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Cannabis Reform in Colorado 1998

In 1998, two cannabis reform initiatives were proposed in Colorado.  The Compassionate Therapeutic Cannabis Act was written by local reformers and put the needs of the patients first.  The Medical Marijuana Initiative (MMI) was written by out of state public relations professionals and funded by billionaire George Soros through a group called Americans for Medical Rights, based in Santa Monica, California.  The CTCA was never circulated, but was written as an alternative and model for others.   The MMI did not make it on the ballot for the 1998 ballot, but was ruled in late 1999 to have sufficient signatures to but it on the Year 2000 ballot.

Colorado Therapeutic Model
Compassionate Therapeutic Cannabis Act of 1998

This ballot initiative was never circulated,
but it is presented as a model for others on how to write a good initiative that puts the needs of patients first.

Colorado Citizens for Compassionate Cannabis
P.O. Box 729, Nederland, CO 80466
Vmail: (303) 448-5640

Criticisms of Colorado Law Enforcement Model/Amendment 19
promoted by Americans for Medical Rights
Santa Monica, California

Amendment 19: Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative in Colorado: Is it good medicine? (10/19/98)

State won't count marijuana vote , Rocky Mountain News (10/17/98)

"Blow dealt to pot initiative", Denver Post (10/6/98)

CMR Medical Marijuana Initiative Falls Short in Colorado (8/7/98)

Why the AMR initiatives are bad medicine

Colorado 1998
Amendment 19 - Medical Marijuana
YES: 57%
NO: 43%
(This vote does not count; Amendment 19 was not enacted)

Even though the Colorado Supreme Court ordered the votes for Amendment 19 not to be counted because it was ruled that the proponents had not collected enough signatures on the petition to secure a place on the ballot, some counties are reporting the votes cast for Amendment 19.

Voter Guide
Colorado's Amendment 19

Cannabis-related Ballot Initiatives and Referenda
to be voted on in the November 3, 1998 General Election

Compiled by Colorado Citizens for Compassionate Cannabis
October 10, 1998

Several initiatives will appear on the ballot this year in various states.  Voters in Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, D.C. and Washington State will be decide on the issue of medicinal cannabis.  Additionally, voters in Oregon will decide on a referendum to block the recriminalization of marijuana.  Voters in Arizona will decide on a referendum to block the gutting of the Proposition 200, the Drug Medicalization, Prevention, and Control Act, passed by 65% of Arizona voters in 1996.

Medicinal Cannabis Initiatives (to be voted on 11/3/98)
These initiatives need to be divided into two different models for allowing use of cannabis by patients.

1) Therapeutic Model (Washington D.C. and Washington State)
These initiatives were modeled on the ideas embodied in the California Compassionate Use Act (CCUA - Prop. 215) passed by California voters in 1996.  These initiatives were written by the local grassroots patients and patient advocates and put the needs of the patient first.

2) Law Enforcement Model (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Nevada)
These initiatives were written by Americans for Medical Rights to appease law enforcement concerns about the CCUA.  Since this model diverges so greatly from the California model, many patients have serious concerns about these initiatives.

We asked four questions about each initiative:
1) Does the initiative allow patients to possess and cultivate an adequate supply of medicine?
The City Council of Oakland, California, adopted a standard of six pounds of cannabis and 144 plants as necessary to maintain an adequate supply for patients.  This was based on the amount of cannabis currently supplied by the federal government to eight patients in the Investigative New Drug program.

2) Does the initiative allow for legal distribution to patients?
Legal distribution is important to protect patients from having to obtain their medicine from the black market.

3) Does the initiative protect patients who are not registered with the state?
Many of the initiatives that follow the law enforcement model require a patient to register with the state to receive protection of the law.  Many civil libertarians and AIDS patients are concerned that the confidentiality of the registry is not guaranteed and that law enforcement would use the registry to target medicinal cannabis users for harrassment.

4) Is the initiative a constitutional or statutory law?
Constitutional amendments are much harder to change than statutory laws are.

Colorado's Amendment 19 – “Medical use of marijuana for persons suffering from debilitating medical conditions”

Sponsors: Coloradans for Medical Rights

Text of Initiative

Allows patients to possess and cultivate an adequate supply? NO, allows patients to possess only two ounces and cultivate only three plants.

Allows for distribution to patients? NO.

Protects patients who are not registered with the state? NO.

Constitutional or Statutory? Constitutional.

Colorado Secretary of State 

The Therapeutic Model of Medicine vs. The Law Enforcement Model of Medicine

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