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Why Doesn’t ‘Will Of The People’ Apply To Marijuana Legalization?

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uncle sam marijuana federal colorado amendment 64 repeal taxesIn case you have been living under a rock since before the 2012 Election, Colorado voters decided that marijuana prohibition in the state was over. That’s right, via the democratic process, Colorado voters decided to legalize marijuana. Yet, somehow, someway, there is still a very realistic threat still lurking that could keep marijuana prohibition in place in Colorado. According to the Denver Post:

“The repeal would be linked to a measure on marijuana taxes that is expected to go before voters in November, according to legislators and advocacy groups involved in the discussions. The premise is that, if voters do not approve the taxes, then Amendment 64, the initiative passed just months ago to legalize marijuana, would be repealed. It’s also possible that voters would be given a choice of repealing marijuana legalization if the taxes don’t pass.”

So apparently, even though voters have already voted to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Colorado, there is a good chance that voters will have to do it once again. I am confident that Colorado voters will do the right thing, and vote for marijuana legalization, yet again, if they need to. But why do they need to? Is the Colorado Legislature currently working on a bill that would try to repeal alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals via some tax bill?

Between the federal government and the Colorado state government, I don’t understand what I’m missing. We do live in a democracy right? If this can happen in Colorado, what’s to stop it from happening in Washington? What’s to stop it from happening in any state that chooses to legalize marijuana in the future? Marijuana opponents know that putting as many hurdles and hoops in the way of marijuana legalization every step of the way reduces the chances of it becoming a fully implemented reality. It’s a time tested tactic in politics. If you live in Colorado, contact your legislators to let them know that you won’t stand for this. If you live in Washington, you might want to also contact your legislators as a precaution. Tell them to respect the will of the people!!!!

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Johnny Green

21 Comments

  1. Criminalization of weed is the government’s most powerful weapon to trample on the Constitution.

  2. This is a B.S. move …So why don’t they say ” Hey beer is illegal unless you let us tax it 30%” …no we would never hear that would we? Aggrr..come on Colorado time to Repeat ourselves, I guess we have to tell them twice!!

  3. I really want to know what you are saying, I think I have the gist of it but I do not speak the jargon… can you please simplify? I believe I have the same opinion. thank you

  4. I am not going to vote for any one that try over turn the will of the people that is in office.

  5. Understood it is an option, However for the many that are employed in Colorado, It can be a difficult to achieve option. Such as the Quadrapeligic that Dish Network fired for failing his test…

  6. ColoMtnRunner on

    This initiative would create a dual purpose Ballot question, which is not allowed. You would have thought the legislature and reporter would have checked that out with the Secretary of State.
    This voting for repeal bill is a non starter when tied to taxes!

  7. this is the first time I have seen this idea in print. I have been using my logo for 4 years now.
    By Legal Democratic Vote Cannabis Is Medicine! currently the United Nations is encouraging the Us gobernment to take the vote away from the people who voted for cannabis to be legalized. The UN is wanting the US to abandon the will of the people.

  8. We had the Occupiers. But they were arrested and evicted from property they had a right to be on. This was done with force. The force wasn’t to control the occupiers. It was to tell everyone sitting at home that agreed with them, to shut up and stay home or you’ll be next to be pepper sprayed for being on public property. The property your tax dollars paid for.

  9. Until you outlaw urine testing due to the fact it does not detect impairement and protect workers from loosing jobs due to failed tests it really dosent matter what you vote for. You have voted for legalization already and people in fact quadrapalegics that have legal medical liscence are being fired from thier jobs. What good does legality do if you can not be employed? I believe it is time to fight for 100% Federal Legalization or to begin to fight to Prohibit Alchohol and Tobacco in the same fashion as cannabis.

  10. California didn’t “drop the ball”, because cannabis requires no more regulation (= govt intrusion) than echinacea or St. John’s wort, and the only problems have come from federal abuse of powers and local neocon obstruction. The fact that none of the nightmare prophesies of the prohibitionists have come to pass in the last decade of CA’s “virtual” legalization is a huge reason for public support of reform in other states.

    YOU’RE WELCOME.

  11. “We do live in a democracy right?”

    Nooope–sorry, we live in a de facto oligarchy, run by corporate plutocrats like the Kochs; only difference between Russia or China is that our overlords have a better PR machine.

    Until something on the order of the Arab Spring takes hold here, it’s going to stay that way.

  12. April
    24, 2013

    Representatives and Senators of the Colorado General Assembly et alia:

    I write with regard to the implementation of Amendment 64, generally supposed to have been considered in good faith by a broad array of concerned parties constituted as the Amendment 64 Task Force. Consider the text of what is now Article XVIII, Section 16 of our Constitution. It begins:

    “(1) Purpose and findings.

    … 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 … In the interest of the health and public safety of our citizenry, the people of the state of Colorado further find and declare that marijuana should be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol …”

    We regulate alcohol by licensing its production, distribution, and sale, and by limiting its use, and when individuals violate the provisions of the Liquor Code (C.R.S. Title 12, Article 47) they are subject to a modest penalty – it is a Class 2 misdemeanor to break our laws restricting alcohol under the Liquor Code (with the sole exception that it is a Class 1 misdemeanor under the Liquor Code to give alcohol to a minor). The People have ordained that cannabis should be treated like alcohol (despite the fact that cannabis is far less harmful).

