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Amendment 64 proponent visits Fort Morgan: The Times: October 22, 2012

By JOHN LA PORTE Times Editor Posted: 10/22/2012 04:49:04 PM MDT

Howard “Cowboy” Wooldridge, a retired police detective, demonstrates Friday in favor of Amendment 64 at Platte Avenue and Main Street in Fort Morgan. (Picasa) People in law enforcement have better things to do than chase petty offenders with small amounts of marijuana. So says retired police detective and lobbyist Howard “Cowboy” Wooldridge, who spent some time Friday on a downtown Fort Morgan street corner on horseback with a sign urging support of Amendment 64, which would legalize and regulate small amounts of marijuana in Colorado.

“We (law enforcement) need to focus our attention on pedophiles and other serious threats and not waste our time on the green plants,” he declares. The percentage of traffic stops that result in marijuana arrests is low, he said, and the number of deaths in Mexico in enforcment battles is high. Marijuana should, he says, be regulated like alcohol and subject to the same common-sense regulations.

Wooldridge started out in front of Walgreen’s, but local police, he said, politely informed him that he could not demonstrate on the grass or the sidewalk. The police, he said, were “very nice, very professional.” He went to management at a gas station across the street and was given permission to carry his sign on a dirt area adjacent to the station. And there he sat on his horse Misty for several hours, attracting some “thumbs up” signs, cheers, honks and waves and some “thumbs down.”

Wooldridge was taking a break from his fulltime work as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. in opposition to drug prohibition. He retired as a detective near Lansing, Mich. After 12 years on the street, moving first to Texas in a position in international customer relations — he speaks English, French, German and Spanish.

 Is the push for legalizing marjuana getting anywhere? “The short answer is yes,” Wooldridge says. Several states, including Colorado, have deemed medicinal marijuana use appropriate, he points out, and several states have measures similar to Colorado’s 64 on the ballot. And in many states, an arrest for a small amount of marijuana is similar to a traffic ticket when it comes to penalties. “In terms of a time line this is very similar to women’s suffrage,” which took many years to pass, Wooldridge says. He adds, “My educated guess is about 10 more years.”

 — Contact John La Porte at news@fmtimes.com.

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