FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Denver, CO – The Colorado Chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) announces its opposition to Measure AA for the following reasons:
1. Measure AA is excessive taxation on marijuana consumers that does not uphold the promise of Amendment 64 to treat marijuana like alcohol. The proposed marijuana taxes could amount to an effective tax rate of 30-40% ultimately passed on to marijuana consumers in Colorado. This rate is more than twice the equivalent taxes on alcohol. While we can support the 15% excise tax portion of Measure AA, included in the language of Amendment 64, we feel that the addition by the Colorado Legislature of a 10% “Special Sales Tax” on marijuana was unreasonable and unnecessary.
2. We believe that if Measure AA fails, there will still be adequate funds to effectively regulate recreational marijuana. We believe our state and local regulators can and should meet the challenge of marijuana regulation through the efficient management of their budgeted funds.
3. Excessive taxation under Measure AA, 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. In addition to rejecting excessive taxation, Colorado NORML calls on local governments to reconsider their decision to ban the regulated retail sale of marijuana in their community. We believe that banning retail sales at the local level only denies the safe access to marijuana by consumers in their communities, and only serves to support the operation of unregulated local black markets for marijuana.
Colorado NORML supports the taxation and regulation of marijuana at a level more similar to alcohol. If Measure AA passes, CO NORML will not cease our call for fair and reasonable marijuana taxes for marijuana consumers, and we shall immediately ask our Legislators to re-visit and reduce marijuana sales tax rates in 2014.
Since its founding in 1970, NORML has provided a voice in the public policy debate for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition and favor an end to the practice of arresting marijuana smokers. A non-profit public-interest advocacy group, NORML represents the interests of the millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly.