Andrea Merida, new Denver Green Party co-chair, urges "no" vote on marijuana taxes

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Photo by Anthony Camera
Outgoing Denver Public Schools board member Andrea Merida, once an active member of the Democratic party in Denver, is now co-chair of the 1,800-member Denver Green Party.

And in that capacity, Merida, seen here, is speaking out on two ballot measures: Proposition AA and Referred Question 2A. Both deal with marijuana taxes, an issue Merida says is important to a segment of the population that the Green Party is trying to reach -- namely "the young, working-class voter."

"This is something that they're disproportionately affected by," Merida says, explaining that there's a stigma attached to marijuana that's "very race-based and very class-based."

"These are people who are not served by the system and are not reached out to by the two major parties," she adds. "We're serious about talking for people who don't have a voice."

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The Denver Green Party does not support Proposition AA or Referred Question 2A, and is recommending that voters vote "no." Here are excerpts from the party's explanation:
Proposition AA

The claim of proponents of Proposition AA is that passage would fulfill the wishes of the voters as represented in Amendment 64, now Article 18, Section 16 of the Constitution of the State of Colorado, which states:

"...the people of the state of Colorado find and declare that the use of marijuana should be legal for persons twenty-one years of age or older and taxed in a manner similar to alcohol."

Current beer taxes are 8 cents per gallon plus 8 percent sales tax.

Proposition AA would raise excise (wholesale) tax to 15% and would allow the state legislature to impose at least a 10% sales tax but as much as 15%. Simple math shows a drastic disparity of taxation levied on recreational marijuana sales and consumption, which we do not believe is a "manner similar to alcohol."

We do not believe that a tax increase of 30%, when beer is only at 16%, is a demonstration of "similar."

Denver's Referred Question 2A

This question, upon passage, would authorize the Denver City Council to immediately apply a tax of 3.5% on all recreational marijuana sales but also gives authorization to apply an additional tax up to a total of 15% as the council sees fit.

The purpose of the tax, according to the drafters of the question, is to pay for:

  • Direct and indirect expenses related to licensing and regulation of the retail marijuana industry
  • Enforcement of marijuana laws in general
  • Educational and health programs on the "negative consequences" of using marijuana or related products
  • Programs to keep young people under 21 from using or buying
  • Upkeep and operation of the city and its facilities

Should recreational marijuana users contribute to the general well-being of the city in which they live? Of course they should, and that should include paying sales taxes. But just as in the case of Proposition AA, we do not believe that an additional tax of up to 18.5% is a legitimate expression of the people's wishes in the Constitution, when Denver's current tax code specifies a 4% tax on liquor sales.

Continue for more of our interview with Andrea Merida.

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42 comments
Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Don't forget you're generalizing a lot. Tom Tancredo is an example of a Republican that's embraced the anti-drug-war issues. Some of them come around.

GuantanamoIsRad
GuantanamoIsRad

I just voted NO on these taxes and I suggest you all do the same. Weed is legal now, taxes or not. Screw the retail model. Your money will be going to INCREASED enforcement against legal marijuana smokers and 'Guantanamo' style forced blood draws by armed psychopaths on the side of the road. Have some fu**ing self dignity and vote NO!

Jackie Burhans
Jackie Burhans

If this doesn't pass what will the taxes be? Will there be taxes?

Angela Elliott
Angela Elliott

They state it would be taxed similar to alcohol but from what I read it is way more.

Angela Elliott
Angela Elliott

It does not make sense to tax Marijuana more than alcohol.

Perry UncleBear Beaton
Perry UncleBear Beaton

I will be voting yes. All user taxes make sense, cigarettes, alcohol, gasoline, etc.

McShyster
McShyster

Destroy the Greedy Big $$ Dispensary Cartels and the Jackbooted Government Regulators they beget -- Vote YES on MASSIVE TAXES and CRIPPLING STRICT REGULATIONS !!

Tax the Profiteering Dispensary Pigs into Oblivion!


McShyster
McShyster

@GuantanamoIsRad "Screw the retail model"

Yep, you've got the right answer, but the wrong reasoning.

Keeping taxes low will ensure that the Greedy Big $$ Dispensary Cartels survive, and they'll use their profits to continue to lobby against their competition -- INDIVIDUAL PRIVATE growers, users, caregivers and sellers, using the Law Enforcement Goons at the DOR as their own private Gestapo and bribing the Legislature with their $$.

