Colorado Medical Use of Marijuana, Initiative 20 (2000)

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The Colorado Medical Use of Marijuana Initiative, also known as Initiative 20, was on the November 7, 2000 ballot in Colorado as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. This included creating an identification card system for patients and care-givers whose marijuana possession was covered by the measure.[1]

Election results

Colorado Amendment 20 (2000)
Approveda Yes 915,527 53.53%

Election results via: Colorado State Legislative Council, Ballot History


Ten years following the approval of Amendment 20, the city of Denver was reported to have 250 dispensary storefronts and 100 in the city of Boulder. The state of Colorado had issued approximately 66,000 cards that allow for card-carrying members to purchase medical marijuana. According to officials an estimated 100,000 state residents could legally buy marijuana. In August 2009 about 270 applications were submitted per day. That number however, reached an estimated 1,000 applications as of February 2010.[2]

On May 5, 2010 a medical marijuana bill (HB 1284) was approved by the Colorado State Senate bringing dispensaries closer to legal recognition and regulation. Sen. Chris Romer estimates that the new law will cause several dispensaries to close. However, Romer says it's necessary to "get the knuckleheads out of the business." Additionally, the new bill, he said, will help protect legitimate dispensaries from prosecution. Not all lawmakers agreed with the proposed bill, Sen. Scott Renfroe argues that voters never intended to legalize the retail sale of marijuana and the believes the bill is in conflict with the state constitution. The House voted 62 to 3 and the Senate voted 35 to 0 in favor of the new law.[3]

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[1]

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Constitution authorizing the medical use of marijuana for persons suffering from debilitating medical conditions, and, in connection therewith, establishing an affirmative defense to Colorado criminal laws for patients and their primary care-givers relating to the medical use of marijuana; establishing exceptions to Colorado criminal laws for patients and primary care-givers in lawful possession of a registry identification card for medical marijuana use and for physicians who advise patients or provide them with written documentation as to such medical marijuana use; defining "debilitating medical condition" and authorizing the state health agency to approve other medical conditions or treatments as debilitating medical conditions; requiring preservation of seized property interests that had been possessed, owned, or used in connection with a claimed medical use of marijuana and limiting forfeiture of such interests; establishing and maintaining a confidential state registry of patients receiving an identification card for the medical use of marijuana and defining eligibility for receipt of such a card and placement on the registry; restricting access to information in the registry; establishing procedures for issuance of an identification card; authorizing fees to cover administrative costs associated with the registry; specifying the form and amount of marijuana a patient may possess and restrictions on its use; setting forth additional requirements for the medical use of marijuana by patients less than eighteen years old; directing enactment of implementing legislation and criminal penalties for certain offenses; requiring the state health agency designated by the governor to make application forms available to residents of Colorado for inclusion on the registry; limiting a health insurer's liability on claims relating to the medical use of marijuana; and providing that no employer must accommodate medical use of marijuana in the workplace?[4]

See also

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