Colo. Candidates’ Pot Views Are Revealed

By Gene Davis, DENVER DAILY NEWS

More than 20 candidates running for office in Colorado are in favor of legalizing marijuana for adults, according to a report released yesterday.

Meanwhile, nearly 10 candidates oppose legalization, and the majority didn’t respond to a survey issued by the social welfare lobbying arm of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), a pro-marijuana legalization group.

Mason Tvert’s SAFER asked every Colorado candidate up for election next month whether they agree with the following policy statement: “Marijuana should be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol, and adults twenty-one (21) years of age and older should NOT be subject to criminal penalties for private use and possession of up to one (1) ounce of marijuana.” SAFER is planning on putting a pro-legalization measure on the 2012 ballot.

The majority of candidates — including most incumbents — failed or refused to respond to the one-question survey despite having more than a month to do so, according to Tvert.

“They think that they don’t need to explain where they stand on the issue, and that’s unfortunate because voters deserve to know,” said Tvert.

Tvert was equally upset yesterday with Democrat Denver Mayor and Colorado gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper for helping open a brewpub but not supporting the legalization of marijuana, which Tvert believes is safer than alcohol. Tvert is angry that Hickenlooper hasn’t discussed why he opposes the legalization of marijuana. Hickenlooper’s campaign declined comment to the Denver Daily News.

“I think that he’s a coward,” Tvert said of Hickenlooper. “Quite frankly, I think he is scared to elaborate on his position because he has become a career politician.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is also against legalizing marijuana. When asked about the possibility of generating tax revenue through the regulated sale of marijuana, Maes compared it to prostituting one’s daughter to generate revenue, according to SAFER.

However, Hickenlooper’s main opponent in the gubernatorial race, third-party candidate Tom Tancredo, is in favor of legalization. Tvert thinks Tancredo’s pro-legalization stance could help him on Election Day.

“He’s set himself aside by being a major candidate who is vocal about his support for this, and I think that could result in a lot of younger voters and non-traditional voters heading to the polls to vote in support of a candidate who shares their view on the issue,” said Tvert.

The candidates who responded to SAFER’s survey and said they are in favor, and against, legalizing marijuana came from all of the major political parties. The survey found:

State Senate candidates in favor of legalization:

» Gloria Stultz, Democrat running in District 2;

» Claudette Konola, Democrat running in District 7;

» Gary Storck, Democrat running in District 13;

» Jeanne Nicholson, Democrat running in District 16;

» Doug Smith, Republican running in District 31;

» Pat Steadman, Democrat running District 31;

» Derec Shuler, Republican running in District 34.

State Senate candidates not in favor of legalization;

» Katherine Facchiniello, Democrat running in District 30;

» Chris Romer, Democrat running in District 32;

State House candidates in favor of legalization:

» Jeanne Labuda, Democrat running in District 1;

» Mark Ferrandino, Democrat running in District 2;

» Marc Goddard, Libertarian running in District 4;

» Rick Nevin, Republican running in District 4;

» Therese-Marie O’Sullivan, Republican running in District 8;

» Joe Miklosi, Democrat running in District 9;

» Bo Shaffer, Libertarian running in District 12;

» Larry Liston, Republican running in District 17;

» Pete Lee, Democrat running in District 18;

» Jonathan Dooley, Democrat running in District 21;

» G.T. “Bud” Martin, Libertarian running in District 27;

» Debbie Benefield, Democrat running in District 29;

» Tom Janich, Republican running in District 31;

» Carol Levine, Democrat running in District 39;

» Carole Partin, Democrat running in District 47;

» Mike Kien, Libertarian running in District 57;

» Luke Korkowski, Republican running in District 61;

State House candidates not in favor of legalization:

» Robert Houdeshell, Republican running in District 13;

» Robert Ramirez, Republican running in District 29;

» Rhonda Fields, Democrat running in District 42;

» Sally Mounier, Republican running in District 42;

» Gary Semro, Democrat running in District 43;

» Steve Ivanice, Democrat running in District 57;

» J. Paul Brown, Republican running in District 59.

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