Marijuana: Yes on Proposition AA tax proposal winning handily in polls
With the election only days away, voters have been inundated with robocalls and the like about education-oriented Amendment 66 and more. But the hype for marijuana tax Proposition AA has been far quieter, with little activity for weeks. And even opponents, who grabbed September headlines with joint giveaway protests, haven't made much noise of late. Is that because those on both sides expect it to win? A Yes on Prop AA rep doesn't put it quite that way, but he notes that polling shows the measure winning handily.
"We have a good lead in our polling," says Yes on Prop AA spokesman Joe Megyesy. "We've been holding a steady lead, with around 60 percent."
Indeed, October 8-9 data provided by Megyesy (see the document in its entirety below) shows that among all voters, 60 percent say they will definitely or probably cast their ballot in favor of Proposition AA, which calls for 15 percent excise tax on marijuana sales and a 10 percent state sales tax that can be increased to 15 percent without an additional vote. That's opposed to 25 percent who say they'll vote no.
Does that mean the group backing Proposition AA has stopped campaigning? No: A campaign surrogate debated attorney Rob Corry, the man behind the joint giveaways, as part of a recent Denver Post webcast, and some op-eds and letters to the editor are still in the pipeline. As such, Megyesy says, "we're still trying to engage people up until the last minute." But the most visible outreach methods began winding down during the middle of the month.
"We structured the campaign to reach voters before the mail-in ballots dropped," he says. "We wanted to get out there and visit with editorial boards and civic and political groups before October 15, so voters could make an informed decision when they got their ballots."
The ed board visits certainly paid off: Proposition AA has been endorsed by most major newspapers in the state, including the Post, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Fort Collins Coloradoan, the Pueblo Chieftain, the Aspen Times and the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Moreover, the campaign has lined up endorsements from prominent politicians and advocates, many of whom opposed Amendment 64, which legalized adults 21 and over to use and possess small amounts of cannabis. We've included the photos and comments of several prominent backers below.
Are there any scenarios under which Prop AA could still lose? Well, off-year elections tend to attract lower participation in general, with the largest group typically taking part being older voters who may oppose marijuana legalization in general. But Megyesy isn't too worried. He thinks the turnout may be better than anticipated due to other contentious issues on the ballot, including Amendment 66, local fracking bans and school board races. And even if fewer people participate, the Prop AA polling numbers show seniors generally support the measure, too.
"I think most people have the idea that Amendment 64 is already here and marijuana is legal, but now it's a matter of how we're dealing with it," Megyesy allows. "So I think even folks who disagree with Amendment 64 will still vote for Proposition AA, because they want to make sure there's enough money to regulate marijuana properly."
He adds that national activist Grover Norquist's recent statement that voting to raise taxes on pot wouldn't violate a no-tax pledge, since prohibition is the ultimate tax, could reassure some conservative voters who are on the fence.
Given all that, Megyesy says, "we feel pretty comfortable" that Proposition AA will pass.
Here are some endorsement statements from Proposition AA supporters.
"It's important that Coloradans pass Proposition AA to help ensure communities have the funds needed to pay for a robust and responsible regulation of marijuana. Colorado communities would also benefit from the increased funding for public school construction." -- Governor John Hickenlooper
"These taxes will provide funding for construction on Colorado's public schools, as the voters intended. I also see no other way to ensure the state recovers the significant expense of responsibly regulating this new industry and receives funding for the inevitable public health, education, and safety costs. For these reasons, I encourage the citizens of Colorado to pass an additional sales tax and new excise tax." -- Attorney General John Suthers
Continue for more Proposition AA endorsements, as well as the polling data.