Vote "No" For Double Taxation on Marijuana in Boulder

July 18, 2013

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More information is below from The Daily Camera

The Boulder City Council late Tuesday night backed a 5 percent excise tax on marijuana that could be increased up to 10 percent and would provide some money for drug education and treatment.

Council members mostly did not support the idea of a separate sales tax on marijuana, yet they included a 5 percent sales tax in the initial vote to provide flexibility in case Denver adopts a sales tax on marijuana.

The proposal was significantly lower than what city staff put before the council -- an excise tax of up to 15 percent and a sales tax of up to 10 percent, with half the money going for drug treatment and education.

[....]

"It's getting to the point from the voters' perspective that it just smacks of greed," said M. Teri Robnett of the Cannabis Patients Action Network [and Colorado NORML Board Member]. "Marijuana is being charged with rescuing every state and local government from the downturn, and that's just wrong."

Ron Nixon, a marijuana advocate, said if taxes are too high, it will limit the growth of the legal industry. He said most people who want to use already use and already have the wherewithal to find the drug outside legal means.

"The window you have for changing consumer behavior will have passed," he said.

Heath Harmon, Boulder County Public Health's director of health programs, said there is evidence that marijuana use at young ages is associated with other high-risk behavior. He said public health experts believe changing social norms and perception of risk increase the risk of people starting to use at young ages.

Cowles said he saw no evidence that legal, non-medical marijuana would create additional substance abuse problems for the community.

"This is just going to be creating a bunch of bogus programs," he said.

Becker said she felt strongly that there should be some funding for education about responsible use and treatment.

"History has shown that if you don't prepare for these things, it's hard to come up with funding later," she said.

Shawn Coleman, a consultant who works with the marijuana industry, said he believes the industry can support the proposal, though it had wanted an undedicated excise tax capped at 5 percent.

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