Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act targeted by Douglas Bruce over prominence of word "TAX"

Categories: Marijuana

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for a cropped brian vicente photo.jpg
Brian Vicente.
The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012 continues to be a target more than a year before the November 2012 election for which it's aiming. First, rival organization Legalize2012 objected to any association with the terms "legalization" and "similar to alcohol." Now, proponent Brian Vicente says gadfly Douglas Bruce is complaining that the word "tax" isn't prominent enough in the ballot title on petition forms -- and even wants it capitalized.

"Tax" actually appears twice in the ballot title. We've put it in bold to make spotting the references easier:

Shall there be 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 pohibit 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?

Moreover, Vicente, who's part of a coalition backing the initiative, sees the taxation of marijuana for adult recreational use as one of the measure's prime selling points.

"Throughout our campaign, we'll be highlighting the substantial tax revenue that will be coming in through the passage of this law," Vicente says. "We also predict there will be a large amount of job growth as well -- and that, along with state and local sales taxes and excise tax, ultimately will bring in tens of millions to the state."

This money is beyond the reach of tax collectors at present, Vicente emphasizes: "Essentially, money from Coloradans who use marijuana recreationally, and there are many adults who do, is going into the hands of the underground market and, in some cases, cartels and gangsters. That's why we believe our provision is a sensible change that would bring the market above-ground -- put the substance behind the counters and allow the state to levy a reasonable tax that would benefit the citizens who live here," especially during a period of acute revenue shortfalls and budgetary crisis.

douglas bruce photo.jpg
Douglas Bruce.
Nonetheless, Vicente believes Bruce's complaint is "a little over the top." Bruce argues that "the word 'tax' appear in capital letters in the first part of the title," Vicente notes, "and we're fine with the title it's been given. It does mention taxes, and we feel we've fully complied with TABOR" -- the Tax Payers Bill of Rights, which remains Bruce's primary claim to fame despite his April indictment for tax-evasion.

The issue is scheduled for debate before the Colorado Title Board at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday. In the meantime, the petition drive for the act is underway, with a goal of gathering the 86,000 signatures necessary to put the measure on the 2012 ballot, and Vicente says, "it's going really well. We've been deluged by volunteers looking to help, and we also have paid signature gatherers on the ground at places like King Soopers and festivals around the state. And they've been getting a ton of positive feedback from citizens they approach on this issue. I think the campaign has kicked off well, and if we keep this pace up, we shouldn't have a problem getting the required signatures."

As for the tax issue, Vicente stresses that "we're happy to have that discussion" whether "tax" winds up in capital letters or not.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: No punishment for possession under Michelle LaMay's new ballot proposal."

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17 comments
Doug Bennett
Doug Bennett

Divide and Conquer is one of the oldest tactics in the book. I went to Lopez's "rally" and encountered open hostility. So much for mellow pot heads huh? These people will get no where if they can't get along and work with others.

Robert
Robert

How so?  Were you circulating SAFER's petition?  As far as "divide" goes, the national coalition has pursued a strategy of marginalization and secrecy for longer than I've lived in Colorado -- the pro-cannabis community has never been united.  The rigorous exclusion of Colorado's grassroots activists from the drafting process belies the totally disingenuous claims about openness coming out of SAFER/Sensible/MPP and has completely poisoned their relationship with most activists here.  Go peddle your advice about working with others to Rob Kampia, Mason Tvert, and Brian Vicente!

Wassup
Wassup

Your somewhat correct, Mr. Robert. " the pro-cannabis community has never been united" This recently changed when CTI pulled thier 'debate' stunt. People that were on the fence before it are now on the other side of CTI's fence. No one in their right mind is supporting CTI anymore...

Robert
Robert

TABOR is an unconstitutional attack on our republican form of government; it is the function of our representatives to tax and spend!

It is true that CTI (and others) objected to characterizing the "so that driving under the influence of marijuana shall remain illegal" initiative, but more salient that the initiatives' backers (in particular, Steve Fox of MPP and legal counsel Ed Ramey) objected to describing the measures as legalizing cannabis.

The hearing on the objection based on TABOR may be better attended than the first two although I understand that Bruce will not be present.

Robert
Robert

Correction (the option to edit posts has been eliminated):  It is true that CTI (and others) objected to characterizing the "so that driving under the influence of marijuana shall remain illegal" initiative as legalizing cannabis, but more salient that the initiatives' backers (in particular, Steve Fox of MPP and legal counsel Ed Ramey) objected to describing the measures as legalizing cannabis.

