pain pills, anxiety drugs soars across the US

The Denver Post

Addictions with the double-whammy of pain pill abuse and anti-anxiety overuse are soaring throughout the U.S., according to a new report from the federal substance abuse agency [1].

Combined use of opiate painkillers and the kind of anti-anxiety, insomnia drugs called benzodiazepine are especially dangerous. The cocktail of bodily depressants can sharply reduce breathing and heart rate, to a factor the user isn’t prepared for.
The federal substance abuse agency SAMHSA said treatment center admissions for addiction to combined opiates and “benzos’ rose nearly six-fold from 2000 to 2010, to nearly 34,000 people. The number of admissions in the “all other” categories rose less than 10 percent over the same period, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
In addition to the dangers for ongoing users, withdrawal from each substance is a great public health danger, agency officials said. Trying to withdraw safely from both at once is a tremendous physical and mental challenge.
The statistics add to a drumbeat of worries over growing misuse of narcotic [3], opiate-based painkillers. We have written about various state and federal efforts to educate doctors on prescription practices, make better use of a database of all painkiller prescriptions, and to spread availability of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. Some physician groups are making an education push; whether anything translates to new policies in Colorado is still up in the air.

Mandatory Sentences Face Growing Skepticism


For Lesser Crimes, Rethinking Life Behind Bars

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Stephanie George and Judge Roger Vinson had quite different opinions about the lockbox seized by the police from her home in Pensacola. She insisted she had no idea that a former boyfriend had hidden it in her attic. Judge Vinson considered the lockbox, containing a half-kilogram of cocaine, to be evidence of her guilt.
But the defendant and the judge fully agreed about the fairness of the sentence he imposed in federal court.
“Even though you have been involved in drugs and drug dealing,” Judge Vinson told Ms. George, “your role has basically been as a girlfriend and bag holder and money holder but not actively involved in the drug dealing, so certainly in my judgment it does not warrant a life sentence.”
Yet the judge had no other option on that morning 15 years ago. As her stunned family watched, Ms. George, then 27, who had never been accused of violence, was led from the courtroom to serve a sentence of life without parole.
“I remember my mom crying out and asking the Lord why,” said Ms. George, now 42, in an interview at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee. “Sometimes I still can’t believe myself it could happen in America.”
Her sentence reflected a revolution in public policy, often called mass incarceration, that appears increasingly dubious to both conservative and liberal social scientists. They point to evidence that mass incarceration is no longer a cost-effective way to make streets safer, and may even be promoting crime instead of suppressing it.
Three decades of stricter drug laws, reduced parole and rigid sentencing rules have lengthened prison terms and more than tripled the percentage of Americans behind bars. The United States has the highest reported rate of incarceration of any country: about one in 100 adults, a total of nearly 2.3 million people in prison or jail.
But today there is growing sentiment that these policies have gone too far, causing too many Americans like Ms. George to be locked up for too long at too great a price — economically and socially.
The criticism is resonating with some state and federal officials, who have started taking steps to stop the prison population’s growth. The social scientists are attracting attention partly because the drop in crime has made it a less potent political issue, and partly because of the states’ financial problems.
State spending on corrections, after adjusting for inflation, has more than tripled in the past three decades, making it the fastest-growing budgetary cost except Medicaid. Even though the prison population has leveled off in the past several years, the costs remain so high that states are being forced to reduce spending in other areas.
Three decades ago, California spent 10 percent of its budget on higher education and 3 percent on prisons. In recent years the prison share of the budget rose above 10 percent while the share for higher education fell below 8 percent. As university administrators in California increase tuition to cover their deficits, they complain that the state spends much more on each prisoner — nearly $50,000 per year — than on each student.
Many researchers agree that the rise in imprisonment produced some initial benefits, particularly in urban neighborhoods, where violence decreased significantly in the 1990s. But as sentences lengthened and the prison population kept growing, it included more and more nonviolent criminals like Ms. George.
Half a million people are now in prison or jail for drug offenses, about 10 times the number in 1980, and there have been especially sharp increases in incarceration rates for women and for people over 55, long past the peak age for violent crime. In all, about 1.3 million people, more than half of those behind bars, are in prison or jail for nonviolent offenses.
