Marijuana: 30 percent pot tax is reasonable and voters will pass it, activist says

Categories: Marijuana

brian.vicente.205x205.jpg
Brian Vicente.
Earlier today, we shared the thoughts of Sensible Colorado head Brian Vicente about the federal government's continued silence on Amendment 64, the marijuana measure he co-authored.

But we also asked Vicente's views about the newly passed but not yet signed marijuana laws spurred by A64, as well as the fear among lawmakers that Colorado voters will reject taxes on pot -- so great a concern that the legislature almost approved a measure that might have repealed much of it.

Let's tackle the tax question first. As we've reported, the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, shorthanded as TABOR, requires a vote to approve tax increases. Hence, House Bill 13-1318 was designed to set rates to be considered in this November's election. An excise tax of 15 percent was envisioned in A64's language, but a sales tax of up to 15 percent not sketched out in the amendment was also pushed, in part because of assorted claims that lower assessments wouldn't cover the costs of state weed regulation. If such assertions proved true, the marijuana measure would wind up costing the state money rather than triggering a substantial revenue windfall.

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Lawmakers concerned about marijuana taxes came together toward the end of the legislative term.
The prospect of running up debt in regulating pot inspired SCR13-003, a bill introduced just before the legislative session's conclusion. It read in part: "The concurrent resolution submits two questions concerning marijuana to the voters of the state at the statewide election to be held in November of 2013. If the voters approve the first question, the concurrent resolution will impose a state sales tax and a state excise tax on retail marijuana, legalized by section 16 of article XVIII of the state constitution."

That first question involved the excise and sales taxes, with both set at 15 percent. The summary later noted that "if the voters approve the first question, the state will be allowed to collect and spend any revenues generated by the retail marijuana excise and sales taxes as voter-approved revenue changes."

What if the voters didn't approve the first question, but blessed question number two -- the one concerning repeal? Then, the bill stated, "the concurrent resolution will suspend all provisions of section 16 of article XVIII of the state constitution relating to the regulation of marijuana until such time as voters approve the imposition of new state taxes or increases in state tax rates sufficient to fund the estimated costs of state regulation of marijuana."

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Amendment 64 proponent Betty Aldworth was among those who testified against the last-minute bill.
SCR13-003 was backed by some heavy hitters, including Senate Majority Leader John Morse and 23 other senators. The proposal appeared on track for passage when it was stalled as a result of lobbying efforts by frustrated marijuana advocates and a filibuster threat by House opponents. In the end, the bill died, and the legislators approved language establishing a 15 percent excise tax and a 10 percent sales tax that can be increased to 15 percent if costs aren't being covered. But even if the sales tax stays at 10 percent, the total cost for consumers will likely be over 30 percent after the inclusion of local sales taxes.

Is that number so high that even Coloradans who favored Amendment 64 may vote against them? Not in Vicente's view.

"I think this has been a straw-man argument from the beginning," he contends. "There is almost no voter out there who's going to vote against these marijuana taxes. We are going to win this in a landslide."

What makes him so certain?

Continue for more of our interview with Brian Vicente.


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107 comments
Testecleese
Testecleese

Just out of morbid curiosity, what if Hickenlooper the Horrible doesn't sign the A64 legislation? Does it, as Chippi states, then revert back to local control? Void everything? A so called "pocket veto"? What exactly would happen? And why hasn't he signed it already, what's the holdup?

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident

There's nothing "reasonable" about a special sales tax on pot, "just because." They just couldn't help themselves. They had to pile on over and above the initial A64 15% excise tax.

Besides, taxation is theft.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

Coloradans' ALSO voted to 'LEGALIZE' marijuana .

At least MANY, MANY, MANY, were mislead to believe .....

Sara Conrad
Sara Conrad

Not for medical patients, yes for recreational

KathleenChippi
KathleenChippi topcommenter

Hey WW--did Vicente say who they polled?---I heard they polled land lines only?  IMO who they polled is a huge factor because the only people I have heard say they will vote for it are anti pot people.  The people who voted for 64 that I know tell me they will be voting no on both.  Some have even realized that the excise tax is for school construction only---not teacher salaries, books etc. to fill the new buildings.  

