Marijuana: Initiative 70 would make pot use a right, regulate it like tobacco
Penalties for minors and adults under 21 would be comparable to existing tobacco violations, including fines for minors in possession and sales to minors. As mentioned above, the bill does allow for eighteen-to-twenty year olds to eventually be given the right to consume cannabis legally, though it would require the approval of the Colorado general assembly to do so. If the Colorado legislature ever votes to allow eighteen year olds the right to consume herb, or if the feds ever get around to changing their minds, such penalties would be deemed irrelevant.
All commercial sales of cannabis would have to be licensed and taxed through the Colorado Department of Revenue Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Division, whose name would be changed to include "cannabis." The DOR would be required to license and regulate cannabis "in a equal manner to and no more excessive or cost prohibitive than [tobacco]" and follow existing tobacco sales laws.
Retail sales would be taxed and 25 percent of taxes generated would go to a "safer communities fund," with 10 percent earmarked for public K-12 schools, 10 percent directed to state health care and 5 percent split between state drug and prison rehab programs. Voters can also approve an excise tax on cannabis up to 21 percent of the listed price, though such taxes wouldn't apply to industrial hemp or seeds.
It's not a bill for the no-taxes, no-regulation crowd of "hippies," Colibri says. "I'm pro regulation. If you aren't talking regulation, you should be excused from the room."
The proposal does limit untaxed personal cultivation to eight plants, four in flower and four in varying stages of vegetation. It also limits the amount of "consumable raw cannabis" one person can grow and smoke to four ounces per month. If two or more people are living together, the max amount is sixteen plants and eight ounces per month. Violation of those limits would result in a misdemeanor charge. Colibri said the restrictions are similar to federal home brewing laws currently in place.
The measure also addresses the THC DUI issue, stating that driving while impaired would be subject to state laws but adding that THC blood levels would be considered refutable evidence. Likewise, lawful marijuana use would be an affirmative defense to THC DUI per-se limits. Though it does give patients and regular users a more solid defense against blood-THC limits, the language also says that THC DUI will be subject to state laws, implying that either existing THC DUI laws would remain or that new ones would have to be created.
Finally, the bill would end Colorado funding enforcement of any federal marijuana laws against people in compliance with Initiative 70.
"I'm hoping to create is an oasis where [the feds] don't have an excuse to come in," he says. "It is like with alcohol prohibition when the states started regulating alcohol sales in conflict with the federal laws. The states said to the feds, 'You enforce it.' If our language were to pass, it would allow the state to wash their hands and say we can't assist you anymore."
Colibri started collecting signatures for I-70 at the 4/20 rally in Civic Center Park and estimates that 3,000 signatures were gathered over the two-day span. For more information check out www.equalizecannabis.com, and read the full text of the bill here.