Up | November 04, 2012
>>> legalize marijuana and director of saferchoice.org. mason, we have seen an initiative like this in the past. there was one in california that failed. i'm curious what lessons you learned in the campaign you are running in colorado that has you poised to be on the preface of getting this passed.
>> thanks for having me. ultimately, what we have seen in colorado is an ongoing discussion about marijuana, about the fact that it's less harmful than alcohol and the failed policy. it's occurred over the last eight years or so here, thanks to ballot initiatives . we are now at a point where people are ready take that step. they are ready move forward and take on a more sensible approach.
>> this is the capstone on what has been a long trajectory of public opinion . i want to show national numbers here. in 1969 , there was a time when people were smoking pot , 12% favored legalization and 84% opposed it. look at that. the only other graph that looks like that is marriage equality . it's the only other issue you see those numbers. 50% for and 46% opposed. the conversation you are going to have in colorado is explicitly about alcohol. you seem focused about making the comparison about the two and tieing marijuana prohibition to alcohol prohibition . why is that what you decided to go with?
>> everyone in the country realized the failure of alcohol prohibition . it was ineffective, led to organized crime , caused more problems than it solved. the same with marijuana prohibition . we are trying to get people to understand that marijuana is an intoxicating substance like alcohol that millions of americans choose to use and do so responsibly. laws against it are far more problematic. by getting people to understand that marijuana is, you know, a less harmful substance, getting them to understand that we could treat it more sensibly and out of the underground market and away from drug cartels , colorado and people around the nation are recognizing it's a change that is needed.
>> you have a great foil in your governor who former life ran a brew pub, if i'm not mistaken. i think at one point you referred to him ar pete as a drug dealer ?
>> it was both of them. i call them like i see them. these are guys who are prominent political figures who made a living selling a product that is objectively more harmful than marijuana. it's hypercritical. it's bad public policy . it's time for a change .
>> you put together an interesting strange bed foal lows coalition. i want to play a radio ad that is running in colorado . former congressman who is known best on this program for some of the really awful and obscene things he said about immigration. very conservative, very right wing member of congress. he's supporting your initiative. here is the ad.
>> this is former congressman tom. i want to talk to you about a failed government program that wastes tens of millions of dollars annually. it steers to mexico. sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? i have just described marijuana prohibition . it's why i'll vote yes on amendment 64. we know the experiment with alcohol prohibition was a disaster. it ensured criminals profitted from the sale of alcohol. they duped us into supporting a similar prohibition of marijuana. it can be used safely and responsibly by adults. it is time to decide whether you want limited law enforcement going to adult marijuana users or preventing crime that is cause harm to others. it's an easy choice. it's why i'm voting yes on amendment 64. it's paid for to regulate marijuana.
>> you call it the campaign to regulate marijuana like alcohol. it's the most sensible i have ever heard him sound.
>> i want to talk about the strategy of per suing this as a ballot initiative . what are things we want in direct democracy and what are things we don't want right after this break. out