Feds Not Happy With Amendment 44

If you followed the Amendment 44 campaign last week, you might have walked away with the uncanny feeling that the only people who cared about the issue belonged to the federal government.

Three officials with the Office For National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) have traveled to Colorado recently, and each individual has not missed a chance to speak out against the amendment, which would legalize possession of an ounce of marijuana for adults. As this author reports in the Rocky Mountain Chronicle this week:

Last week, Walters traveled to Colorado Springs to speak about drug addiction and campaign against Amendment 44. The drug czar has shown up several times in Colorado since the statewide campaign began. Walters has also gone to Nevada to speak out against a similar measure that would legalize small amounts of marijuana and create a regulated system for the sale of pot.

A day after Walters’ visit to the Springs, ONDCP Deputy Director Scott Burns followed up on the message when he joined Colorado Attorney General John Suthers and other law enforcement officials in speaking out against the amendment at the Regional Meth Conference held in Grand Junction.

At another summit focusing on meth last Monday in Loveland, a third ONDCP official, John Horton, spoke out against Amendment 44, linking it to the deadly drug.

But whatever the ONDCP’s plans are, there are at least no physical records on the Colorado ballot issue.

In response to a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking information on Amendment 44 and federal involvement, the ONDCP has denied it has any records on the issue after an “extensive search.”

The request was submitted in September after another federal agency, the DEA, was in the midst of controversy over an alleged e-mail seeking help to defeat the amendment.

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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