Researchers note that the policies have done little to stem the flow of illegal drugs. And they say goals like keeping street violence in check could be achieved without the expense of locking up so many criminals for so long.
While many scholars still favor tough treatment for violent offenders, they have begun suggesting alternatives for other criminals. James Q. Wilson, the conservative social scientist whose work in the 1970s helped inspire tougher policies on prison, several years ago recommended diverting more nonviolent drug offenders from prisons to treatment programs.
Two of his collaborators, George L. Kelling of the Manhattan Institute and John J. DiIulio Jr. of the University of Pennsylvania, have joined with prominent scholars and politicians, including Jeb Bush and Newt Gingrich, in a group called Right on Crime. It advocates more selective incarceration and warns that current policies “have the unintended consequence of hardening nonviolent, low-risk offenders” so that they become “a greater risk to the public than when they entered.”
These views are hardly universal, particularly among elected officials worried about a surge in crime if the prison population shrinks. Prosecutors have resisted attempts to change the system, contending that the strict sentences deter crime and induce suspects to cooperate because the penalties provide the police and prosecutors with so much leverage.
Some of the strongest evidence for the benefit of incarceration came from studies by a University of Chicago economist, Steven D. Levitt, who found that penal policies were a major factor in reducing crime during the 1990s. But as crime continued declining and the prison population kept growing, the returns diminished.
“We know that harsher punishments lead to less crime, but we also know that the millionth prisoner we lock up is a lot less dangerous to society than the first guy we lock up,” Dr. Levitt said. “In the mid-1990s I concluded that the social benefits approximately equaled the costs of incarceration. Today, my guess is that the costs outweigh the benefits at the margins. I think we should be shrinking the prison population by at least one-third.”
Some social scientists argue that the incarceration rate is now so high that the net effect is “crimogenic”: creating more crime over the long term by harming the social fabric in communities and permanently damaging the economic prospects of prisoners as well as their families. Nationally, about one in 40 children have a parent in prison. Among black children, one in 15 have a parent in prison.
Cocaine in the Attic
Ms. George was a young single mother when she first got in trouble with drugs and the law. One of her children was fathered by a crack dealer, Michael Dickey, who went to prison in the early 1990s for drug and firearm offenses.
“When he went away, I was at home with the kids struggling to pay bills,” Ms. George said. “The only way I knew to get money quick was selling crack. I was never a user, but from being around him I pretty much knew how to get it.”
After the police caught her making crack sales of $40 and $120 — which were counted as separate felonies — she was sentenced, at 23, to nine months in a work-release program. That meant working at her mother’s hair salon in Pensacola during the day and spending nights at the county jail, away from her three young children.
“When I caught that first charge, it scared me to death,” she recalled. “I thought, my God, being away from my kids, this is not what I want. I promised them I would never let it happen again.”
When Mr. Dickey got out of prison in 1995, she said, she refused to resume their relationship, but she did allow him into her apartment sometimes to see their daughter. One evening, shortly after he had arrived, the police showed up with a search warrant and a ladder.
“I didn’t know what they were doing with a ladder in a one-story building,” Ms. George said. “They went into a closet and opened a little attic space I’d never seen before and brought down the lockbox. He gave them a key to open it. When I saw what was in it, I was so mad I jumped across the table at him and started hitting him.”
Mr. Dickey said he had paid her to store the cocaine at her home. At the trial, other defendants said she was present during drug transactions conducted by Mr. Dickey and other dealers she dated, and sometimes delivered cash or crack for her boyfriends. Ms. George denied those accusations, which her lawyer argued were uncorroborated and self-serving. After the jury convicted her of being part of a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, she told the judge at her sentencing: “I just want to say I didn’t do it. I don’t want to be away from my kids.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/12/science/mandatory-prison-sentences-face-growing-skepticism.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0&pagewanted=print

Monday, December 10, 2012

On The Chopping Block

The Sentencing Project

I am pleased to share with you a new report from The Sentencing Project, On the Chopping Block 2012: State Prison Closings. The report illustrates the growing trend of states to downsize or close their prisons--reducing prison capacity in 2012 by 14,100 beds, and 28,000 since 2011.

This year, states planning to close prisons include California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, and Louisiana. Reforms in sentencing and parole policies have resulted in less demand for prison space in addition to states working to balance budget priorities.

