Amend. 62 supporters offer own ‘Blue Book’

By Marianne Goodland
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

This week, advocates for Amendment 62 and supporters of legalized marijuana are offering their own versions of the Legislative Council-produced voter guide, known as the “Blue Book.”

Tuesday, Personhood Colorado, which recently lost a lawsuit in Denver District Court that originally sought to halt the printing of the Blue Book, offered its own version as it pertains to Amendment 62, the Personhood Amendment. Personhood supporters held a press conference on the west steps of the state capitol to tear up copies of the Blue Book and to ask voters to go to a new website, www.bluebookalternative.com, for what they said is the real truth on the November ballot measure.

The website offers more than just information on Amendment 62; it presents the supporters’ positions on five of the six numbered measures on the ballot, excluding Proposition 102. The website says, “With Colorado’s Blue Book Alternative you can avoid our government’s conflict of interest and bureaucratic bias, and get information about ballot initiatives straight from the proponents.”

Children of Amendment 62 supporters, led by their parents, tear up copies of the Legislative Council’s Blue Book following a press conference on the west steps of the state capitol Tuesday. Amendment 62 supporters announced a website they say provides information that was excluded from the Blue Book on five ballot measures.
Photo by Marianne Goodland/The Colorado Statesman

Keith Mason, co-founder of Personhood USA, said the Blue Book “is full of garbage,” and tossed his into a nearby trashcan. His wife, Jennifer, communications director for the group, said the Blue Book “has lies in it and is printed with our tax dollars. The Colorado Legislative Council has committed fraud against Colorado voters,” she said. “We need to have our say with accurate and fair information.”

Jennifer Mason claimed the Blue Book contains a number of false statements. She cited several, including those that said passage of Amendment 62 would limit the ability of individuals and families to make health care decisions; would prevent women from getting treatment for miscarriages, tubal pregnancies, cancer and infertility.

“It’s impossible for Amendment 62 to interfere with a woman’s health care, so long as that health care does not require” an abortion, she said.

Gualberto Garcia Jones, director of Personhood Colorado, referred to the recent court loss in which Denver District Court Judge Robert S. Hyatt denied the group’s request for an injunction and a press release from the Legislative Council informing voters that the Blue Book was in litigation. Garcia Jones said the judge, “in collusion with the state, completely ignored our claims” in his ruling and said Personhood Colorado still planned an appeal. They have 45 days from the date of Hyatt’s decision, Sept. 30, to do so.

The press conference also featured comments from Doug Campbell, former American Constitution Party candidate for lieutenant governor. Campbell, who said he had worked on Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101, said the analysis of those measures done by the Legislative Council staff was improper, then proceeded to tear up his Blue Book and toss it in the trash.

Following the press conference, supporters tore up a number of Blue Books and also tossed them in the garbage can.

The only poll to date on the issue, published by The Denver Post on Oct. 4, shows the measure failing by a more than 2-1 margin, one month before the election. The poll found 15 percent of likely voters would support it, 35 percent would oppose but 50 percent were still undecided.

Fofi Mendez, campaign director for the “No on 62”, told The Colorado Statesman Tuesday the high number of undecided voters means her campaign must continue to work to educate voters. Amendment 62 “has far-reaching consequences for Colorado families,” she said, such as banning birth control pills and abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, and prohibiting the use of emergency contraception. Mendez also said that the press conference Tuesday and the failed lawsuit “indicate that proponents do not believe their messages are being heard or received well by the voters.”

Wednesday, the SAFER Education Fund announced it was offering its own voter guide. The SAFER guide, which can be found at www.safer.org under “Blog” is a list of candidates who support or oppose laws that would allow adults 21 years and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana without criminal penalty. The candidates surveyed are running for governor, attorney general, state House and state Senate.

Four gubernatorial candidates responded to the SAFER question; frontrunner and Democratic candidate John Hickenlooper was opposed, as was Republican Dan Maes. American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo and Libertarian candidate Jaimes Brown both supported it.

Two attorneys general candidates responded, with Democrat Stan Garnett supporting and Republican and incumbent John Suthers opposed.

Among 37 candidates for the state senate, nine responded to the survey. Five Democrats supported it, including incumbent Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver; two opposed it, including incumbent Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver. Two Republican candidates also said they supported it.

In the House, out of 125 Democratic, Republican and Libertarian candidates, 29 responded to the question. Seventeen said “yes” including current Reps. Jeanne Labuda, D-Denver; Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver; Joe Miklosi, D-Denver; Debbie Benefield, D-Aurora; and Larry Liston, R-Colorado Springs. Seven candidates said “no,” including newly appointed Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora.

Five were undecided: Reps. Jim Kerr, R-Littleton, Su Ryden, D-Aurora and John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, who said that while he favored eliminating criminal penalties for possession he was undecided about regulation. Several candidates said they wanted voter input on the matter.

SAFER Voter Education Fund Executive Director Mason Tvert blasted Hickenlooper for his opposition. In a Wednesday press release Tvert noted that it has been five years since Denver “became the first in the nation to remove all penalties for adult marijuana possession,” but said Hickenlooper “has yet to explain why it was okay for him to make a fortune selling alcohol, yet it should be a crime for adults to use a far safer substance instead.”

Tvert pointed out that Garnett supported regulating possession and asked why Hickenlooper disagreed.

Marianne@coloradostatesman.com