Marijuana activist doesn't want Denver taxes going to controversial anti-pot doctor

Categories: Marijuana, News
Yesterday, members of the Denver City Council met in committee to consider the size of a tax on recreational marijuana sales, with one possibility being 5 percent, and a ceiling of 15 percent.

Even the former amount strikes marijuana activist and Amendment 64 co-author Brian Vicente as higher than strictly necessary.

But Vicente's more worried about a chunk of the revenues going to a controversial anti-pot doctor.

"It's been an interesting discussion in Denver," Vicente notes. "We were really hoping for a 3.5 percent tax; we would support that. But now, it looks like they're leaning more toward a 5 percent tax."

Brian Vicente.
The difference between these amounts doesn't strike Vicente as egregious. "Although I think 3.5 percent would be fine, 5 percent would probably be reasonable.

"But our main concern," he continues, "is that funding is allocated to appropriate channels -- funding the regulatory structure, some funding for education. But really, one of our main sticking points is that we don't want the money going to Christian Thurstone and Denver Health."

For those who don't immediately recognize the name, Dr. Christian Thurstone is an addiction specialist who's long spoken out about the dangers of marijuana, particularly when it comes to young people. In a 2010 post, he raised the specter of kids getting addicted to medical marijuana, and earlier this year, he suggested that pot users searching for bigger highs might start to inject THC.

Thurstone is a major player in the anti-pot-legalization organization Project SAM. But he also was appointed by Governor John Hickenlooper to serve on the state's Amendment 64 committee.

Last month, as we reported, Denver Health presented a $2 million marijuana-education proposal to the city council's Amendment 64 committee, headed up by councilman Charlie Brown. The documents provided to Denver officials at the time are on view below, but here are descriptions of the concept's three tiers: "Evaluate," "Educate" and "Early Treatment."

The "Evaluate" portion is described like so:

Develop a comprehensive monitoring system that includes data from electronic health records, hospital and emergency department visits, admissions to addiction programs, perceived risk of marijuana use among youth, and rates of school absenteeism and drop-out. These data will be used to provide detailed and meaningful records to policymakers, community based organizations, school officials and public and personal health care providers.
A64 Committee chair Charlie Brown.
This is the "Educate" offering:
Develop a targeted media and education campaign including social media (Facebook, text-messaging, Twitter, YouTube). Youth should play a major role in identifying the messages, developing the content, and providing feedback.

And this is the "Early Treatment" description:
We propose evidence-based treatment that integrates primary care, mental health care and substance treatment into Denver's high-quality school-based health clinic system. An initial program would include full-time therapists, back-up from a child psychiatrist with expertise in addictions, and a program manager. After an initial investment, a program of vigorous outreach to school-aged children can become partly or largely self-funding through appropriate billing of the students' health insurance. This implementation will have a large public health impact on reducing substance use among youth.
The documents estimate total expenses for the program, including personnel and non-personnel costs, at $2,203,274. And over a two-year period, Thurstone's "Pro Fee Revenue" is listed at $124,800.

The prospect of Denver taxpayers giving so much cash to Thurstone doesn't cheer Vicente.

Continue for more of our interview with marijuana activist Brian Vicente.

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My Voice Nation Help

Sounds like Vicente wants to go swimming in a public pool but not leave any money aside to pay the lifeguards.

Michael Sabin
Michael Sabin

Tax, Tax, Tax....Denver Health needs to pay their rehab staff....


No money for "dr" thurstone and his wacky wife.  Oh and Charlie, you're not a cowboy.  Get a real tie.


Mitch Morrissey is claiming that the 'violence' in Denver is increasing because of medical marijuana and points to 12 murders  directly related to the 'medical' (not black-market) industry. Now, the pedophiles over at Project SAM are claiming that the children are going to become addicted and start injecting THC. At the end of each of these losers speeches, they both asked for BIG MONEY from the Council for more police and more 'treatment' programs....Is this not the opposite direction we are supposed to be going?

RobertChase topcommenter

Thurstone and our City Council are parasites.  We should campaign against all the taxes proposed for cannabis -- none of them are what voters authorized last November.  Next year, if the General Assembly asks us to approve a 15% excise tax alone, we should consider it.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Too bad lyin' Brian Vicente didn't think of that before he baited the Electorate and Politicians with false promises of $40 MILLION / YEAR in Pot Taxes with his pathetic festering turd A64.

Reap What Ye Sow, Prevaricating Pot Pimps!


the money they got so far they spent it on other things rather than the pot related stuff they were supposed to . now they want more?

michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@BDBD Interesting image, BDBD. Thanks for posting.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RobertChase... you lying liars behind A64 baited the Legislature, Voters and Prohibitionists with $40 MILLION in Annual Revenue from marijuana via A64 ... 

... it's time to Pay the Piper!

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