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Description of Amendment 64
Amendment 64 proposes to treat marijuana similarly to alcohol
adults 21 and older would be able toconsume, possess and purchase marijuana from legitimate, taxpaying businesses. Like alcohol, drivingunder the influence of marijuana will remain illegal as would the transferring of marijuana to individualsunder the age of 21. Also known as the Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act, the proposal bill would
provide a system to regulate and tax marijuana’s production and distribution with
both an excise and asales tax. The excise tax of no more than 15 percent will be levied upon the marijuana produced by acultivation facility prior to 2017, after which the rate would be permitted to rise. The first $40 million inexcise tax revenue raised annually is credited to the Public School Capital Construction AssistanceFund, a program that provides funding for the nearly $18 billion dollars in unmet school constructionneeds across Colorado.
A state sales tax (2.9 percent) and a local sales tax (rate varying depending onthe local jurisdiction) will also be levied upon marijuana purchases. In addition, A64 requires thegeneral assembly to enact legislation concerning the cultivation and sale of industrial hemp.
Context for Discussion of Regulating Marijuana like Alcohol
Marijuana is the most frequently used illicit drug not only within the state of Colorado but nationwide,accounting for approximately 80 percent of all criminal drug use.
An estimated $35 billion worth of
marijuana is cultivated in the US, making it the nation’s leading cash crop, even exc
eeding the value of corn and wheat sales combined. In 2010, there were 853,838 marijuana arrests in the United States withnearly 90 percent of those arrests linked to simple possession.Marijuana became illegal in the 1930s in the United States. Yet, despite its illegality marijuana prohibition is enforced irregularly across federal, state, and local levels. While federal law still prohibitsthe possession, cultivation, and consumption of hemp, state and local governments are increasinglymoving toward legalization of marijuana
In 1996, only Oregon and California had successfully passedlegislation decriminalizing marijuana. By 2007, approximately 12 states (excluding the District of Columbia) had passed medical marijuana laws and patient protections. Now in 2012, 17 states includingthe District of Columbia have followed suit
.During the last decade a significant number of states have approved marijuana use strictly for thetreatment of prescribed medical conditions. Since the summer of 2011 one-third of states (includingColorado since 2004) and the District of Columbia have made provisions for medical marijuana. As of November 2011, Colorado has approximately 96,709 medical marijuana card holders. Attorney GeneralHolder has stated that the Obama administration will not prosecute persons abiding by the provisionsstipulated by their respective state governments, but these state provisions may not completely safeguardmedical marijuana users from prosecution at the federal level.
Interview withMary Wickersham- Chair of the BEST Assistance Board, CCAB chair (July 2012)
Porter, Mackenzie, (2011). “Mitigating Prohibition: A Look i
o Lowering the Costs of Colorado’s Marijuana
” p.6, 11: Frank Batten School
Public Policy University of Virginia.
Pros and Cons of Controversial Issues, “17 Legal Marijuana States and DC” Chart,