Coors Opposes States' Rights, Medical Marijuana

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Coors Opposes States' Rights, Medical Marijuana

by Ari Armstrong, October 1, 2004

See Medical Marijuana in Colorado for links to more articles about this issue.

Pete Coors, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate and one of the world's most prominent manufacturers of the recreational drug alcohol, said he opposes the medical use of marijuana, even though Colorado voters legalized medical marijuana in 2000.

Today Coors's spokesperson Cinamon Watson said, "Pete is opposed to the medical marijuana." She said Coors offered no explanation for his position, but instead replied to her "yes or no question."

Ironically, while Coors opposes states' rights on the matter of medical marijuana, he has supported states' rights in other matters. In a June 24 story about the drinking age for The Washington Times, Valerie Richardson wrote, "Mr. Coors said he resented the federal government's intrusion in what he sees as a state issue. During the 1980s, the federal Transportation Department threatened to withhold highway funds unless legislatures raised the drinking age in their states to 21." Richardson quoted Coors, "I haven't said that 18 is a better age. I'm saying we should reopen the debate and let the citizens decide, without bureaucratic intervention."

In Colorado, the citizens did decide -- in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. Yet on May 27, "bureaucratic intervention" led to around 20 armed agents storming the home of Dana May, an Aurora man licensed to grow marijuana for his own medical use. May suffers severe pain from reflex sympathetic dystrophy. May's lawyer, Robert Corry, successfully sued to have May's growing equipment returned, and May was not prosecuted.

Coors has also expressed skepticism about the expanded federal role in firearms legislation.

Ken Salazar, Coors's Democratic opponent, also opposed medical marijuana. In 2001, Attorney General Salazar, along with Governor Bill Owens, warned, "[W]e remind anyone intending to register for the program -- as well as physicians considering prescribing marijuana to their patients -- that it remains a federal crime to possess, manufacture, distribute or dispense marijuana. To fulfill our duties under federal law, we are today contacting the Colorado Medical Association to remind the physicians of Colorado that doctors who dispense marijuana for any purpose risk federal criminal prosecution. We are also writing the acting United States Attorney for the District of Colorado to encourage the criminal prosecution of anyone who attempts to use this state program to circumvent federal anti-drug laws." Colorado law specifies doctors may issue a recommendation for medical marijuana, not a prescription.

The Libertarian in the race, Richard Randall, supports Colorado's medical-marijuana law. In a June 16 release, Randall, who also serves as Legislative Director for the Libertarian Party of Colorado, said, "It is time to end the federal interference in state medical marijuana laws." Referring to another licensed user, Randall added, "It is time to end the immoral persecution of Micah Moffett, a man who has done nothing wrong but whose unimaginable suffering is something that we, as a society, can stop."

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