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Colorado passes proposal to legalize marijuana

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DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado voters decided to legalize the cultivation and use of marijuana.

The “No on 64″ campaign told FOX31 Denver reporter Mark Meredith it is accepting defeat and thankful for voters. FOX31 Denver has called the race and Amendment 64 is passing.

Amendment 64 asked Colorado voters whether or not marijuana should be regulated in the same way the state regulates the sale of alcohol to people 21 and older.

The ballot measure is the result of several months of lobbying from pro-marijuana organizations who believe decriminalization could help law enforcement rearrange resources and staff for more serious crimes.

Those against legalization argued Amendment 64 will encourage more drug cartels to setup shop in Colorado and also give teenagers easier access to marijuana. That group was accepting defeat Tuesday night.

“We knew all along this was an uphill battle against a well-funded national movement,” Roger Sherman, campaign director for “No on 64,” said. “We appreciate the efforts of Governor John Hickenlooper, former Governors Bill Owens and Bill Ritter, Attorney General John Suthers, Mayors Michael Hancock and Steve Hogan and countless other sheriffs, county commissioners, district attorneys and local elected officials who joined with the business community and citizens of Colorado to oppose this ill-conceived amendment.”

Pro-legalization groups believe decriminalization will boost the state’s economy with new taxes and licensing fees.

According to the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, Colorado law enforcement would save an estimated $12 million in the first year of legalization.

Despite the legalization campaign’s efforts, high profile lawmakers including Governor John Hickenlooper and Attorney General John Suthers opposed the measure.

Oregon and Washington were considering similar measures.