Coloradans will still be able to buy really strong marijuana for the foreseeable future

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By Kristen Wyatt, The Associated Press

Marijuana opponents in Colorado have given up a plan to ask voters about requiring less-potent pot and telling pot shoppers that the drug could cause brain damage and paranoia.

Backers of the pot-potency measure announced Friday that they’re unable to raise enough money to advertise what would have been the most serious attempt yet to roll back Colorado’s 2012 pot-legalization amendment.

“Putting it on the ballot simply wouldn’t have been enough,” Ali Pruitt, one of the measure’s listed backers, said in a statement Friday.

The measure’s legal language was approved last month by the Colorado Supreme Court. Supporters would have needed about 98,000 voter signatures to get the question on ballots. The campaign did not elaborate on how much money they would have needed to advertise their proposal.

Amendment 139 would have revised the pot amendment to require warning labels to say that marijuana can cause brain damage and depression.

Retail marijuana in Colorado already carries warning labels, but those labels are written by Colorado regulators and aren’t spelled out in the state constitution.

Amendment 139 also would have capped marijuana potency at no more than 16 percent of THC, the drug’s psychoactive ingredient. Marijuana industry opponents argued that less than 20 percent of the pot products on retail shelves in Colorado would comply with that limit.

The change would have applied only to recreational pot sales, or to pot sold to people without a medical recommendation for the drug.

Industry opponents argued that it would have affected sick people, too, because some have ailments that don’t qualify for medical pot, or because they have lived in Colorado less than 30 days.

“This was an ill-conceived initiative,” said Neal Levine of the Colorado Health Research Council, an industry group formed to oppose the potency limit.

The marijuana measure would have been the first in any legal-pot state to attempt to roll back marijuana rights.

So far, only one ballot measured has gathered enough signatures to be included on 2016 ballots — a question about universal health care.

Ten more proposals are pursuing signatures to make ballots, the Secretary of State announced Friday. Those include three measures to limit oil and gas development or allow local governments to do so; a higher minimum wage; and a proposal to allow terminally ill people to access drugs to end their own lives.

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