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

and Robert the Title Board took out "similar to alcohol," so they are lying to the people of Colorado when they say "similar to alcohol."  No one likes being lied to and if this is so great and their "polls" say everyone wants their language then why are they lying to us about whats in it?

Robert
Robert

I was there -- the Title Board took out the phrase with the acquiescence of Ramie and Mason -- it is not clear to me that it would have done so had the proponents not conceded the point.  There are some similarities to the regulation of alcohol (and some substantial differences too) -- clearly this is a way of summarizing the initiative and presenting it in a favorable light, and while they did not fight to keep it in the title, circulators are certainly describing it as legalization and regulating cannabis like alcohol both.  Mason and Brian did not assert that their specific language was supported by polling data; they did claim e.g. that the six-plant limit is more popular than no restriction or a different number. 

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

Wow, lets ask the guy who wrote the TABOR amendment in the constitution if the intent of the constitution is being violated by this bill? So they are violating the Constitution of Colorado with this yeah that's off to a good start.  These carpetbaggers are lying to the people of Colorado, they will not put this in our constitution and is the nicest way we are going to be as we are fighting this.  This is a war on drugs and this initiative only helps the people we are fighting against the proponents of this initiatives are our enemies just as much as the MMED and the DEA. If you see these carpetbaggers out with their clipboards, inform them whats in the amendment, read this amendment it is not legalization and is not like alcohol, just ask the state title board, inform yourself do not let these carpetbaggers lie to you.

Guest
Guest

You are helping prohibitionists by furthering fragmentation in the pro marijuana crowds. I heard your initiative, corey...it was a joke and made legalizing marijuana and supporters of marijuana look like a joke. Please take a hike (and get lost in the process).

Please do not feed the troll
Please do not feed the troll

Please do not feed this troll. No one else will even respond to his posts anymore. How about getting on the band-wagon?

Currently, this fool is trying to further fracture the movement by getting wayward bill, and miguel Lopez in bed with him.

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

You are violating the constitution and lying to the people of Colorado you think I care about a blog you are lucky people are not running you out of this state on a rail.  You are not the movement in Colorado I am working with you are the enemy and should be treated as such.  Even Douglas Bruce agrees that you are violating the Constitution, TABOR, and he wrote the damn thing.  

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

They are not the pro marijuana crowed they are the enemy of the people of Colorado just as you are.  And at least I have the balls to stand by my words.

Roux
Roux

Isn't this the guy who kicked the photographer on the senate floor a few years ago? Doug Bruce is a hot mess.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Same guy, Roux -- although Bruce argued that it was less a kick than a nudge. Thanks for the post.

bcainw
bcainw

No taxation for home cultivation.  After all you home brewed beer is not taxed so why would we cede control to a government that has been persecuting us for over 70 years . . . and then to make them the gatekeepers of our secularly sacred plant?

 I represent the view that Marijuana self cultivation should be untaxed, unregulated and uncontrolled.  The plant belongs to ALL of the people and not Big Pharma: which is where the Elite are planning this issue to go.  The video (below) contains some background on the MERP Model:

(1) Overview(2) Effect on Drug Cartels, Medical Patients & Home Invasions(3) Strategy for Implementation 

If you get the chance let me know what you think of the concept and pass it on.

Bruce W. Cain

The MERP Strategy for Marijuana Re-Legalization in a Nutshellhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

And here are some additional links with more on MERP.  But the video above is the best exposition of the MERP Model and how it can be implemented NATION WIDE with your help.

Because Marijuana is Safer that Beer . . . How About We Start Treating It That Way?MERP HeadquartersThe Marijuana Re-Legalization Policy Project (MRPP)= "MERP"http://www.newagecitizen.com/M...

Why We Should Not Allow Marijuana to be Taxed or Regulated - the "Big Picture"http://www.newagecitizen.com/M...

Obama's War on Marijuana: Racist, Hypocritical and Unconstitutionalhttp://www.newagecitizen.com/M...

Petition to Impeach President Obamahttp://www.change.org/petition...

Latest White House Drug Strategy Report Affirms Our Government Has Virtually No Interest In Actually Studying MarijuanaJuly 12th, 2011 By: Paul Armentanohttp://blog.norml.org/2011/07/...

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Thanks for the treasure trove of links. Interesting stuff.

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