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Summit Daily News: Breckenridge pot initiative proponents kick off voting
Written by Caitlin Row   
Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Early voting in Summit County started Monday, Nov. 3 is Election Day

Sensible Colorado is a state nonprofit working to create a system where drug use becomes a health issue, not a crime issue. According to its website, the organization wants to do this through “innovative drug policy reform” focusing on education, treatment opportunities and reductions in “incarcerations, crime, drug use by minors, and strains on the judicial system and police departments.”

Gary Lindstrom — a long-time Breckenridge resident, law enforcement veteran, and former state representative and county commissioner — also spoke in support of reform at the press conference, held on the steps of the old County Courthouse.

“Based on my experiences in law enforcement and at the state Legislature, I believe we need to stop criminalizing responsible adults who choose to relax at night with marijuana,” Lindstrom said.

According to Lindstrom, too much money and time goes into policing private marijuana use — “Our priorities are misplaced,” he said. “We should decide to save billions of dollars and use it on health care and education.”

Lindstrom also said he believes marijuana to be “an innocuous drug” — not a a gateway drug leading to cocaine and heroine use. And he noted that alcohol-related deaths have occurred in the county, but there have “been no such problems with marijuana. Let's stop punishing adults for making the safer choice when recreating.”

Vicente added that minor marijuana convictions have serious impacts on people's lives, citing difficulties with finding employment, entering the military or receiving student financial aid.

The Breckenridge Police Department didn't comment on the marijuana decriminalization ballot question.

With early voting in Summit County now open, Sensible Breckenridge — the local marijuana reform group — held a press conference Monday to promote ballot measure 2F, or the decriminalization of marijuana in the town.

Breckenridge voters will consider whether to remove criminal penalties from the Breckenridge town code for the private possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults 21 and older. The county's official election day is Nov. 3.

“It's got a really good chance at passing,” said Brian Vicente, the executive director of Sensible Colorado. But, Vicente also said the measure's supporters must mobilize this month to vote to change the town code.


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