It will be “a sad day for Colorado” if Amendment 44 passes, Governor Bill Owens said in a press conference last Friday, Oct. 28.
The press conference was held in front of Amendment 44 supporters wearing green t-shirts and shouting their support for the legislation, which legalizes the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for Coloradans over the age of 21.
Some students, however, say they are very much in support of the amendment.
“I don’t think that marijuana is a harmful drug,” said sophomore business major Rachel Gruskin. Gruskin also said that a candidate’s position on the amendment would not have a big influence on the way that she would vote because “even if (it) does pass, federal and state laws supercede it.”
According to the “Blue Book” section of the Colorado Secretary of State web site, Amendment 44 only legalizes possession, meaning that growing, distributing or selling marijuana will still be illegal under state law.
Possession of marijuana under one ounce currently is a Class 2 petty offense punishable by a $100 fine. According to statistics from the Colorado State Report, about 3,700 adults were convicted of possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.
“Most (marijuana possession) cases are under one ounce,” said CU Police Department media director Brad Wiesley.
CUPD reported that in the 2005-2006 school year, there were nine marijuana-related felonies, meaning that the person was selling or distributing marijuana or was in possession of large quantities of the drug. There were a reported five misdemeanors, meaning that the person had over one ounce of marijuana. There were 45 total petty offenses related to marijuana. These statistics do not include warnings that were issued and not recorded.
If Amendment 44 passes, CUPD will still have the power to issue warnings, but its officers will have ways of measuring amounts of marijuana.
Wiesley said that the CU Police Department has “no position at all” on this amendment and that they will enforce any laws that pass during this election.
Other student groups are reluctant to take a position on Amendment 44.
“The College Democrats actually aren’t taking a position on Amendment 44,” said Amy Hogue, a junior Spanish and communication major and president of the College Democrats.
Amendment 44 is a divided issue, with students arguing for and against the amendment.
“Personally, I am voting no on 44, but several of my officers are voting yes on 44, and I respect that completely,” Hogue said.
The College Republicans did not return phone calls for this article.
Information for this article was taken from theColorado Secretary of State web site, and further details on this amendment and others can be found there.