The full report, On the Chopping Block: State Prison Closings, includes a comprehensive chart on state closings. We hope you find this publication useful in your work.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Former prison to become site for homeless vets | homeless, prison, site - Colorado Springs Gazette, CO

Former prison to become site for homeless vets | homeless, prison, site - Colorado Springs Gazette, CO

DENVER — An aging former prison in southeast Colorado is unusable for many purposes and should be turned into transitional housing for the chronically homeless, state budget-writers were told Thursday.
The governor's office is asking for $840,000 — and an additional $6 million or so over the next two fiscal years — to repurpose the former Fort Lyon Correctional Facility in Las Animas. The prison was closed last year because of a declining prison population.

The fences are down at the century-old facility, but officials have struggled for two years to find a new life for Fort Lyon. The former Veterans Affairs hospital was a major employer in rural Bent County, and lawmakers were told that the federal government won't take Fort Lyon back and that the aging property shouldn't be just boarded up and abandoned.

"We have a facility that is going to be expensive even if we mothball it," said Roxane White, chief of staff to Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Fort Lyon was envisioned as a treatment facility for up to 200 homeless people who would receive job training and mental health and drug treatment. White said veterans would get priority to move to Fort Lyon, which would be operated by the nonprofit Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.

A presentation handed to lawmakers showed leafy scenes at the historic Fort Lyon campus, with a description of the former prison as "a fresh and safe environment for homeless individuals to begin a sustainable path to recovery."

But lawmakers from both parties seemed skeptical: What if the homeless people don't want to go?
Democratic Sen. Mary Hodge asked about "push-back" from homeless veterans uninterested in moving to Bent County. Republican Rep. Cheri Gerou wondered whether Fort Lyon could be seen as a modern-day "pauper's prison."

"I would not want to see us taking these people against their will," Gerou asked.

White insisted that Fort Lyon residency would be completely optional, not a return to institutionalization of the poor and mentally ill.

"We would never force someone. We would never have anyone court-ordered to this facility. We would not go down that historical route," White said.

Democratic Rep. Claire Levy wondered about expensive upkeep at the old prison.
"Would you really feel that this facility, with all its maintenance issues, is the best place?" Levy asked.

White countered that building a new residential center for the chronically homeless would be more expensive. And she pointed out that the people of Bent County want something done with Fort Lyon.
"They want this facility," White said. "If you know of another community across this state who is opening their arms to 200 to 300 homeless people being moved into the community, I'd love to know where it is."
The Joint Budget Committee didn't act on the homeless proposal for Fort Lyon. Lawmakers must approve the $840,000 by the end of the year to proceed with the governor's plan.

Read more: http://www.gazette.com/articles/homeless-147900-prison-site.html#ixzz2DxEo9Qez

Colorado Authorities Seek Way Forward on Marijuana

New York Times

DENVER - Anthony Orozco, 19, a community college student and soccer player in southeastern Colorado, is facing criminal charges for something that will soon be legal across this state: the possession of a few nuggets of marijuana and a pipe he used to smoke it.
Mr. Orozco said that one day in September he and a few friends were driving in Lamar, on the plains near the Kansas border, when they were pulled over. After the police officer found marijuana in the car, Mr. Orozco was issued a summons for possession and drug paraphernalia - petty offenses that each carry a $100 fine - and given a court date.

"We get treated like criminals," Mr. Orozco said.

But is he one? In the uncertain weeks after Colorado's vote to legalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, the answer in hundreds of minor drug cases depends less on the law than on location.
Hundreds of misdemeanor marijuana cases are already being dropped here and in Washington State, which approved a similar measure. Police departments have stopped charging adults 21 years and older for small-scale possession that will be legally sanctioned once the laws take effect in the coming weeks.
But prosecutors in more conservative precincts in Colorado have vowed to press ahead with existing marijuana cases and are still citing people for possession. At the same time, several towns from the Denver suburbs to the Western mountains are voting to block new, state-licensed retail marijuana shops from opening in their communities.

"This thing is evolving so quickly that I don't know what's going to happen next," said Daniel J. Oates, the police chief in Aurora, just east of Denver.

Regulators in Washington State are also scratching their heads. And they are looking for guidance on how to set up a system of licenses for production, manufacturing, distribution and sales - all by a deadline of Dec. 1, 2013. They say that Colorado, for better or worse, is ahead of most states in regulating marijuana, first for medical use and now recreationally.

"Colorado has a more regulated market, so they will be a good guide," said Brian E. Smith, a spokesman for the Washington State Liquor Control Board. But no place or system, Mr. Smith conceded, can do more than suggest what might work. "There's no real precedent for us to follow," he said.

