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