Supporters of looser marijuana laws in Colorado have filed two more proposed initiatives aiming for the November ballot.
The two new initiatives — one that would legalize marijuana possession for any purpose and one that would expand the types of conditions for which a person can receive medical marijuana — add to a list of three initiatives already filed. One of those previously filed initiatives would legalize limited marijuana possession and has already qualified for the ballot. The other two are still seeking the needed language-approvals or signatures.
Of the newly filed initiatives, one — now known as Proposed Initiative No. 70 — would make it a constitutional right to possess up to four ounces of marijuana for people 21 and older. The initiative would also allow for marijuana to be sold in stores that are regulated like tobacco businesses.
The other new initiative, Proposed Initiative No. 65, would give doctors discretion to recommend marijuana for any medical condition. Currently, a doctor must diagnose a patient with one of eight medical conditions in order for the patient to qualify for medical marijuana. A valid doctor’s recommendation is all that is needed under state law to be able to use medical marijuana legally. Those new initiatives join an already crowded field of marijuana measures vying for attention.
One initiative — which supporters call the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012 — would legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for people 21 and older and allow adults to grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes. The measure also allows for pot shops but allows communities to ban the businesses. The measure last month qualified for the ballot, after a costly signature-gathering effort. The two remaining proposed initiatives would legalize possession of any amount of marijuana.
One of those initiatives, dubbed by supporters the Relief for the Possession of Cannabis Act, would prohibit judges from imposing penalties on anyone for marijuana possession. Its backers are currently collecting signatures and have until July 18 to turn them in.
The last initiative, known as Legalize 2012, would create in Colorado’s Constitution a fundamental right to marijuana for people 18 and older and would also allow for retail marijuana sales. That initiative is still working through the state’s language-approval process.
It is uncertain how many of the initiatives will make the ballot. Campaigns must collect more than 86,000 signatures from valid Colorado voters to make the ballot, and efforts that do typically have significant financial backing. Supporters of the Regulate Marijuana initiative, for instance, have received at least $190,000 from national marijuana-reform groups, according to their most recent finance reports. Campaigns backing the other four initiatives do not appear to have filed finance reports, making it difficult to gauge their support.
Presidential election years, when a broader cross-section of the population turns out to vote, are typically seen as the most fertile ground for pro-marijuana politics, and supporters of relaxed marijuana laws have this year approached the election with particular gusto. With five separate, proposed marijuana initiatives, Colorado now matches California in proposed-initiative quantity. However, as in Colorado, it is uncertain how many of the marijuana initiatives in California will make the ballot.
Meanwhile, a marijuana-legalization measure in Washington state has also qualified for the ballot.
None of these initiatives will do anything to change federal law, which makes all marijuana possession a crime.