If this batshit ballot measure gets passed, it could mean the end of Colorado's legal weed

If this batshit ballot measure gets passed, it could mean the end of Colorado's legal weed

VicesJune 17, 2016 By Isabelle Kohn

For the past two-and-a-half years since legalization, many Coloradans have existed under the blissful presumption that recreational weed would be a permanent fixture in Colorado's rapidly evolving landscape. After all, Amendment 64 was passed into law. We voted to legalize weed. Why would anything change that?

Yet, while the majority of the state has been out enjoying the freedoms and financial bounty legal weed has brought home, a small but really pissed off group of marijuana critics has been banding together in an effort to pass legislation that limits or destroys Colorado's legal weed laws. The general consensus among these pot opponents? Weed shouldn't be legal. But if it has to be, it needs to be less potent and have more stringent labeling.

So far, they've tried and failed to pass several measures limiting legal weed's potency, but now, they've come out with a legislative A-bomb that, if passed, could signal the end of legal weed as we know it.

Dubbed Amendment 139,  the new proposal would not only significantly limit the potency of marijuana products to the point that it would make 80 percent of all products on the market illegal, but it would ban current models of vape pen and some edibles as well. On top of that, it would enforce mandatory product labels that warn weed can cause "permanent loss of brain abilities." No conclusive scientific evidence has come out to support that claim, so these labels would  be using nothing more than scare tactics to propagate the mistaken belief that weed is dangerous. A little Reefer Madness, don't you think?

To date, this is the most sweeping effort set forth by weed critics to attack Colorado's (very highly functioning) system of recreational pot.

“The initiative could devastate Colorado’s fastest-growing industry,” Roy Bingham, head of pot-industry tracking firm BDS Analytics, said in a statement.

So, why is this scary? After all, other efforts to derail legal weed have tried and failed before. What's different about this time around?

Simply put, it's that legalizing such an intensely destructive measure wouldn't really be that hard. With previous failed legislation, there was less concern because the measures themselves contained much less broadly destructive proposals. With Amendment 139, it's an all-or-nothing situation that calls into question not one small aspect of legal weed like labeling or potency, but what the entire system is made of. Of course, if passed, recreational weed would still be technically "legal" here, but it would look and act completely differently that it does now.

The bill's supporters need to collect about 98,000 signatures by August 8 to put the issue on ballots where it can be voted upon. That seems like a lot of John Does, but considering that 5.3 million people live in Colorado, these maniacal weed opponent weirdos technically only need signatures from a little over one percent of Colorado's population to get it on paper. Considering that 38 percent of Colorado voters opposed the passing of Amendment 64 back in 2014, getting those same people to rally behind this sweeping measure doesn't seem all that impossible.

Of course, provided the issue made it to ballot, it would still need to voted on in a general election to be passed as law. Given that marijuana is almost entirely responsible for Colorado's economic boom and the surge in job creation, as well as that banning 80 percent of weed products on the market would most certainly create a robust black market, we highly doubt it would pass, but ... if it did? We'd all have to move to Washington.

If the petition is successful, it would be the most significant attempt to roll back access to weed in any of the four states and District of Columbia that have legalized recreational pot. As a state with a legacy of legalization, it would be pretty darkly ironic to also be the first state to destroy everything we've created but ... as long as you guys keep utilizing recreational weed and voting, we should be fine. Doesn't mean we're not going to scope out the Seattle Craigslist, but ... we should be fine.