Mason Tvert will celebrate his role in legalizing marijuana in Colorado with a trip to Amsterdam this November 18–22, where HIGH TIMES will name him Freedom Fighter of the Year at the 25th Annual Cannabis Cup.


Speaking to HIGH TIMES while waiting to board a plane bound for Los Angeles, and a live appearance on tonight’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, Mason Tvert, Executive Director for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, credited a consistent campaign of voter education as the key to his organization’s success in passing an initiative to legalize marijuana in Colorado.


“For the last eight years we’ve had in depth, public discussions about marijuana in this state, specifically the fact that it is far less harmful than alcohol,” Tvert said. “Since the beginning, the goal has been to build support for an initiative like Amendment 64, because we know that the number one factor associated with people supporting legalization is that they understand that marijuana is indeed safer than alcohol.”


On Election Day, voters in Colorado and Washington State approved by wide margins ballot measures legalizing possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for all adults 21 and over, plus state-licensed commercial cultivation and sales. The Rocky Mountain State will also allow up to six plants to be grown at home for personal use. For his efforts heading this campaign, Tvert will be named the 2012 HIGH TIMES Freedom Fighter of the Year, an honor that includes a free trip to Amsterdam to accept the award in person at this year’s 25th Annual Cannabis Cup.


“I feel incredibly honored to receive this recognition, and I’m certainly excited to be able to travel to Amsterdam for the Cannabis Cup, a legendary event that’s been going on for 25 years,” Tvert said. “It’s going to be a great opportunity to see a sensible marijuana policy in person at a time when we’re working to implement a system that actually goes even further. Colorado will enact not just a policy of tolerance, like the one in the Netherlands, but a policy that makes legal use, production and sales.”


Tvert cited the work of Brian Vicente and Betty Aldworth, his partners throughout the campaign, and pointed to the wide support they received from the marijuana legalization community across the globe as the keys to this victory.


“We had a great core staff and hundreds of volunteers across the state taking an active role in distributing literature and really getting involved in educating their communities. Plus thousands more sharing information about this online with their friends and families, which was one of our key strategies because we know that’s an effective way to ensure people are comfortable voting in favor of legalization. We also built an amazing coalition made up of dozens of organizations, plus elected officials, members of the clergy, more than 300 physicians, and more than 150 college professors. From the beginning, we worked with the NAACP, ACLU, MPP, DPA, SSDP, NORML, LEAP, and other national reform organizations. This was really the first time all of these organizations came together in this way to move forward in a unified direction.”