Vote no on Proposition AA | PostIndependent.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Vote no on Proposition AA

First, a disclaimer: The stars will not fall from the sky if Proposition AA passes. Unlike Amendment 66, it has the virtue of being subject to comparatively easy legislative alteration.

Be that as it may, the taxes it calls for are high enough that they may encourage a black market for marijuana. The high taxes also appear to be a backdoor way for state lawmakers who disagreed with the people’s decision to legalize marijuana — and that is most of them — to strike back.

Proposition AA would impose a 15 percent state excise tax on wholesale marijuana transactions and a 10 percent sales tax on retail sales. That’s in addition to the existing state sales tax of 2.9 percent, any local sales taxes and any marijuana-specific taxes adopted by local governments.

The upshot is that in some towns the tax on marijuana — just recreational marijuana as opposed to medical marijuana — could approach 50 percent.

That clearly is high enough to encourage underground sales of the drug, which are problematic on several counts. Legal sales would at least be regulated and restricted to those older than 21.

Amendment 64, which was the vehicle for legalization, does call for the imposition of an excise tax, with the first $40 million in revenues each year to be dedicated to the Building Excellent Schools Today fund. The proposed 15 percent excise tax is the maximum permitted under the amendment until 2017, at which point, with voter approval, lawmakers may raise it.

The 10 percent sales tax, on the other hand, is neither authorized nor forbidden by the amendment. It was added under the rubric of being needed to pay for regulation of the budding marijuana industry.

At the end of the day, the taxes proposed under Prop AA are simply too high, particularly in the initial phases of legalization. Like it or not, the amendment will result in enough people growing marijuana that there will be more than enough to supply a robust black market if buyers perceive the prices for legal weed to be too high.

Because of that, Proposition AA deserves a no vote.


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.
 

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User