Colorado Democratic Party supports bill to treat marijuana like alcohol

Colorado, home to the mile-high city, seems like it’s got a real chance of passing the most progressive state law on marijuana legalization to date. If passed, the Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act would do just what it sounds like—repeal marijuana’s prohibition and hold it to the same rules and regulations as alcohol. Weed would be allowed to be sold and taxed, just like its sister substance.

According to the Denver Westword, Colorado’s Democratic Party met last Saturday at its convention and officially supported Amendment 64. While the communications director for the state Democratic Party was careful to note this isn’t an official “endorsement,” it only falls short of endorsement due to some technicality about endorsements only being made at committees rather than conventions. Bottom line is, Democratic lawmakers support the act.

What’s even more incredible: Republicans and Independents support it, too. Just last month Republican state lawmakers supported the act at their assembly, and it’s apparently got support from independents as well.

“While there may be more support among Democrats and independents, this is quickly becoming a popular position,” says Mason Tvert, the man who got the campaign moving with a petition last year. “Supporting an end to marijuana prohibition and regulating marijuana like alcohol is a position that spans the political and ideological spectrum.”

The Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act started gaining momentum last year when a group of legalization advocates led by Tvert started a petition that went viral. A year later, they may be on the verge of the most major marijuana legalization victory in a century.

The bill benefits from a stroke of great branding—associating marijuana with alcohol is a smart way of undoing the stigmas associated with marijuana, but it’s also historically significant: Prohibition of marijuana and alcohol were historically entwined. Marijuana prohibition laws first started popping up on the state level in 1911 and gained steam as the prohibitionists succeeded in prohibiting alcohol nationally in 1919. Arguing that they should still be treated with equal cultural weight is not only reasonable but historically accurate.

Polls have been showing a more progressive attitude toward marijuana legalization for decades. But it’s still impressive to hear this from Cindy Lowery-Graber, chair of the Denver Democratic Party: “This is a mainstream issue. Polls show that more than 60 percent of Democrats and a solid majority of independents believe marijuana should be treated like alcohol. A broad coalition is forming in support of Amendment 64 and I am proud to say that it now includes the Colorado Democratic Party.”

Given the Obama Administration’s ambivalent stance on marijuana, recently more aggressive than lenient, it’ll be interesting to see if federal agents show up to start busting Coloradans buying weed legally if this bill passes in November.