Despite challenge, Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012 keeps its name (for now)

Categories: Marijuana

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Doug Bruce
As we mentioned earlier this week, Colorado Springs conservative Douglas Bruce had petitioned the Colorado Title Board to change the title of the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012 to include TABOR-related tax language. The hearing on that challenge was yesterday morning, but no decision was handed down. In fact, the title board won't be making one.

It turns out Bruce had also filed his complaint with the Colorado Supreme Court. According to attorney Brian Vicente, one of the act's proponents, the court has the final say on pretty much everything. So filing with the Supremes supersedes any filing made at the same time with any lower decision-making body, like the Colorado Title Board.

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Brian Vicente (right) and Mason Tvert (left)
It's now up to the Colorado Supreme Court to decide the matter; Vicente says he expects a ruling within the next few months, and thinks it's unlikely it will even come to a hearing. "They maybe entertain 10 percent of things that go their way," he notes. "Most they flat-out deny. We feel confident they'll deny this"

Bruce's argument is that the act doesn't make it clear to voters that a new tax would be created if the measure passes. But Vicente denies that the act would create a new tax. Instead, it would allow the legislature to enact an excise tax on cannabis in the future. "People will be told all of that," he says.

The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012 isn't out of the water yet. On July 31, its proponents will again go before the title board. Crazy for Justice's Corey Donahue has challenged the title language, arguing that it's misleading and claiming it should be renamed the "Regulation of Marijuana with Enforcement Through the Department of Revenue" or "The Sentencing Reform of Marijuana for the More Efficient Use of Law Enforcement Resources."

Want another hit of marijuana coverage? Watch for William Breathes's next dispensary review, which will be posted here at 4/20. In the meantime, you can read his previous reviews in the Mile Highs and Lows archive.


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17 comments
Robert
Robert

P.S.  The title of the initiative is not the "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012", it is "An amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning marijuana, and, in connection therewith, providing for the regulation  of marijuana; permitting a person twenty-one years of age or older to consume or possess limited amounts of marijuana; providing for the licensing of cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and retail stores; permitting local governments to regulate or prohibit such facilities; requiring the general assembly to enact an excise tax to be levied upon wholesale sales of marijuana; requiring that the first $40 million in revenue raised annually by such tax be credited to the public school capital construction assistance fund; and requiring the general assembly to enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp." -- notice that there is no longer any reference to alcohol (as a result of Corey Donahue's petition to the Title Board, heard on June 15).  The informal caption given the measure by legislative stagg is "Use and Regulation of Marijuana".

Rev. B Baker
Rev. B Baker

please remember we have a true legalization initiative in the works that will completely remove cannabis from the law books in colorado as well as force the state to petition the feds. Yes masons is a nice decriminalization model, BUT DOESNT COLORADO DESERVE TRUE LEGALIZATION? afterall we have state sanctioned cannabis grow houses as big as 10,000 sqft, doesnt every citizen deserve this right?

Save the Constitution
Save the Constitution

The Tvert initiative will basically put HB1284 into the Constitution, along with other gems like "Driving under the influence of marijuana shall remain illegal". That's great! A new constitutional crime called DUIM. Thanks, Mason! If your init. is enacted, the DOR will have free reign to track and harass every mj user in the state, not just medical ones. AND there will be a new crime called DUIM (now the statute is DUID -- not set in the constitution, so it can be changed by the legislature.) DUIM will be in the constitution forever. Is that really a phrase that mj "supporters" should be petitioning for to be included in the Constitution?

When you amend the Constitution, you've got to get it right the first time, because even changing so much as a comma means you have to collect signatures and put it back on the ballot. The Tvert init. is not ready for prime-time, let alone the Colo. Constitution. Back to the drawing board, boys.

Robert
Robert

Irrespective of the deficiencies of the "so that driving under the influence of marijuana shall remain illegal" initiative, Bruce's challenge has absolutely no merit, even if TABOR were not an unconstitutional assault on the Republic (which it is).  Because the intiative does not itself institute a tax (but merely instructs the General Assembly to enact an excise tax), the provisions of TABOR cannot reasonably be held to apply to the petittion or ballot measure.  The General Assembly's enactment of the excise tax on the wholsale transfer of cannabis would be subject to TABOR, should the intitative pass, and should the General Assembly then obey the Constitution (very far from a foregone conclusion, either one).  Having already filed a challenge in the Supreme Court, Bruce rendered the hearing before the Title Board moot, and very poor political theater, as Mr. Campbell (Bruce's representative) belabored the bankruptcy of their arguments, demonstrated their implacable hostility toward government, and imputed that hostility to all citizens.

Jefferson
Jefferson

Rolling on the floor laughing at activists exercising their rights to challenge the title of a ballot initiative? Wow, I'm glad that you're not an activist trying to preserve my rights, as I think that you would not do a very good job.

Guest
Guest

ROFL @ doug bruce and corey donahue

Glpindburdi
Glpindburdi

Doug Bruce is a hero to taxpayers! Viva Doug!

Robert
Robert

Corey couldn't make it.

Robert
Robert

He is a hero to people too ignorant of civics to properly be called citizens of this country, i.e. most Coloradans.  Why anyone would worry about illegal aliens when the citizenry has demonstrated that it is too stupid to sustain the Republic, I cannot fathom.

Guest
Guest

"The Sentencing Reform of Marijuana for the More Efficient Use of Law Enforcement Resources." ... More jokes from corey? his appeal won't be taken seriously. I understand disagreeing with the proposed language but I don't understand why marijuana supporters continue to undermine an attempt to improve marijuana laws. The vicente-tvert initiative will be on the ballot. While imperfect, I believe it is colorado's best shot at improving marijuana laws at this time. I'm going to be really upset in 2012 if all pro marijuana legislation fails as a result of the present fragmented approach by marijuana supporters. We need progress now and should not squander this opportunity.

no more bad mj laws
no more bad mj laws

When you amend the Constitution, you've got to get it right the first time. It shows how politically naive you are if you think "squabbling" about public policy is a bad thing. "Just take the MPP/SAFER init. and go for it," coloradommjpatient says. "Even though they did not open it for public input after they finalized the language, we trust them. Hell, MPP wrote Amendment 20 too, and they did such a good job."

Don't trust MPP to write laws. EVERY mmj law that they have written has been called "vague, confusing, and unenforceable". See Arizona, Michigan and we all know the nightmare that Am. 20 caused, allowing the DOR to step in and surveil every patient in the state.

No more bad laws in our constitution!!!!

Hutchinson
Hutchinson

"Efficient Use of Law Enforcement Resources" is straight from the SAFER language. It is their #1 purpose in the initiative, in Section 1 (a): "In the interest of the more efficient use of law enforcement resources". I think Corey's point is that the title should more accurately reflect what the ballot initiative actually says.

The SAFER law is not an improvement. It gives way too much power to the DOR and bypasses the General Assembly altogether, so there is not one elected official that has any control over the SAFER mj program. All controlled by appointed bureaucrats. That means no accountability and no recourse for voters if they don't like the way things are run.

Coloradommjpatient
Coloradommjpatient

Anyone who was at the Great Debate at Casselman's should have gotten a good idea who has their shit together and who shouldn't be followed to free lunch.  I was surprised at the negativity and personal attacks.  Like a "poster" below, I am afraid that all of this squabbling will have bad results.David

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