Legalizing marijuana is no big deal to some
VAIL – If a small sampling in Vail is any indication, a group trying to legalize marijuana possession in Colorado might have some local support.The Denver-based group, Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, last week announced it will try to get a measure on the 2006 fall ballot that would legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults in the state. The petition drive to get on the ballot will start next month.Local resident Fletcher Groff thinks that’s a fine idea.”I’m 100 percent for it,” Groff said. “You don’t hear about people getting high and getting in accidents, or getting into domestic violence. People get high and get mellow.”Denver resident Rick Weber has a live-and-let-live attitude toward marijuana use.”I’m not against (legalization), and I’m not for it,” Weber said. “Whatever people want to do is fine with me.”Jim Reed’s thinking about marijuana laws has changed over the years. Reed is from Dallas, where possession of any amount of marijuana is still a felony.
“I used to be against legalization,” Reed said. “But there are so many people in jail for what ought to be a minor offense. But I still think pot is one of the worst things for young people, especially if they’re in school.”Texas and Colorado treat marijuana possession differently, though. In Colorado, having 1 ounce or less is a “petty offense,” which carries just a $100 fine. And that’s fine with Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger.”I wouldn’t understand wanting to reduce the penalties,” Henninger said. “From my experience with hardcore drug users, not many of them started with hardcore drugs. There’s a lot of questions in my mind about it.”Local Emily Anderson has some questions, too.”I agree with legalizing it for medical purposes,” Anderson said. “I guess I don’t have a problem with (legalization) if it’s used right.”But the local district attorney said he has one serious problem with possibly legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said his office doesn’t spend much time prosecuting possession of small amounts of marijuana now, although it does see some felony cases.”I really don’t have strong feelings about it,” Hurlbert said. “My bigger concern is there’s no test to see if someone’s driving under the influence of marijuana. It’s not like alcohol, where you can determine that.”
If the legalization issue does get on the state ballot, Hurlbert questioned how much support it might get. “I don’t know how well it would do in a lot of areas,” he said. “But whatever the voters decide is what we’ll do.”…..
… .Staff writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14624, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado