Amendment W, which has broad support in both houses of the Colorado state Legislature, is not as complicated as its ballot language may suggest. At heart, the measure seeks to change how our ballots will ask voters if a judge should be retained.
Currently, Colorado ballots list the full retention question for each judge, which can be repetitive if the list of judges is a long one. Under Amendment W, ballots would provide the names of all judges involved for each type of court – and a yes or no option for each – under a single retention question that applies to all of them.
Supporters of the measure believe this will clean up and streamline the ballot language, and we agree.
As demonstrated this year, our state ballot can contain many voter-generated propositions in addition to amendments to the state constitution. That’s good for democracy and for our citizens.
But the privilege is not necessarily as beneficial to ballot comprehension by the voters, who may be discouraged to vote by ballots that appear too long, complicated or repetitive.
Colorado has led the nation in making voting easier and more accessible. We do not see any way in which the proposed amendment will counter that trend. In fact, it should help.
We vote YES on Amendment W.
Industrial hempAmendment X is a measure that will take the definition of industrial hemp out the Colorado Constitution and in its place adopt the federal definition.
This seems like a complicated way to accomplish a simple goal, but because a constitutional amendment was used in 2012 to legalize both marijuana and hemp, which must contain .3 percent or less of THC, any change in that definition must also be approved on that level by voters.
Amendment X is backed by the Colorado hemp industry, which right now is the largest in the country. Adopting the federal definition will allow hemp growers in the state to be flexible in case the federal government allows changes in the definition of industrial hemp.
As industrial hemp has now been included in the U.S. Senate’s version of the Farm Bill, changes to the federal definition of the crop based on increased cultivation and research into new variations of the plant should not be unexpected.
Right now, other hemp-growing states and the federal government are working with .3 percent THC as the standard. Should that standard change, Colorado growers could be stuck with hemp crops that are no longer competitive, or worse, no longer legal. And reacting to such a change by resetting the state standard would not be possible until the next election.
Amendment X is a proactive measure that protects hemp farmers going forward. If new hemp strains are developed that can produce more valuable hemp products per plant, for example, hemp oil, while also containing less than .3 percent THC, Colorado growers should not be prohibited by their constitution from taking advantage.
That’s a level of security this growing but relatively new niche of farming needs.
We vote YES on Amendment X.