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Marijuana: Amendment 64 Blue Book changes, legislator criticism don't worry proponent

Thumbnail image for man smoking marijuana from a bong on flickr cropped.jpg
Yesterday, members of the Legislative Council Committee asked for changes in the Blue Book description of Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, suggesting along the way that the initiative is likely to spur lawsuits. Opponents pounced on these assertions and others, but a 64 backer thinks the impact is being overstated.

As reported by the Associated Press, some of those on the council objected to sections of the Blue Book -- the state-funded guide intended to inform voters about issues on the November ballot -- that pertain to an excise tax legislators are directed to enact if the measure passes.

john morse.jpg
John Morse.
The AP offers this quote from Senator John Morse, a Colorado Springs-area Democrat: "Now all of a sudden we got a new constitutional amendment that may say, 'Hey, we can dictate how legislators vote all the time.' It would be offensive to our system of government in my view, but it may turn out to be the law of the land."

These weren't the only objections to the Blue Book language. Assorted council members also worried about possible suits the passage of Amendment 64 could generate, as well as revenue projections and descriptions that struck some as objectionable.

Hence, the following paragraph was inserted into a background section pertaining to taxes. It reads:

This measure requires that the state legislature enact an excise tax. The current Colorado Constitution forbids a member of the state legislature to be bound to vote for or against any bill or measure pending or proposed to the state legislature. Because of this inherent conflict, the excise tax outlined in this measure might not be imposed. Additionally, this issue may result in significant litigation.

In addition, two minor tweaks were made to sentences in the Blue Book passages presenting arguments in favor of Amendment 64.

The first sentence in question originally read, "Current state policies that criminalize marijuana fail to prevent its use and availability and have contributed to the growth of an underground market." The new version -- "Current state policies that criminalize marijuana fail to prevent its use and availability and have contributed to an underground market" -- excises "the growth of."

The second revision is similar. A sentence that previously stated, "By creating a framework for marijuana to be legal, taxed and regulated under state law, Amendment 64 provides a new, more logical direction for the state" now reads, "By creating a framework for marijuana to be legal, taxed and regulated under state law, Amendment 64 provides a new direction for the state," with the words "more logical" left on the cutting-room floor.

These alterations don't affect the amendment itself or the way it'll appear on the ballot -- just the Blue Book. So does it mean much in the grand scheme of things? Shockingly enough, those on opposite sides of the issue have very different views.

Continue reading to get dueling takes about the Amendment 64 Blue Book changes.



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17 comments
RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

The inclusion of so-called "conversations" from Twitter and Facebook is contemptibly amusing, but also chilling.  Are those people the future?

Jen Symank
Jen Symank

I more expect the federal government to invade the state for a huge crackdown!

Jen Symank
Jen Symank

I more expect the federal government to invade the state for a huge crackdown!

Alfredo Abad Jr.
Alfredo Abad Jr.

no way!! too many lawyers who are shit-smokers are amending this to save their own asses.

malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16

Maybe you're a police officer, a prison guard, or a local/national politician. Possibly you're scared of losing employment, overtime pay, the many kickbacks, and those regular fat bribes. But what good will any of that do you once our society has followed Mexico over the dystopian abyss of dismembered bodies, vats of acid, and marauding thugs carrying gold-plated AK-47s with leopard-skinned gunstocks? 

 

Kindly allow us to forgo the next level of your sycophantic prohibition-engendered mayhem. 

 

Prohibition prevents regulation: legalize, regulate, and tax!

 

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

I was going to suggest changes to the language in the Blue Book to the Legislative Council, but I reconsidered; the campaign for Amendment 64 rebuffed state activists' efforts to correct its errors and deficiencies, and it's a little late to quibble over how they prefer to present it to the public.  The objection to the description of the excise tax is appropriate:  legislators could refuse to pass such a tax.  The other changes noted are minor improvements.

 

What is missing from the analysis (and seems to evince a large hole in disputants' heads) is any demurral about tax revenue being unrealizable failing substantial changes in Federal law -- Vicente's claim that passage of the Amendment "will produce large amounts of tax revenue" is completely false.  As for his puzzlement ("... it's simply unfathomable to me and any intelligent citizen that we would legalize marijuana sales but not pass an excise tax."), he is conflating the decision of the People with that of their non-representatives in the General Assembly -- we the People may pass Amendment 64, but the General Assembly might well not pass an excise tax.  Why?  Because of the same reason I have explicated over and over again:  the Feds will not allow businesses licensed by the State to retail cannabis to non-patients.  How, when lots of people would like to sell cannabis, and Federal enforcement resources are limited?  By reading the information on the licenses, the DEA will know exactly where to go and whom to arrest -- I doubt that passage of Amendment 64 will result in any licensed sales, anytime soon at least.

 

I find the psychology of this dispute interesting:  proponents evidently do not want to complicate their case by saying that we would realize huge amounts of revenue only if the Feds relent, and the fringe find it convenient to ignore the impossibility of retail sales because they want to make a variety of irrational claims, including that that the Amendment would shut down the medical cannabis system or bring the dreaded MMED or its successor down on retailers, (the way it has not harmed MMCs).  Neither proponents or opponents question the assumption that the provisions governing retail sales would take effect for political reasons.  I think that our psychology as consumers has something to do with it as well:  people focus on the provisions about retail sales because they look forward to being able to shop for cannabis as opposed to being free to try to grow excellent cannabis for themselves legally.  To everyone concerned:  please, in the interest of truth and of being able to consider the Amendment and its effects objectively, stop pretending that retail sales will ensue if we pass Amendment 64; that will free you from gabbling about tax revenue which will not be collected

GB72
GB72

The Blue Book calls A64 "legalization", perpetuating the fraud of the A64 SCAMPaign. They admitted to the title board that it is NOT "legalization", but continue to use the term in their marketing campaigns, duping the authors of the Blue Book in addition to all the media and the public. Karl Rove WOULD blush at these clowns.

valstar
valstar

 @RobertChase 

 

I agree with Roberts statement that not one retail location will open any time soon. I have said this many times before and got my head chewed off for saying it. The Feds will go after any non medical store front with a vengance, I dont want to be the one made an example of. I highly doubt though that any one will risk opening a store until things change more country wide.

 

Grow your on as many are most likely planning to do.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

 @GB72 My guess is, it'd be hard to make Karl Rove blush over anything -- but I get your point. Thanks for the post, GB72.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

 @michael.roberts and all readers:  I was wrong!  GB72 is NOT Kathleen -- Kathleen caught my egregious error with alacrity, and upbraided me severely in type large and bold.

 

mea culpa, mea culpa, mea MAXIMA culpa

 

I foolishly leapt to that conclusion after having seen her call the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol a "scampaign" just as GB72 did above, when Kathleen is probably training up legions to call it that.  Have I compunded my fault?  Perhaps it is simply the spontaneous reaction of those cannabis-users who plan to vote against the legalization of any cannabis for non-patients, and there are a few.

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