Supporting MASSIVE TAXES and STRICT REGULATIONS will cripple those Greedy Carpetbagging Pigs and the Law Enforcement goons by depriving them of any viable marketshare as the 100s of thousands of stoners who've been getting high for years -- decades -- will then continue to purchase their dope from the same FRIENDS, ACQUAINTANCES and FAMILY members they've always obtained it from -- what the prohibitionists, dispensary shills and a compliant ignorant media denigrates as the evil "black market".

Vote YES on MASSIVE TAXES and STRICT REGULATIONS, destroy the Greedy Big $$ Dispensary Pigs and bankrupt the DOR enforcement goons, returning the marijuana market to PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL users, growers and sellers -- the true Free Market -- no taxes, no regulations, no dedicated pot cops, no licenses, no bullshit.

Screw the Greedy Big $$ Retail Dispensary model.




stuka1
stuka1

@Jackie Burhans There will be regular sales taxes.  REGULATION is already paid for by the exorbitant licensing fees that keep the little guy and mom-and-pops out of the business, by the way.  Keep that in mind:  these people are lying to you when they say it is paying for regulation, regulation is already paid for.


Prop AA is a state tax, BTW, and 2A is Denver City only. The Denver city council has gone on record admitting that this is a pure greed tax, no matter what they claim on paper that it's for.


BOTH of these measures need to get shitcanned.

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

Typical illiterate stoner, too stupid to read much less comprehend what A64 proposed.

GuantanamoIsRad
GuantanamoIsRad

@Perry UncleBear Beaton Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

stuka1
stuka1

@Perry UncleBear Beaton You are a fucking idiot.

andrea572
andrea572

@McShyster Except they won't be the ones that pay the taxes, aside from a 10% excise tax, which they can pass on to the consumer.  It's the user that gets punished.

Jayrado
Jayrado

@McShyster Many of the individual, family and friend growers of which you speak are the smaller dispensaries already struggling to continue paying fees for operation licensing, etc.  Further taxation would absolutely harm these people, who are the only ones putting out decent product for consumers who need product not laden with chemicals or pests and diseases.  As others have mentioned, the customer would inevitably suffer the greatest.


The big, greedy grows of which you speak have the money to pay fees and fines and to clean up messes of whatever variety anyhow, so these taxes will annoy, but not destroy the dispensaries you'd wish.


As for the actual distribution of these monies, how sketch is the wording?:  -"Direct and indirect expenses?"...  What a gaping hole left for regulators to continue their unfaithful relationship with transparency concerning OUR MONEY.

Then it bothers me that monies raised via producers and consumers of a product are being used for "Educational and Health programs on the 'negative consequences'" of said product, with no counter-education or health programs for the health benefits and perhaps ways in which one might properly, safely use the product in place.  Anyone else?

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

If the dispensary tax doesn't pass then the State should REFUSE to issue any recreational licenses, for lack of sufficient funding necessary to STRICTLY REGULATE those greedy profiteering dispensary pigs.

Tax the greedy big $$ dispensary cartels into oblivion where they belong!!

.

stuka1
stuka1

@stupidstuka  

Fucking idiot troll:

(1) Purpose and findings.
               (a) IN THE INTEREST OF THE EFFICIENT USE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES, ENHANCING REVENUE FOR PUBLIC PURPOSES, AND INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM, THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF COLORADO FIND AND DECLARE THAT THE USE OF MARIJUANA SHOULD BE LEGAL FOR PERSONS TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER ********AND TAXED IN A MANNER SIMILAR TO ALCOHOL*********.

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

There will be no retail consumers if the taxes are set high enough. All the recreational stoners will continue to obtain their weed from the same sources they've always used - friends, acquaintances and family -thereby denying revenue to the greedy big $$ dispensary pigs and denying revenue to the government law enforcement goons.

No self respecting stoner would ever buy overpriced, overtaxed, government controlled warehouse schwag from a profiteering retail dispensary.

stuka1
stuka1

@McShyster <--- spreading disinformation for the prohibitionists for over a year.

McShyster
McShyster

@Jayrado "Many of the individual, family and friend growers of which you speak are the smaller dispensaries already struggling to continue paying fees for operation licensing, etc."

