On November 5, Colorado passed Prop AA, a measure that outlines the specific taxes to be imposed on the sale of recreational marijuana. The measure works in conjunction with Amendment 64, the ballot measure passed last year that taxes and regulates marijuana for adult use. Prop AA is an important step to establish taxes to fund the regulation of the marijuana industry. Although Colorado has ended their prohibition of marijuana, it is still illegal under federal law. The DOJ announced in July that it will not interfere in Colorado’s implementation of a regulated marijuana industry, but only if it adheres to the regulations set out in Amendment 64 with a fully-funded regulatory body, among other criteria.
In order to pay for regulation and oversight, Prop AA establishes a 15% excise tax imposed on the sale of marijuana from a cultivation facility and a 10% sales tax imposed when a consumer purchases marijuana from a retail store. This tax revenue will allow the state to monitor marijuana sales and implement the regulations set out in Amendment 64. The revenue will also go toward the Building Excellent Schools Today program, which will improve infrastructure, technology, and construction of new facilities for Colorado Public Schools.
Colorado made history last November when it became one of the first states in the country to legalize marijuana for adults. Support was exceptionally strong in Denver, where 66% of city voters cast their ballots in favor of Amendment 64.
Mayor Michael Hancock and his allies on the Denver City Council are now attempting to roll back that progress with a blatantly unconstitutional measure that would criminalize adults’ use of marijuana — even on private property — if others report seeing or smelling it! If this ordinance is approved, adults will face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 just for using marijuana in front of their window or in their backyard — harsher penalties than before the passage of Amendment 64! We cannot allow Denver officials to approve this foolish proposal. The city should not be spending taxpayer dollars to arrest and prosecute citizens who are in compliance with state law. And since the measure is a clear violation of the Colorado Constitution, the city will end up spending even more taxpayer dollars defending it in court.
Here is coverage of the issue and reaction from city councilors opposed to the measure:
On Friday, MPP’s Mason Tvert reacted to Mayor Hancock’s attempt to subvert the law:
The Colorado Department of Revenue Marijuana Enforcement Division released initial regulationsfor the state’s impending legal marijuana industry on Monday, bringing the implementation of Amendment 64 one step closer to completion.
Denver’s Westword compiled a pretty good summary of the new rules, which cover the licensing and application process; production and sales models; and security and labeling requirements.
It is important to note that these are emergency rules that were created in accordance with the timeline established by Amendment 64. The Department of Revenue will now carry out a lengthier process to develop a final set of rules.
Marijuana retail shops will be able to begin opening in Colorado on January 1, 2014. Colorado residents age 21 and over will be able to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana from a licensed and regulated store; non-residents will be able to buy up to a quarter of an ounce at a time.
Governor John Hickenlooper signed thefirst billsin history to establish a regulated marijuana market for adults and initiate the development of a regulatory framework for the cultivation, distribution, and processing of industrial hemp. The four measures were approved by the General Assembly earlier this month in accordance with Amendment 64, a ballot measure approved by 55% of Colorado voters last November. The Huffington Postreports:
“We applaud Gov. Hickenlooper for the initiative he has taken to ensure the world’s first legal marijuana market for adults will entail a robust and comprehensive regulatory system” said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, who served as an official proponent of Amendment 64 and co-director of the campaign in Colorado…
Tvert added: “Colorado is demonstrating to the rest of the nation that it is possible to adopt a marijuana policy that reflects the public’s increasing support for making marijuana legal for adults.”
The Colorado Dept. of Revenue now has until July 1 to develop the specific regulations necessary for implementation, and voters will need to sign off on the proposed tax levels in the upcoming November election. If all continues to go smoothly, state-regulated marijuana retail stores will begin opening their doors to adults 21 and older in January 2014.
As you have probably heard, there was big news in Denver yesterday. The Colorado Legislature approved legislation to tax and regulate the distribution and sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older! The measures now go to Gov. John Hickenlooper so that he can sign them into law. This marks the first time in history that a state legislative body has passed legislation to regulate marijuana for sale to all adults.
The legislation, in fact, was introduced and passed because voters directed their lawmakers to regulate the production and sale of marijuana in Colorado when they voted “yes” on Amendment 64 this past November. Since passage of that ballot measure, MPP has been carefully monitoring the implementation process and has worked with a team of lobbyists and advocates to make sure the legislature got it right. When it comes to most of the major issues, such as allowing adults from out-of-state to purchase marijuana legally, we are happy to report that they did.
Once Gov. Hickenlooper signs off on the legislation, the Department of Revenue will have until July 1 to promulgate rules and regulations that Colorado’s new retail marijuana businesses must follow. We will once again be monitoring this process and will work with our allies to help craft rules that provide adults safe and reliable access to marijuana, while preventing diversion to young people and the underground market. Continue reading →