Colorado’s Amendment 64 Task Force had their Last Meeting, What Happens Next?
The task force that was created by Governor Hickenlooper when he proclaimed the votes for Amendment 64 in December had their final meeting yesterday Thursday February 28, 2013. Find out what they discussed in their last meeting before legislators craft regulations and laws for adults to smoke marijuana legally for recreational purposes.
Governor Hickenlooper's task force has been meeting regularly to brainstorm ideas for Colorado legislators. They will then take these ideas into consideration as they craft new laws and regulations to treat marijuana like alcohol.
The task force met yesterday to come up with ideas for how the 'Centennial State' can profit from the legal marijuana for adults 21 or older. In their last meeting the task force agreed to recommend the highest tax presented to voters in 2012.
Commonly known as a 'sin tax' the group recommended that a 15% excise tax on the flower as a minimum. As promised that would help fund new school construction in Colorado. Colorado legislators could end up deciding on a lower tax, but I wouldn't count on that happening. What is more likely to happen is adding an additional sales tax just for marijuana sales on top of the state 2.9% sales tax or even create a special tax just for cannabis and cannabis products. Also on their minds will be how much licenses will cost for future commercial marijuana growers and future retail shops. The taxes must also help fund drug education and marijuana enforcement efforts. Any tax legislators decide on will have to be voted on by Coloradans because of Colorado's TABOR laws.
There are also concerns that if the tax on legal pot is too high no one will buy marijuana at stores and continue to use the black market to obtain the drug. Which defeats part of the purpose of the amendment to Colorado's constitution, to generate revenue. Those against Amendment 64 feel the tax should be as high as possible so that legal marijuana users foot the bill for any public health and safety issues related to marijuana use by adults.
No one really knows how much money will be generated by legal marijuana. Currently there are too many questions without real answers like how many Coloradans smoke marijuana now, what they are willing to pay, what they currently pay the black market and how many people will start using marijuana now that it is legal.
If the federal government puts a stop to retail marijuana sales, or doesn't even let them set up shop, Colorado would essentially see no new revenue from legal marijuana. The task force finally decided yesterday to ask lawmakers to create a marijuana sales tax and make license fees high enough to cover their own regulation costs. The task force met earlier in the week on Monday February 25, 2013 to discuss limits on purchases and other issues.
The task force also addressed serving sizes for edibles and that edibles should be sold in childproof packaging. That packaging would have clear labels and a health warning like alcohol and tobacco products. They also recommended that a serving for edibles should contain 10 nanograms of THC.