DENVER — Coloradans will decide this fall whether to make it legal under state law for anyone age 21 and over to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana.
Secretary of State Gigi Dennis announced Wednesday that backers of that ballot initiative had turned in enough signatures to qualify for the Nov. 7 general election.
The marijuana-legalization proposal will be Amendment 44 on the ballot, Dennis said.
Under Colorado law, anyone of any age caught possessing an ounce or less of marijuana can be charged with a Class 2 petty offense, punishable by a fine of up to $100.
The legalization proposal is being pushed by SAFER, an organization that asserts that, compared to alcohol, marijuana is a “Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation.”
But even if Amendment 44 passes, it still would be illegal under state law for individuals under age 21 to possess any amount of marijuana or for people 21 and older to possess amounts of more than 1 ounce.
And state laws would continue to ban growing or selling marijuana; open and public display, use or consumption of marijuana; and driving under the influence of marijuana.
SAFER spokesman Mason Tvert said alcohol abuse “contributes to social problems like fighting, sexual assault, property damage and domestic violence. Marijuana use has never been linked to these types of issues.”
Foes of SAFER’s proposal have argued that marijuana use can lead someone to other illegal drugs and thus increase overall drug abuse.