Talk by legislators of repealing Amendment 64

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Diane Mitsch Bush

— State Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs, said Friday that she would not support a measure that could result in recreational marijuana once again being criminalized.

“The voters of Colorado spoke clearly on Amendment 64,” Mitsch Bush wrote in an email. “We legislators should not second guess the voters with the wording on the constitutionally required referred measure. That would be disrespectful.”

Coloradans were 55 percent in favor of Amendment 64, which makes it legal for anyone 21 or older to possess as much as an ounce of marijuana.

Among other things, Colorado lawmakers this week were working on legislation that would govern the sale of marijuana for recreational use. As part of that, a bill is being debated that would propose asking voters in November to tax marijuana by as much as 30 percent. As much as 15 percent would go toward building new schools, and another 15 percent could go toward paying for the state’s cost of enforcing the new marijuana laws governing sales.

Denver media outlets Friday were reporting that some lawmakers think the 30 percent tax rate is too high and voters might not approve it. If that happens, Colorado taxpayers would end up footing the bill for enforcing the new marijuana laws.

"Without this measure, we won't be able to implement a model that will ensure our communities can be kept safe," Longmont Democrat Rep. Jonathan Singer said during a committee meeting, according to The Denver Post.

Some lawmakers are proposing a repeal of Amendment 64 if voters do not approve the tax.

“The idea has many people who are interested in it," Highlands Ranch Republican Rep. Frank McNulty told the Post.

With 13 days left in the legislative session, McNulty went on to say lawmakers have not come up with final language for a repeal proposal.

The Post reported it is unclear whether the supporters have the backing of leaders in the Legislature to introduce the repeal bill. Two-thirds of legislators would need to support the bill for it to go to voters.

Mitsch Bush said she was unclear whether that support existed.

Routt County’s District 8 state Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Cowdrey, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Josh Scruggs, a partner in Golden Leaf Medical Marijuana in Steamboat Springs, does not think repealing recreational marijuana will be a question voters will face because he thinks voters will support the 30 percent tax in the November election.

“I don’t think people will go against the 30 percent tax,” he said.

Supporters of the potential bill asking for voters to repeal Amendment 64 have said voters should not be concerned about the repeal if the tax is approved.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

Scott Wedel 1 year, 6 months ago

A 30% tax could easily fail at the ballot. It makes no sense that mmj could be regulated without a big tax and legal mj needs a 30% tax to be regulated. Since legal pot doesn't need a patient with a medical recommendation then legal mj should be easier to regulate than mmj.

People completely opposed to legalizing are not easily going to vote for a tax because that is also implicitly approving of it being legal. And the true believers in pot as a wonderful substance will oppose a big tax. And those that voted to legalize to get rid of the illegal drug dealers selling pot will oppose the tax because the dealers can life off of avoiding the taxes. So I am not sure whom is left supporting it except those that want more revenues flowing to government.

Regardless, the lesson from alcohol after Prohibition should be to start off with low taxes so that the regulated legal trade can largely put the illegal trade out of business. And then when the illegal trade is largely gone then taxes can be increased since it is harder to reestablish the illegal trade.

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jerry carlton 1 year, 6 months ago

What is the tax on alcohol and tobacco? MMJ taxes should equal state and Federal on tobacco and alcohol since the Feds are not going to get a cut of the MMJ taxes.

Rhys I am seriously afraid the Nuggets are done for. A major surprise to me!

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john bailey 1 year, 6 months ago

keep the faith, carl will get em to pull their heads out. GO NUGGETS!!!!!

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rhys jones 1 year, 6 months ago

Our government amuses me, in its endless quest to require its necessity, regulating anything and everything they think they can... and to suggest they can undo what the citizens of this State have overwhelmingly voted to amend to their Constitution is ludicrous in the extreme.

The marijuana business has thrived for eons without government involvement, does today and will forever. If the State doesn't make the conditions acceptable to the consumer, there are lots of other places to go. You can't put the genie back in the bottle. There are so many legal grow operations, from closets to barns, the outlets are many; I would suggest the medical shops do only a fraction of the local commerce, the rest is entirely unregulated... so for the State to suggest they can ride herd over the business I find mildly amusing.

Jerry -- See my Nuggets-related comments under the weather-forum-thread we hijacked -- they have indeed built a steep hill for themselves, and it doesn't help when the officiating is obviously and blatantly biased -- they lost that game on several poor calls in the last few minutes, not the Warriors' inspired shooting, good as it was.

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