Will Admendment 64 Pass? If Not, Puff-Puff Pass in Amsterdam
If Colorado's Amendment 64 doesn't pass by a majority on Tuesday November 6th, 2012 you can still make a trip to the 'coffee shops' in Amsterdam. The Dutch had discussed banning tourists from the shops that openly sell cannabis, but it seems like the Dutch have changed their minds.
If you thought your future vacation to Amsterdam was going to turn into a bummer, the Dutch have saved your travel plans. They had planned on a national 'weed pass' that would have kept foreigners out of the 'coffee shops' that have cannabis and cannabis products on the menu. Effectively making the shops only accessible to local residents.
A provisional governing pact reached this week now provides cities the right to enact laws to ban tourists from the shops if they like. The pact says it only wants the Dutch in the shops. but enforcement is up to individual municipalities.
Amsterdam is opposed to the ban on the shops for tourists because they say it would hurt tourism. Some shop owners say they are fine with that policy, others want more clarification. In the Netherlands, even with marijuana technically illegal, they don't prosecute over small amounts for personal use.
The system in the Netherlands is loosely what Coloradans could be voting on with Amendement 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012. Just like in the Netherlands and with Coloradans access to medical marijuana local governments could ban retail sales, if Amendment 64 passes Tuesday.
Amsterdam has over 1000 'coffee shops' with cannabis on the menu, how many could Colorado potentially have? If Amendment 64 is voted by the people as an addition to the Colorado Constitution it really depends on how they are regulated by the state. Issues would include zoning, spacing restrictions and limits(if any) on how many could operate in any one city - if at all.
Amendment 64 provides local communities the right to allow or disallow marijuana businesses just like 77 Colorado cities and 30 counties did with medical marijuana retail sales. Currently, Colorado is home to at least 536 medical-marijuana dispensaries with a license or have applied for one, they brought the state $172 million in sales tax revenue in the fiscal year that ended in June 2011.
Some Coloradans have fears Amendment 64 will make cannabis seem 'okay' to children. In fact the law would only allow adults 21 or over to possess or consume, just like alcohol. Also, like with alcohol, there would be consequences for those who decided to drive impaired. The law could generate millions for the state and local governments as well as free up police resources and end the prohibition against marijuana in Colorado.
It would also allow Coloradans who can't get a medical marijuana card from a doctor for things like anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and Tourette's Syndrome to use marijuana legally.
Watch How Cannabis Helps a Guy with Tourette's Syndrome
Amendment 64 was already enacted in Denver where voters made recreational marijuana use legal in 2005 with 53.49% of voters backing the measure. In 2009 voters in Breckenridge, Colorado also decided to make possession of marijuana by adults legal in the city.
Currently in Colorado, except in Denver and Breckenridge, adults who possess small amounts of cannabis for non-medical use is a petty offense with a $100 fine, but Coloradans still end up with a drug arrest on their record which could ruin their lives and keep them from housing, employment, potentially ruins their reputation and things like government security clearances.
After the first presidential debate polls showed 50% of Colorado voters for the amendment, 40% against and 10% undecided. The most recent poll of Coloradans show 48% support Amendment 64 with 43% still opposed.
How did you or will you be voting on Amendment 64?