Nonsense. Those mostly fictional "mom and pop" dispensaries don't stand a chance against the Greedy Big $$ Dispensary Cartels, and would be better off going back to the UNREGULATED home markets from whence they came.

As far as the assertion that "customers suffer" ... BULLSHIT!

There isn't a SINGLE RECREATIONAL Pot user in the entire state that doesn't ALREADY HAVE a connection/source for their weed from friends, family or associates -- IPSO FACTO.

There is NO NEED for the Greedy Big $$ Dispensaries -- who continue to use their $$ to lobby AGAINST private individual rights -- as the recreational market is ALREADY SERVED by current sources, WITHOUT the bullshit "seed to sale" intrusive privacy violations, and millions of $$ going to fund the jackbooted Pot Cops at the DOR.

FUCK the Government controlled Corporate McRETAIL model.

The original "mom and pop" home market has worked fine for 50+ years.


stuka1
stuka1

@McShyster    You talk a lot of shit hiding behind that monitor, pussy.  You won't be when I catch up with your punk ass.

stuka1
stuka1

@McShyster <--- pathetic loser gets excited over others' typos. Go back to sucking Christian Turdstone's cock, you chickenshit whiny pussy.

McShyster
McShyster

@stuka1 "regocnition"  [sic]

Epic stoner FAIL.

stuka1
stuka1

@McShyster   You are begging for a beating, asshole.  YOU are the one siding with the "Big $$ Dispensary cartel", with your disinformation and incessant bleating to pass exorbitant taxes.  Go back to sucking dick on Colfax, you whiny pussy.

McShyster
McShyster

@stuka1

Clueless stoners like you are continually played as tools and pawns by the Big $$ Dispensary cartel propaganda machine, that has idiots and imbeciles like you voting against your own self-interest.

Stay stupid, stuka, it's what you do best.

McShyster
McShyster

@stuka1 <== same stupid fuckwit who claimed the 5 ng/ml DUI-marijuana limit would never become law.

ROTFLMAO !!


stuka1
stuka1

@stupidstuka <----- Can't tell it's idiotic opinion from fact.  The state CAN'T hold the People hostage and refuse to issue licenses over bullshit taxes the People refuse to pass. 

stuka1
stuka1

@McShyster    That tax was and is subject to TABOR, dickbreath. You have a big fucking mouth when you are hiding behind that monitor, pussy.

stuka1
stuka1

@stupidstuka I admit nothing.  They couldn't be any more lying dishonest scumbags than you are, in any case.  Go back to sucking Christian Turdstone's dick.

McShyster
McShyster

@stuka1

The initial 15% -- rising to UNLIMITED -- EXCISE TAX which was promoted as raising $40 MILLION ANNUALLY for schools that was WRITTEN INTO A64 by the lying liars who promoted that piece of crap is "nothing like similar" to alcohol either, numbnuts.

That's IN ADDITION TO nominal sales tax rates of 8% or more in most cities.

Clueless fools and tools like you VOTED FOR IT!

Reap What Ye Sow, sucker!

.

stuka1
stuka1

@Orange

I didn't write the amendment, moron.  

 I didn't say "EXACTLY", either, moron.

 50% in taxes is nothing like SIMILAR, dumbass.


Go fuck your strawman, donkey-sock.

Orange
Orange

@stuka1 sim·i·lar

ˈsimələr/adjective
  1. 1.resembling without being identical.

Marijuana will be taxed, just like alcohol is taxed. Similar. 

If you wanted it taxed, regulated and treated EXACTLY like alcohol, you should have written the amendment that way. 

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

So you admit that the lying dishonest scumbags behind A64 were lying dishonest scumbags when they promised it would generate $40 MILLION annually for schools.

Noted.

stuka1
stuka1

@stupidstuka That excise tax still has to pass TABOR, just like everything else. And it's NOT a "$40 million" tax, as you well know, it states that "the first $40 million" is to go to school construction.  If there is no 40 million, tough fucking luck.  But you don't give a shit about facts.

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

Same lying liars who wrote and promoted that piece of crap A64 also provided a $40 MILLION annual excise tax - at 15% increasing to UNLIMITED! - and the voters agreed!

Obey the will of the voters and TAX THAT SHIT!!

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

stuka1 prefers to bottom for the fist of government regulation.

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

sucka1 = big-government dispensary shill, individual rights prohibitionist, general idiot.

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