Marijuana taxes: The campaign's case in favor of Proposition AA

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Opponents of Proposition AA, intended to set tax rates on recreational marijuana sales, have gotten a lot of attention for showy events like Monday's free-joint giveaway on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall. But polls earlier this year showed 77 percent of those surveyed support such taxes, and Joe Megyesy, communications director for the Committee for Responsible Regulation, the Yes on Prop AA campaign, remains confident most supporters will back them. Moreover, he disagrees with critics who think they're too high.

According to Megyesy, "Most experts and those of us on the campaign -- a diverse group that's been working on marijuana issues for a long time -- feel the rate is at a level that will allow marijuana to become legitimate and emerge from the black market."

Proposition AA -- see the text as it will appear on the November ballot below -- calls for an excise tax on recreational pot sales of 15 percent, as dictated in Amendment 64, which legalized adults 21 and over in Colorado to use and possess small amounts of cannabis. In addition, the measure sets a 10 percent sales tax that can be raised to 15 percent if necessary to cover costs of the program.

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An image from the Yes on Proposition AA Facebook page.
Critics such as Corry, whose invitation to Vice President Joe Biden to help hand out free weed earned censure from Megyesy, believe these rates are excessive, especially given that they'll be supplemented by standard state and local sales taxes that could push into the 30-40 percent range. He believes the same sales tax consumers pay on other products, and perhaps a special marijuana tax comparable to that placed on alcohol (less than 1 percent in most cases, he says), would not only be sufficient but fair.

Megyesy's response?

"I also worked as a lobbyist on implementation of Amendment 64 at the State Capitol," he says, "and we had a big discussion back in March and April of this year about what the rates should be. Since the first $40 million on the excise tax -- the tax on wholesale activities -- is earmarked for public-school construction, which was a key messaging point of Amendment 64, there was a concern among legislators that there wouldn't be any money left over for enforcement. That's where the notion of the additional sales tax came up.

"When they originally proposed the sales tax," he continues, "it was a lot higher than we're talking about now: 25 percent. And we were very concerned at that point that marijuana would never emerge from the black market, and there would be more and more black market activity, and further gray market activity, that would really hamper marijuana's ability to come out as a legitimate industry. We fought hard to get that tax rate lower than 25 percent, and even though some people wanted it lower than the 10-15 percent range, that was the compromise we were able to arrive at."

The No on Prop AA camp contends that even this amount will push marijuana consumers to eschew legitimate retail outlets for underground sellers, thereby crippling the fledgling industry. But Megyesy isn't buying it.

Continue for more about the Yes on Proposition AA campaign, including a video and the measure's text.


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8 comments
testiclulitis
testiclulitis

Suckers voted for A64 deserve to be taxed into oblivion.

stuka1
stuka1

"I also worked as a lobbyist on implementation of Amendment 64 at the State Capitol,"

 And you let the prohibitionists steamroll you and shit all over the Constitution and the will of The People. Congratulations on throwing away the ball before you got to the finish line.

stuka1
stuka1

" ... there was a concern among legislators that there wouldn't be any money left over for enforcement. That's where the notion of the additional sales tax came up."

FUCK this " for law enforcement" bullshit.  A64 didn't say anything AT ALL about a tax to pay for more law enforcement on a LEGAL PLANT.

stuka1
stuka1

"Really, we're just fulfilling a commitment we made to Colorado voters -- the 55 percent of Colorado voters who voted for Amendment 64 with the notion that marijuana would beTAXED TO PAY FOR ITS OWN REGULATION."

THAT IS A LIE.  There is NOTHING WHATSOEVER in A64 about a tax to pay for REGULATION.

Read 'em and weep LIAR!:

http://www.regulatemarijuana.org/s/regulate-marijuana-alcohol-act-2012

Tony Tafoya
Tony Tafoya

everyone in the campain is to stoned to support atm good luck

Monkey
Monkey

You need more money for enforcement, sell more licenses, that's how it works. If you don't want black market sales, sell them the license that magically turns them legitimate.

 The best weed comes from small gardens, not warehouses. You wont know what you're getting from a store, the "testing facilities" designed to sell you confidence  will be full of corruption, just like the industry submitting the samples for testing. If their weed keeps coming back contaminated, they wont admit it, they'll simply pay for better results, mislabel their sample, or get some weed from a friends basement to test as their own.

 Only people who hate weed, or want to suppress it to gain market control are in favor of taxing consumers. The ones against A64 but are now in favor of this tax have not changed their mind about marijuana. They realize they can't stop the weed train, so obviously they're in favor of penalizing the ones who shop in the stores they never wanted to exist.

 The 55 percent of Colorado voters who voted for Amendment 64 with the notion that marijuana would be taxed knew about an excise tax that would fund school construction, they did not vote for consumers to pay for regulations. Everyone assumed the outrageous license and application fees would cover that, much like how we regulate the sale and manufacture of alcohol.

stuka1
stuka1

@testiclulitis <---- obvious Jackass sock puppet.  Go fuck yourself.

bill
bill

@stuka1  

I believe they are arguing for the enforcement of section one subsection A. However, a good counter to this would be definition of regulation described at section five subsection D that explains the tax on marijuana can not exceed 15%. 

 I may hate Marijuana users but they do have a point. Hopefully they won't come to my work since they have already ruined where I live with their stank. 

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