    The lawyers, however, take a different view: the unequivocal statement of the will of the People in our Constitution quoted above has no direct legal effect, and so they consider that its import can, may, and (in the interests of expedience) should be ignored. Amendment 64 provides for the licensure of general sales of cannabis to adults, and the obsessive greed engendered by the prospect has fixated attention on its least significant aspect, i.e. the details of regulating the commerce in cannabis embodied in HB13-1317. Of greater significance is our tax policy; Amendment 64 contemplates legal, controlled commerce in cannabis that displaces illicit trade, and to that end it allows the General Assembly to propose a special excise tax on cannabis of no more than fifteen percent to voters. Our criminal laws are of overarching importance, and the People just told you to conciliate the draconian anti-cannabis statutes with the provisions of the Liquor Code, which is incomparably less prohibitive than the Uniform Controlled Substances Act (C.R.S. Title 18, Article 18). How do the most important parts of Amendment 64 fare in the legislation proposed?

    With regard to taxation, HB13-1318 advances the principle that, because prohibitionists confabulate untold costs and unimaginable liabilities associated with not wasting public funds suppressing cannabis and persecuting
    its users, it is necessary to assess not only the maximum fifteen percent excise tax allowed under the Constitution, but a special sales tax over five times that applied to alcohol – no; this will not fly. There is no rational basis whatsoever for claiming that there is any need for so excessive a tax, which would drive consumers to the black market and thwart the intent of the Amendment. Even though cannabis is far less harmful than alcohol, Article XVIII, Section 16 provides for a special tax, intended for the express purpose of paying you off – do not dare to ask us to pay an extraordinary sales tax of fifteen percent on top of the special excise tax authorized by the Constitution, or voters will rightly reject your request for our money.

    With regard to the criminal law, the lawyers are telling you that Title 18, Article 18 need only be tweaked to deal with the explicit provisions for legal cultivation and use detailed in the body of the Amendment, and to reinstitute
    almost all the dire penalties for cannabis; these are the provisions of SB13-283. This bill constitutes a declaration of war against those who use cannabis and it is a monumental expression of contempt for the express will of the People of Colorado – the bill does represent the consensus of the Amendment 64 Task Force (and demonstrates the unfitness of that group to undertake the task assigned to it), but it blatantly disregards the opening declaration of the purpose of the Amendment which the People have enshrined in the Constitution. Violating the laws regulating the use, cultivation, sales or distribution of cannabis must be made a Class 2 misdemeanor, just as violating the Liquor Code is now, not the Class 4, Class 3, and Class 2 felonies the sponsors have the temerity to propose. Giving cannabis to minors should be a Class 1 misdemeanor under Colorado’s Uniform Controlled Substances Act (and a felony under the statute against contributing to the delinquency of minors, just as giving alcohol to them is) – how dare the sponsors compare this with killing someone in a rage or sexual assault by proposing to make this offense a Class 2 felony? I demand that the sponsors of this outrageously offensive and unconstitutional bill withdraw it now. If you assent to SB13-283, you flout the most important principle enunciated in Amendment 64, and you betray your constituents.

    The spectacle of Colorado rushing to license conduct for which it will still be making felons of its citizens come next January is nauseating. The People have directed you to regulate the use of cannabis, not to re-criminalize
    it. Remove references to cannabis being any sort of felony from Title 18, Article 18, and do so immediately. The perfidy of those who have pretended to criminalize innocuous personal conduct has been repudiated by over
    fifty-five percent of the voters — it is our will that cannabis be treated no more severely than alcohol, and we have said as much in the Constitution. If any felony penalties for cannabis remain in the Colorado Revised Statutes after June 1 of this year, you will have failed to do your clear duty, and all Colorado should act to halt investigations, arrests, prosecutions, trials, and incarcerations for any offenses related to cannabis, until the statutes are made consistent with the supreme law of Colorado. No one associated with this unconstitutional, maleficent, and shameful bill should ever hold office in Colorado again.

    Sincerely,

    Robert Chase, Colorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers, (720) 213-6497

  13. A democracy? We live in a quasi police state, wherein a plant can be made illegal and assets can be seized simply for having contact with said plant. We live in a nation where pharmacies and banks are now organs of the state by virtue of their obligation to report on their patrons who act outside of preordained norms. We live in a state that has decided to let police harass doctors into practicing medicine as the cops see it. So Johnny, I hope we can start to make the pendulum swing back towards democracy, but I think obstacles will continually pop up. Remember CZARS do not give up power voluntarily whether it is Ivan the Terrible or Gil Kerlikowske.

  14. There will never be enough regulation to satisfy those who are the big losers with legalization. The answer is to make endocannabinoid a household word.

  15. This is where big pharm tries to buy marijuana illegality through tactical lawyering and legislative bullshit, because they know once marijuana is all sorted out they will lose billions because no one will even want to look at their worthless pills that have never worked to begin with.

  16. Steven Wrytyr on

    There is an up side to all of this. As these obstacles are thrown into our way, those that follow will see
    them and make sure that they are addressed in future legislation. California dropped the ball by not addressing proper state regulation language, Colorado didn’t address a tax structure. One by one, these
    missteps will be addressed in subsequent legislation and soon they will have no choice be to let it be and find something else to piss and moan about.

  17. Michael Miller on

    The voters passed a bill to legalize and “regulate like alcohol”. That should mean to tax like alcohol, limit use like alcohol, and leave responsible users alone like alcohol. The Colorado congress is doing all it can to prevent the timely implementation of A64, and they need to be rewarded for their behavior in the next election.

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