The following was submitted as Guest Commentary in the Denver Post. Please note the version in the Denver Post was edited by the Denver Post.
Colorado NORML has always stood as an advocate for the hundreds of thousands of Coloradans who responsibly consume marijuana. These consumers will bear the burden of any taxes enacted by voters on the retail sale of marijuana. Colorado NORML does not object to taxation of marijuana generally, but rather objects to taxation that is excessive or unnecessary.
Colorado NORML’s opposition to Measure AA stems from our belief that the existing sales tax structure and licensing fees should be sufficient to ensure a robust regulatory enforcement agency for marijuana. The 2013 Ballot Information Blue Book notes that “Revenue generated by the 2.9% state sales tax on both medical and retail marijuana and marijuana products, plus the revenue from application and licensing fees …will be used to fund the Marijuana Enforcement Division.” The Blue Book is projecting marijuana sales in 2014 to be $394.6 million dollars. At this level of sales, which Colorado NORML believes is conservative, the normal 2.9% state sales tax and 3.5% local sales taxes are projected to raise over $25 million in revenue to fund state and local regulatory enforcement. These projected revenue numbers do not include the numerous application and licensing fees paid by retailers to state and local regulators.
The Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division’s budget was $5.2 million in 2012. The state has already generated over $6 million in state tax revenue from medical marijuana sales through the 3rd Quarter in 2013. If necessary, the Colorado legislature could double the state regulator’s annual budget and still not require any additional “Special” sales tax measure which we think means that marijuana consumers in Colorado will be paying excessive taxes under Measure AA.
It is Colorado NORML’s position is that excessive taxation, along with the decision of many local jurisdictions to “opt-out” of Amendment 64’s business licensing provisions, has the potential effect to keep a black market for marijuana alive in Colorado. We will state, unequivocally, that the decision of local communities to ban retail recreational marijuana sales, thereby denying the safe access to marijuana by consumers in their communities, is the most substantial factor in supporting an unregulated market for marijuana.
We understand that we share our opposition to Measure AA with a number of diverse groups, but we must note that we have no affiliation to the group that chose to protest Measure AA with a free joint give-away in Civic Center Park. Rather, Colorado NORML has a long history of supporting responsible use of marijuana, including limitations on public use and driving impaired. See Principles of Responsible Cannabis Use.
Unfortunately, some may think it is normal to excessively tax an emerging industry based on hyperbolic fears of doom and gloom that have never played out in the last several years despite a thriving medical industry, but Colorado NORML simply cannot support a policy that betrays the promise of Amendment 64 to regulate marijuana like alcohol. Measure AA continues the history of treating marijuana like plutonium rather than alcohol. We can do better.
His emphasis includes all driving matters, including less serious traffic cases as well as the most serious, all drug criminal matters, assaults, and most other criminal situations. He does not limit myself to only very serious cases. Lenny also teach law, write and is published in law, sit on mock trial juries, serves on numerous boards, and more. Lenny is AV rated, pre-eminent atty, rated top 1% criminal defense attorneys in the US, Superlawyer 2011.
Leonard I. Frieling, PC
1942 Broadway, #314, Boulder, Colorado 80302
Office hours by appointment only. Lafayette appointments available and preferred.
Rachel was honored to join the Colorado Board of Directors in 2011 as Treasurer. Rachel's office is in Lafayette, Colorado, in close proximity to both Denver and Boulder.
Rachel K. Gillette, Attorney, LLC
103 E Simpson Street Suite 200
Lafayette, CO 80026
He is an expert criminal defense and DUI attorney, with a focus on drug cases. His firm also represents dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries and he is an expert on the civil and regulatory issues regarding marijuana.
Sean T. McAllister, Esq.
McAllister Law Office, P.C.
36 Steele St., Suite 200
Denver, CO 80206
If you remember nothing else, remember this: there is nothing you can tell the police today that you cannot tell them tomorrow with a lawyer. Just say, I want a lawyer.
The Savela Law Firm, PC
250 Arapahoe Avenue, Suite 301
Boulder, CO 80302
She specializes in marijuana business licensing and criminal law. When not working, you can find Lauren skiing, hiking or hula hooping at concerts.Lauren C. Davis
Mark has taught at Cannabis University in Denver regarding medical marijuana legal and business issues for patients, care-givers and prospective dispensary owners. Mark has been an active supporter NORML, Sensible Colorado, SAFER other pro-marijuana organizations.
Mark P. Miller, Esq.
Law Office of Mark P. Miller
2700 W. Evans Ave., #100
Denver, CO 80219
The goal of the practice is to provide the highest degree of integrity, competency and professionalism in solving your legal needs.
Law Office of Craig Small, LLC
Canyon Professional Building
595 Canyon Boulevard
Boulder, CO 80302
Her practice focuses primarily on criminal defense and the counseling of pot-repreneurs, caregivers, patients, doctors, growers, dispensary owners, manufacturers and landlords on all facets of Colorado’s marijuana laws: medicinal and recreational. Lauren is a happy mom, lawyer, snowboarder, hiker, biker and festival goer.
Edson, Maytin & Matz, LLP
The Law Office of Lauren R. Maytin, P.C.
520 East Cooper Avenue, Suite 211
Aspen, Colorado 81611
PO Box 3098 Aspen, Colorado 81612
He handles worker's compensation cases, car accident cases and medical malpractice cases. He is a former Prosecutor having served 5 years in the DA's Office.
Law Office of Titus Peterson
600 17th St. Suite 2800
Denver, CO 80202
She sees the eradication of the Drug War as a human rights issue. She is glad to be serving with some awesome people on the CO NORML board.
Jeri D. Shepherd, Attorney at Law
710 11th Avenue, Suite 203-D
Greeley, CO 80631
He is committed to ending the national failure that is the war on drugs and dispelling prejudices associated with marijuana. He lives in Durango, Colorado with his wife and two young children.
Brian Schowalter Attorney at Law
101 West 9th Street Suite 1
Durango, CO 81301
Senior student at the Leeds School of Business at CU Boulder; pursuing a business management bachelors degree. Spent four years in the military and received special recognition for outstanding community service; both overseas and at home in Colorado.
In charge of volunteer coordination and providing support for establishing new chapters of Colorado NORML in a town or university near you! Contact Adam to find out how you can utilize your skills and talents to continue Colorado's leadership in nationwide marijuana reform.
Lynda is Colorado NORML's Webmaster and founder of UBhapE2. UBhapE2 is an all encompassing web design and text message marketing company. The impetus for the name is obvious and Lynda's personal wish 4U. Lynda believes freedom is the right of each individual. She says, "We need progress versus staying mired in the muck of American Politics. Our voices count and this movement towards progress is our proof."
Seth is a consultant with The Hemp Consulting Group which is based in Fort Collins, CO. He specializes in cultivation, system design, and troubleshooting grow room issues. He enjoys his free time whitewater paddling, skiing with his wife and the dogs in the back country, and rock concerts. He is the events coordinator for Colorado NORML so look for him at the booth!
Recognizing the need for a united voice for marijuana patients, she founded the Cannabis Patients Action Network, a member organization focusing on public education and political advocacy. She travels the state and the country testifying and speaking about the benefits of cannabis use and the importance of safe access for all users.
Born and raised in Colorado, Teri is a wife, mother, stepmom and grandmother. Diagnosed with fibromyalgia over 25 years ago, she now uses cannabis exclusively to manage her symptoms. She enjoyes gardening, bicycling, walking, crafting and playing with her dogs.