Marijuana: Amendment 64's opponents want new ad pulled, backers respond
This week, the folks behind Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, have been ballyhooing a new ad featuring the endorsement of singer Melissa Etheridge. But act opponents are focused more on another commercial -- a spot highlighting revenues for school construction. They say the spot is false and should be removed from airwaves. See both below.
There's nothing especially controversial about Etheridge's pitch, designed for radio but mated with video images in the clip below. In it, the vocalist frames the conversation around her use of marijuana for medical purposes during her previous fight with cancer.
"You know, before I needed to use marijuana, I just accepted the laws that treat marijuana users as criminals. But it's funny how a serious illness can give you a new outlook on life.No famous people in the commercial. Instead, it features a graphic showing green dollar signs flowing from Colorado to Mexico, to represent the supposition that cash spent on recreational marijuana in the state winds up in the hands of south-of-the-border drug cartels. Under Amendment 64, however, the clip suggests that annual revenue generated by legal sales could top $100 million by 2017 even as it generates $40 million annually for public school construction.
"I now see that it's wrong to arrest adults for using marijuana. And it's even more wrong to allow gangs and cartels to profit from selling marijuana. Instead, we should allow adults to possess limited amounts of marijuana, and we should regulate marijuana sales in order to generate tax revenues for public school construction and other community needs.
"To me, regulating marijuana is simply the right thing to do. Please vote YES on Amendment 64."
That's where things get problematic for Smart Colorado, the No on 64 campaign, which has issued a press release headlined "Amendment 64 Proponents Receive 'F' For Honesty; New Television Ad Should Be Pulled." The person doing the grading in this salvo (read it below in its entirety) is Roger Sherman, the spokesman for Smart Colorado, so this negative mark isn't all that surprising. However, his argument picks at a sore spot for Amendment 64 backers -- a last-minute change in the Blue Book voters guide regarding the proposal.
As we've reported, state Senator John Morse, among others, objected to the provision of the measure that earmarked an excise tax for school construction. So he pushed through the following passage:
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.Sherman strikes this same chord in a statement about the ad. "The ad states 'If we pass Amendment 64, Colorado businesses would profit and tax revenues would pay for public services and the reconstruction of our schools' and that's just wrong," he maintains. "There is no excise tax for schools. There may never be an excise tax or any tax revenues for schools. Even if the legislature did decide to place the measure on the ballot, voters would have to approve the new tax, and there is no guarantee that would happen, either."
With that in mind, Sherman concludes that "the ad deceives voters and it needs to be pulled."
What does Mason Tvert, one of the main proponents of Amendment 64, think of this demand? Not much, judging by a response he provided to Westword.
Continue to read Mason Tvert's response and see the ads.