Will Gary Johnson, Marijuana Tip Scales of Colorado Race?

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is opposing Amendment 64, an issue on Colorado's November ballot that would legalize, regulate, and tax the sale of marijuana. Hickenlooper said the Amendment would send the wrong message to children -- that using drugs is "OK."

“Colorado is known for many things — marijuana should not be one of them,” Hickenlooper explained. “Amendment 64 has the potential to increase the number of children using drugs and would detract from efforts to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. It sends the wrong message to kids that drugs are OK.”

The Obama campaign is worried members of his liberal base who support legalization will vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson (pictured), who supports legalization, while the Romney campaign is worried that libertarian-leaning voters who support the Amendment will also vote for Johnson. In a close race, the side who can best keep its voters from casting votes for Johnson will have the upper hand on Election Day. 

Hickenlooper and former Republican Gov. Bill Owens are opposed to the initiative while some conservatives -- like Tom Tancredo -- have come out for the Amendment. 

Tancredo, according to the Washington Times, has said at rallies that voting against the Amendment would be siding not just with the "nanny-staters, but with the cartels.”

Groups in favor of Amendment 64 have "stressed the economic benefits of marijuana legalization, saying the tax revenue after 2017 could top $100 million and support public services such as education." They have argued Mexican drug cartels currently get the money that could instead funnel into Colorado's economy. 

The Denver Post editorialized that while Amendment 64 would limit marijuana sales to one ounce, "it would be next to impossible to prevent out-of-state visitors from buying several ounces at various outlets and returning home," which could make Colorado a national magnet for "marijuana users, growers and distributors."

The Post has run a series of articles about how the pro-marijuana initiative could open a Pandora's Box of ills if it passess and make Colorado the destination for pot-dealers and smokers. 

A Public Policy Polling poll found 53% of Colorado voters support the initiative, while 43% were opposed. A Survey USA poll found 48% were in favor while 43% were not. 

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