Marijuana legalization qualifies for Colo. ballot

DENVER (BP) -- An initiative that would legalize the recreational usage of marijuana in Colorado has qualified for the November ballot, meaning two states now will decide this fall whether to pass such a landmark proposal.

Citizens in Colorado and Washington state will decide whether they want to make their states the first in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana. The Colorado initiative officially qualified for the ballot Monday (Feb. 27). It will be called Amendment 64.

Although 17 states allow medicinal marijuana, no state has legalized its recreational use.

"Coloradans have a chance to make history this November, and we believe they are ready to do just that," Mason Tvert, a supporter of the initiative, said in a statement, according to the Denver Post.

The proposals in Colorado and Washington will allow those ages 21 and older to use pot recreationally.

Washington's initiative will be known as I-502.

Opponents say legalizing the recreational usage of marijuana would lead to an increase in drugged drivers and road deaths, an uptick in marijuana's usage among teens and young adults and an increase in crime statewide. They also say the black market for marijuana would not disappear, as some supporters contend.

Dalhousie University in Canada released an analysis of nine studies showing that drivers who had used marijuana within three hours of driving were twice as likely to cause a wreck, particularly fatal ones, the Associated Press reported.


Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.