Officials mark 10 years since Colorado’s historic marijuana vote

Amendment 64, which created the first recreational marijuana market in the world, celebrated its 10 Year Anniversary this Sunday. “It’s a milestone for Colorado, the country, the world," said Gov. Jared Polis during the event. "The launch of the market really proved that we can end prohibition and replace it with a sensible system that regulates marijuana." Photo

Sunday, Nov. 6 marked the 10th anniversary of Colorado’s historic vote to legalize marijuana, establishing a regulated, adult-use cannabis market. Amendment 64 was approved Nov. 6, 2012, and took effect the following month. The citizen-initiated constitutional amendment legalized possession and home cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana for adults 21 and older. It also directed the state legislature to establish a regulatory framework and taxes for adult-use marijuana.

On Sunday, Gov. Jared Polis, U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper (who was governor in 2012), Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and other current and former state officials joined Amendment 64 leaders at the History Colorado Center to commemorate the milestone. The event was hosted by Vicente Sederberg LLP and VS Strategies, whose leaders played key roles in drafting, campaigning for and implementing Amendment 64. Vicente Sederberg LLP is headed by Brian Vicente, who was the campaign co-director of Amendment 64, along with Mason Tvert, partner at VS Strategies.

Hickenlooper and Hancock were previously critics of legalization — both opposed Amendment 64 in 2012. During the event, they acknowledged their concerns never materialized, and they expressed support for legal cannabis in Colorado, extolling the state’s responsible regulatory system and its role as a national and global leader in cannabis policy.

“My reasons for being opposed to it stemmed from very personal stories of watching family members struggle with addiction,” said Mayor Michael Hancock. “Today I stand here, 10 years later, proud to tell you that Denver was the first city in the nation, actually in the world, to implement a responsible regulatory framework for recreational marijuana. And to do it right. … I’m a convert today. I was wrong 10 years ago. You can do this right, and you can do it responsibly.” 

“Marijuana is no longer a taboo subject, and a much more open public dialogue is taking place, which is a good thing,” added Tvert. “Officials are reexamining and refining laws and regulations to improve effectiveness and efficiency. Consumers know more about cannabis and its effects. Parents are having more direct and honest conversations about cannabis with their kids. Colorado is proof that regulating cannabis works.”

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