Adams County Board of County Commissioners added its support to an extensive list of names and organizations that oppose a statewide ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana use.
The commissioners approved a resolution Monday supporting the Vote No on 64 campaign against Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012. Commissioner W.R. “Skip” Fischer had been excused from the meeting and did not vote on the issue.
The amendment, which will be considered by Coloradans on the November ballot, would make Colorado the first state in the country to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes and would enact a tax to benefit the state’s public school capital construction assistance fund. If approved by voters, Amendment 64 would amend the Colorado Constitution to include a section in Article 18 that would legalize the growth, transport and sale of marijuana for recreational use; permit anyone 21 years old or older to possess and consume up to 1 ounce of marijuana; and allow for the operation of marijuana retail stores, manufacturing facilities and testing facilities statewide.
Increased harm to the state’s education environment, threats to workplace safety programs, increased impaired driving risks, and conflicts with federal law were among the reasons cited in the resolution to oppose Amendment 64.
To date, at least seven other counties — Weld, Garfield, Elbert, Delta, Prowers, Mesa and Logan counties — have issued similar resolutions. Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr testified that Adams County has seen a 54 percent increase in marijuana use among “school-aged kids.”
What’s more, he said, driving under the influence of drugs has increased by 400 percent over the past few years.
“This is likely one of the more profound issues that we will deal with when it comes to criminal justice in my career and my lifetime,” Darr said. “It’s huge when you consider the impacts on kids, the educational community and the medical community. Marijuana is still considered to be an illegal substance on the federal level, and the conflicts are likely to be huge.”
Phillip Snow, a Yes on 64 campaign representative, spoke in favor of the ballot initiative and said Darr’s information was “one-sided, inaccurate and misleading.”
Under the proposed law, he said, municipalities and employers may continue to ban marijuana facilities and employee consumption.
“It would give people the freedom to make a choice about how they want to enjoy their recreational time, whether that may be drinking a beer or using marijuana,” Snow said. “It would allow people to make the choice for themselves.”