The push to legalize marijuana in Colorado has already begun, and starting Friday, Colorado Springs will get its first real taste of the campaign. A pro-marijuana group called Citizens for Responsible Legalization has paid for a TV spot that will air for about a month in Colorado Springs, and has also paid for several mail ads promoting legalization.
The 30-second video, titled “Coffee shop,” features an ordinary-looking soccer mom sitting at a table at (surprise!) a coffee shop. The woman suggests a “new approach” to marijuana, and suggests legalizing marijuana could be a gold mine.
“It’s not that I like it personally, but it’s time for a conversation about legalizing marijuana. It’s a $400 million industry in Colorado, and we get no benefit,” she says. “What if we regulate it? Have background checks for retailers, stiff penalties for selling to minors. We could tax it to fund schools, law enforcement, health care. And we’ll control the money, not the gangs. Let’s talk about a new approach.”
Attorney Brian Vicente, who represents CRL, said the group is testing the political waters specifically in El Paso County.
“We want to see if this moves people,” said Vicente. “We’re just going to kind of see how it goes in Colorado Springs. This is a reasonably-sized city, with a lot of common sense.”
Though CRL is funded by both local and national organizations, Vicente said the primary backer of the group is Peter Lewis, who founded Progressive Auto Insurance.
Coloradans will most likely face a ballot question next year that would legalize marijuana possession, but CRL doesn’t have anything to do with the campaign for the initiative. CRL does, however, share the same goal, said Vicente.