Poll: Voters favor amendment to legalize marijuana in Colo.

The latest poll about a state amendment that would legalize small amounts of marijuana shows the measure winning by a 47 to 38 percent margin.

Amendment 64, on the November ballot, would allow residents to legally use or possess less than 1 ounce of marijuana.

Public Policy Polling found these results in a survey of 1,001 likely voters from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percent.

A similar motion was rejected by Colorado voters in 2006, with 59 percent opposing legalization to 41 percent in favor.

Will Furse, who is running unopposed for district attorney for the 22nd Judicial District that includes Cortez, conceded that the district’s caseload could be lighter if possession of marijuana and usage no longer were crimes.

Furse said he is a big believer in sovereign states or states making their own laws.

Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell strongly opposes legalizing marijuana. He said he hopes voters will not support the amendment that would make Colorado the only state in the union to legalize the drug.

Spruell said he was a little surprised to hear the latest poll numbers because he thought the majority of the state would oppose it.

Possession or use of marijuana still would be illegal on the federal level. Spruell said legalizing the drug could cause the state to lose federal funding, and he worries that legalization could turn Colorado into a destination for users.

C.J. Murphy, owner of True Earth Medicine, a medical marijuana dispensary in Cortez, said he does not think legalizing the drug would affect his business much, partly because the law would be so ambiguous.

Murphy said the people benefitting the most would be patients who don’t want to or do not have the money to visit doctors to obtain medical-marijuana cards, which is the current law in the state. He said people would be able to come to a facility to purchase the drug with or without a medical marijuana card, so he believes his business could increase if the amendment passes.

Murphy believes if the amendment is approved, selling the drug will be treated similar to how liquor stores operate.

“I think it will probably get passed, but it will not have the repercussions many think it will,” he said.

Part of the reasoning, he said, is because medical marijuana legalization now is in its third year, and this has given the government more information about how to get a handle on the drug.

“Colorado is not entering into this (blind),” he said, adding that Colorado passed California as the state leading the charge on the drug initiative because of the laws and how it is controlled.

“There is more legislation here,” Murphy said. “We are leaps and bounds above California.”

The amendment would only allow people 21 and older to purchase marijuana.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com

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