And the fiscal impact statement that 64 paid for from last year estimated that the only new jobs created under 64 would be 372 construction jobs--no NEW cannabis businesses or employee's are expected according to them.  http://www.cclponline.org/postfiles/amendment_64_analysis_final.pdf

Gotta LOVE this marketing---remember the all the international press when the state saving 60 million under 64 document hit?  LOL!  and now were talking about the fact that it can't fund itself?   Excellent--the state can not be trusted after their state audit F grade on 3 years of MMJ  'enforcement' and if the regulations aren't implemented due to anything including underfunding---A64 then mandates LOCAL licensing--and I'm pretty sure we would all prefer LOCAL regulation as we have a better chance of impacting locally and avoiding the state's nonsense. 

I'll be voting NO on both--and hopefully the scampaign will learn that writing vague language into the state constitution doesn't pay off. 

Green_eyes
Green_eyes

This will keep the black market thriving.....

Jeremy Flores
Jeremy Flores

Tax it 100% for all I care since I don't partake myself.. But what is the Colorado govt going to do with the proceeds of this tax... Govt loves to tax more and waste... No more taxes until they get their spending in order.... Then tax it reasonably so not to be a burden...

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 "activist says" ... with activists like lyin' Brian Vicente, who needs jackbooted prohibitionist pro-law enforcement tax-and-spend bureaucrats?

How about a more honest and accurate label, eh Michael? ... perhaps Greedy Self-serving Unethical Mendacious McShyster ?



CoreyDonahue
CoreyDonahue

"The federal government's continued silence on Amendment 64, the marijuana measure he co-authored." 

Really?  Becasue they are talking a lot to Gov. Nixonlooper

http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2013/02/marijuana_john_hickenlooper_eric_holder_amendment_64_teleconference.php

Oh and I will sell to you tax free.  Welcome back to the blackmarket.  Oh and enjoy the rape needles.  The WASTEWORD should ask Vicente, why A64 offers no protections for the cannabis consumer and rather it invited the Cannabis DUI.

 (b) NOTHING IN THIS SECTION IS INTENDED TO ALLOW DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MARIJUANA OR DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED BY MARIJUANA OR TO SUPERSEDE STATUTORY LAWS RELATED TO DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MARIJUANA OR DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED BY MARIJUANA, NOR SHALL THIS SECTION PREVENT THE STATE FROM ENACTING AND IMPOSING PENALTIES FOR DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF OR WHILE IMPAIRED BY MARIJUANA.

Propagandist Michael Roberts and the whore of a rag Wasteword strike again!

Ian Errl
Ian Errl

Yeah it's fine...let all the suckers pay the extra, and I'll keep buying from my neighbors.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident ... and the fools and tools who wrote, supported and voted for A64 agreed to steal from themselves! ... to the tune of $40,000,000.00 / YEAR ... MINIMUM!


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Juan_Leg ... you can thank Fluffmaster Michael Roberts and Westweed for spreading that LIE far and wide.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Sara Conrad ... Bingo! ... even MMJ users are willing to TAX THE SHIT out of "other people" ... i.e. recreational stoners.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@KathleenChippi  ... lyin' Brian Vicente should be DISBARRED for his deliberate and willful FRAUD and DECEPTION upon the electorate during the A64 scampaign. 

Mendacious Mason Tvert should be denied donuts for a year ... and Rico Colibri should be deported to Nebraska where he can become the cop he secretly dreams of being.

KathleenChippi
KathleenChippi topcommenter

Doesn't pay off for them, I mean.  After seeing the nonsense they came up with to me it's clear the local licensing is the better option under the crappy language we now live under. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Green_eyes .. only fools and tools thought A64 would eliminate the "black market" -- i.e. the typical individual marijuana user / grower / dealer.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Jeremy Flores "Tax it 100% for all I care since I don't partake myself"

Booooooooo yaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!


