DENVER — Proponents of marijuana have argued for years that the drug is safer than alcohol, both to individuals and society. But a ballot proposal to legalize possession of marijuana in small amounts in Colorado, likely to be on the November ballot, is putting the two intoxicants back into the same sentence, urging voters to “regulate marijuana like alcohol,” as the ballot proposition’s title puts it.
Given alcohol’s long and checkered history — the tens of thousands of deaths each year, the social ravages of alcoholism — backers of the pro-marijuana measure concede there is a risk of looking as if they have cozied up too much, or are comparable, to old demon rum.
“Why add another vice, right?” said Mason Tvert, a co-director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which has led the ballot drive. “But we’re not adding a vice; we’re providing an alternative.”
The goal of legalization, Mr. Tvert added, is not to make access to marijuana easier, but rather, “to make our communities safer by regulating this substance, taking it out of the underground market, controlling it and better keeping it away from young people.”
Mason Tvert, along with coauthors Paul Armentano and Steve Fox, have long been making the case that Marijuana is Safer than alcohol. For more on their insights into this benign botanical and the silly politics that keep it illegal, check out the book!