Denver became the first city in the nation to make the private use of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older as an alternative to alcohol, a far more harmful drug. By 10.45 p.m. Tuesday night, with 100% of the votes tallied, the Alcohol-Marijuana Equalization Initiative had passed 53.49% YES to 46.51% NO.
The Alcohol-Marijuana Equalization Initiative is the first local measure in the nation to draw a comparison between the harms of alcohol and marijuana.
The successful I-100 campaign focused on the vast number of health, safety and social problems associated with alcohol use, promoting marijuana use to avoid the prevalence of such problems. The campaign pointed to government reports and scholarly studies that show alcohol is a contributing factor in domestic violence, sexual assaults, and other violent crimes, as well as overdose deaths, whereas the use of marijuana has never been linked to such violent behavior and there has never been a marijuana overdose death in history.
“It is time our laws reflect the facts, and it is an indisputable fact that marijuana is safer than alcohol, both to the user and to society,” said Mason Tvert, executive director of SAFER and coordinator of the I-100 campaign. “Current laws accept and even encourage the use of alcohol over marijuana, thus pushing people toward using a more harmful substance. Why on earth would we prohibit an adult from making the rational, safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol in their own home?”
By approving the I-100, the use of marijuana in public, the use of marijuana by people under 21, driving under the influence of marijuana, and the cultivation and distribution of marijuana would all remain illegal, much like with alcohol.
Cannabis Culture will update this story as more details become available.
Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) is a Colorado-based non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the public about the harmful consequences associated with alcohol, as compared to the safer ? yet illegal ? substance: marijuana.
Here is the language of the Initiative-100
Alcohol-Marijuana Equalization Initiative
WHEREAS, according to the National Institutes of Health, an average of 317 Americans die annually as the result of alcohol overdoses; and
WHEREAS, there has never been even a single fatal marijuana overdose recorded in the medical literature, as noted by the British Medical Journal in September 2003; and
WHEREAS, according to U.S. Department of Justice, ?About 3 million crimes occur each year in which victims perceive the offender to have been drinking at the time of the offense. Among those victims who provided information about the offender?s use of alcohol, about 35% of the victimizations involved an offender who had been drinking?; and
WHEREAS, extensive research, documented in official reports by the British government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and the Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, among others, shows that — unlike alcohol — marijuana use is not generally a cause of violence or aggressive behavior and in fact tends to reduce violence and aggression;
WHEREAS, it is the intent of this ordinance to have the private adult use and possession of marijuana treated in the same manner as the private adult use and possession of alcohol;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER
TEXT OF PROPOSED INITIATIVE
(proposed addition in all caps, underlined)
Amend Art. 5, Div. 3, Sec. 38-175 (Revised Municipal Code)
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person UNDER THE AGE OF TWENTY-ONE (21) to possess one (1) ounce or less of marihuana. If such person is under the age of eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the offense, no jail sentence shall be imposed and any fine imposed may be supplanted by treatment as required by the court.
Contact: Mason Tvert, Executive Director