Case
Case

Roberts said he was an "activist", but not a "legalization activist", so technically, WW could have meant that he was a "pro-prohibition activist", which would be accurate. I think that's a step in the right direction for WW. Maybe Roberts really is striving to be accurate by conveniently leaving out what KIND of activist Vicente is?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@CoreyDonahue  ... For six months, a committee met weekly to carefully craft the language of A64 --

1 (III) DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MARIJUANA SHALL REMAIN ILLEGAL;

6 (b) NOTHING IN THIS SECTION IS INTENDED TO ALLOW DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MARIJUANA OR DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED BY MARIJUANA OR TO SUPERSEDE STATUTORY LAWS RELATED TO DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MARIJUANA OR DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED BY MARIJUANA, NOR SHALL THIS SECTION PREVENT THE STATE FROM ENACTING AND IMPOSING PENALTIES FOR DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF OR WHILE IMPAIRED BY MARIJUANA.


"Words are important" - Rob Corry

"The process was very intensive, every word was debated" -- Brian Vicente


Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident

@DonkeyHotay@Cognitive_Dissident

"Why do you have ALL civilized societies?"

WAT

It's about time for you to lay off the sauce in the morning.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

@DonkeyHotay @Juan_Leg  

You mean the, 

'Michael Roberts Presents, Westword' ????

He writes damn near the entire publication !

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Case ... ACTIVE in spreading LIES, DECEPTION and FRAUD ... for his own personal pecuniary benefit.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident "Except the DUID law they felt the need to pass "

... oh, they passed it alright ... with the laxative induced by the lyin' liars who wrote and promoted that impacted festering turd known as A64.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident

@DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident  

Except the DUID law they felt the need to pass because of their paranoia of Reefer Madness, which will undoubtedly snag some patients the day after they medicated, when driving unimpaired.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident ... exactly why this taxing measure WILL pass ... because stoners are such a TINY minority -- and despised by such a LARGE portion of the general public -- that TAXING the SHIT out of THEM will be a piece of cake for most Voters.


Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident

@DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident  

There's nothing free market, or even free, about slavery -- Invented and supported by THE STATE.

They cannot take credit for abolishing what they created and what they made legal in the Constitution and supported with runaway slave laws.

"Capitalism" and exploitation of labor requires the state to remove the individual's options.

...and like a true troll, you've derailed the topic...

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident  ... "The Market" brought 1000s of years of SLAVERY ... as the highest and best use of FREE labor. 

It took THE STATE -- i.e. government -- to intervene and END that "FREE MARKET" capitalist exploitation of labor.

hth.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident

@DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident 

It would function in this universe. It's called the market. it's what actually gets things done in "civilization."

"What's left to discuss about [my ideology]" You brought it up. You seem to believe it somehow besmirches me and my opinions.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident 

In what universe would that fantasy ever function?

We're in agreement on the idiocy and fraud perpetrated by A64 and the lyin' liars who promoted it, so what's left to discuss but your unbalanced, untenable socio-political anarchist philosophies?

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident

@DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident  

In what alternate universe is it a bad idea?

Why do you depend on the ad hominem attack to change the subject when you're owned?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident "I believe all human interaction should be peaceful and voluntary. What's wrong with that?"

In what alternate universe has that happened ... ever?

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident

@DonkeyHotay  

I find it hilarious how frequently you retreat to the ad hominem attack. Why do you hate the truth?

You choose to use a term associated with leftist bomb-throwers. I'm not a leftist, or a bomb-thrower, so I do not associate myself with them.

I believe all human interaction should be peaceful and voluntary. What's wrong with that?

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

@Cognitive_Dissident @Juan_Leg @DonkeyHotay  

Much appreciated CD ......

I won't argue w/ anyone I can't punch .....

Including ALL women !

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident

Cognitive_Dissident "I believe there is never any need for the state, at all"

Anarchist -- ipso facto

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