Washington's law, called I-502, takes effect on Dec. 6, which also leaves a year of limbo during which the state licensing system will not yet exist, but legalized possession will. And there are thorny mechanical questions that must be resolved during that time, like how to balance the state's mandate of "adequate access" to licensed marijuana with its prohibitions on cannabis businesses within 1,000 feet of a school, park, playground or child care center.

"Nowhere will it be more difficult to site a licensed cannabis business than in urban areas, particularly in the Seattle metropolitan area," said Ben Livingston, a spokesman for the Center for Legal Cannabis, a recently formed research group.

On Nov. 21, Chief Oates in Aurora sent his officers an e-mail announcing that the city attorney would no longer be prosecuting small marijuana violations for anyone 21 years or older, and that the police would stop charging people for those crimes "effective immediately."

Chief Oates said that the police would enforce city codes regulating medical marijuana growers, and that they would still pursue drug traffickers and dealers.

In northern Colorado's Weld County, the district attorney, Ken Buck, represents a stricter view. After the vote, he said his office would continue pursuing marijuana possession cases, mostly as a way to press users into getting treatment. Right now, 119 people face charges of possessing two ounces or less of marijuana, though many are facing other charges.

"Our office has an obligation to prosecute offenses that were crimes at the time they occurred," Mr. Buck said in a statement.

The response has been complicated even in places like rural Mesa County, where voters rejected the marijuana initiative. The police in Grand Junction, the county's largest city, are no longer citing adults for possession of small amounts. The county's district attorney, Pete Hautzinger, supported that decision, but also decided not to dismiss all of the pending possession cases.

"I do not think I'm wasting my time continuing to enforce the law until it changes," he said.
Although 55 percent of Colorado voters supported the measure, bringing recreational marijuana into the folds of government and the legal system was never going to be simple. And the contradictory reactions across the state lay bare a deep ambivalence among local officials about the state's big green experiment.
"It's a cultural barrier" with district attorneys, said Sean McAllister, a Denver lawyer who represents marijuana defendants and is a local spokesman for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

"They spent so much of their lives prosecuting people that they still don't really accept that this is legal," he said.

As the first states to treat small amounts of marijuana like alcohol, Colorado and Washington are poised to become national test cases for drug legalization. As advocates and state officials plan for a new frontier of legalized sales, they are also anxiously awaiting direction from the federal government, which still plans to treat the sale and cultivation of marijuana as federal crimes.

Advocates for legalized marijuana are hoping the Justice Department yields. Despite some high-profile arrests of medical marijuana patients and sellers, the federal government has mostly allowed medical marijuana businesses to operate in Colorado, Washington and 16 other states.

While drug agents will probably not beat down doors to seize a small bag of the drug, they are likely to balk at allowing the state-regulated recreational marijuana shops allowed under the new laws, said Kevin A. Sabet, a former drug policy adviser in the Obama administration.

Several cities in Colorado are not waiting for federal authorities to act. Even before Election Day, some local governments approved moratoriums on any new marijuana shops, even though it will be about a year before any can open. Last week, the western city of Montrose took up a six-month ban, and is likely to pass it next week.

"We don't want to be put in a position where we license somebody and then have a big federal issue," said Bob Nicholson, a City Council member. "Our community voted against this amendment. We're looking at what the community voted for versus what the state voted for. There's an awful lot of questions."

Colorado Gives Day 2012

Here's a great way to support CCJRC.  This is a reminder that Tuesday, December 4th is "Colorado Gives Day" which is presented by Community First Foundation and First Bank.    Last year, Coloradans made an astounding demonstration of support for local nonprofits by donating $12.4 million for Colorado Gives Day.   

Colorado Gives Day uses an online giving program that centers on a website called GivingFirst.org. This online resource features the profiles of hundreds of Colorado charities and CCJRC is a participating non-profit with Colorado Gives Day 2012!  If you want to participate and support CCJRC this way, you can go to the website by clicking the button below and schedule your donation specifically for December 4. 


                Click the button above and it will take you directly to CCJRC's Giving First page.
                Select the Donate Now button.
                Enter a dollar amount.
                Check the "Schedule Donation for Colorado Gives Day" box and then hit submit.
WHY SHOULD I?    100 percent of your donation will come to us on Colorado Gives day!!  There are prizes!!  CCJRC has a chance to win $1,000 Bonus Bucks throughout the day on Dec.4 and $5,000 High Five cash prizes too!  All donations are tax-deductible.

Thank you so much for all of your support of the