Colorado mayor to Arizona: Don’t legalize marijuana

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers urges Arizona voters to vote no on Prop 205 based on his experience with marijuana legalization in his home state. (Photo by Mindy Riesenberg/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – A Colorado mayor and law officer said making marijuana legal would threaten Arizonans’ safety, urging voters to oppose Proposition 205.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said at a news conference Tuesday more children are using drugs in Colorado since recreational marijuana was legalized four years ago.

“The problem with the leap to legalization is the message it sends to young people in terms of their perception of risk,” he said. “That’s what’s caused the dramatic increase in youth use in Colorado.”

Suthers, two Arizona law-enforcement leaders and Thornton, Colo., police Sgt. Jim Gerhardt spoke against Arizona’s Prop 205, which would allow the recreational use of marijuana within certain limits.

They said the law would make it difficult to prosecute marijuana-impaired drivers and would spur organized crime. Colorado Springs still bans retail sales of recreational marijuana, according to the Denver Post.

“Anyone who gets high and gets behind the wheel is gonna get a free pass,” said Jimmy Chavez, president of the Arizona State Troopers Association.

Carlos Alfaro, deputy campaign manager for Yes on 205, disagreed with opponents’ arguments.

“It makes sense, when we put regulations and controls on marijuana, we’re able to control it a little better,” Alfaro said. “There are people getting DUIs today, in Arizona, for smoking and getting behind the wheel of a car. One of the ways to do it is by having regulations around it.”

Prop 205 is on the Nov. 8 ballot.