Bill Ritter Vs. The Counter Culture

Today, Bill Ritter is the Democrat’s greatest hope in taking control of the Governor’s office-an executive position that would control political maneuvers like vetoes and court appointments. In a new poll, he is ten points ahead of his Republican opponent, and successfully went unchallenged in a primary to determine a Democratic candidate.

But there is one group Ritter won’t be reaching out to this November, and that group consists of those who want marijuana possession legalized.“When he was a teenager he did experiment a few times,” said Evan Dreyer, a Ritter spokesman. “This is something that was reported ten years ago when Bill was running for re-election for [Denver] District Attorney.”

Dreyer confirmed that Ritter used marijuana when he was young, even though he is now against legalizing small amounts of the drug, as a ballot initiative will seek to do this November.

“He spent many many years as a prosecutor, and has seen the harm that drugs can do to people’s lives,” said Dreyer.

The group campaigning to legalize the procession of up to an ounce of marijuana however, doesn’t see it the same way.

“Clearly we think it’s hypocritical that  Bill Ritter has used marijuana on multiple occasions, yet he’s come out opposed to making it legal ,” said Mason Tvert, a spokesman with Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), the group who put the measure on the ballot.

“There’s no doubt that he wouldn’t be where he was today if he had been arrested and prosecuted for it.”

According to federals laws, marijuana convictions can inhibit eligibility for college financial aid or job prospects in government.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.

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