This year the voters of Colorado will get to decide whether or not to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in their state. This afternoon Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler certified that the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol had turned in a sufficient number of valid signatures to qualify their initiative. Barring successful legal challenge, this means the marijuana legalization initiative will go on the November general election ballot as “Amendment 64.”
If the initiative is approved by the voters it will make the personal use, possession, and limited home-growing of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older under Colorado law. The measure would create a system to regulate and tax the retail market for marijuana similar to the one currently in place for alcohol. In addition the measure would allow for the growth and processing of industrial hemp in the state.
Last month the campaign had turned in thousands more signatures than they thought would be necessary, but due to a higher than expected number of invalid signatures the Secretary of State’s office concluded the campaign came up just under 3,000 signature short. In accordance with state law the campaign was given an opportunity to collect more signatures to make up the short fall, and they successfully did so.
This is now the second state marijuana legalization initiative to qualify for the November ballot this year. In addition to Colorado, last month I-502, a marijuana legalization initiative in Washington State was certified as having sufficient signatures for it to qualify for the ballot. So 2012 could potentially be an historic year for the marijuana reform movement.