Defend Liberty from the Colorado Amendment 64 Joint Committee

The following statement was release today by the RLC Colorado:

RLCCO Press Release 2013-03-22

The 165 page report released last week by the Governor’s Amendment 64 Task Force contains the words “tax”, “taxes”, “taxing”, “taxpaying”, “taxation” and “taxed” a total of 122 times. The word “freedom” appears once – in Appendix A, the full copy
of the text of Amendment 64 – where the concept of “individual
freedom” is included in the first sentence of the purpose of the
Amendment. Sadly, the word “liberty” merits zero mentions in the Task
Force’s final report.

“It is a dangerous time for liberty when the legislature is in
session,” remarked Earl Bandy, Chairman of the Republican Liberty
Caucus of Colorado. “However, there are several Republicans asking
important questions on the Joint Committee, including Senator Vicki
Marble and Representative Brian DelGrosso, and members of the
Republican Liberty Caucus of Colorado support their efforts to
implement Amendment 64 in a Republican way.”

Last week, during public testimony, Sen. Marble clarified that the
15% excise tax as recommended by the Task Force report is not fixed
at that amount by Amendment 64.  That 15% is actually the maximum
upper limit allowed by the Amendment for at least four (4) years. The
Legislature could very well set the excise tax much lower. Members of
the Republican Liberty Caucus of Colorado support a 0% excise tax
(and no new sales tax increases) as the best path to growth in jobs
and the economy, while respecting TABOR.

Yesterday, the Denver Post reported that Rep. DelGrosso brought up
concerns over the rent-seeking displayed by the medical marijuana
industry as it seeks to gain “monopoly” control of the new adult-use
industry for the first year of implementation. The one-year plan goes
hand-in-hand with the vertical integration model as proposed by the
Task Force report.  This model, also referred to as common ownership
and copied from the current medical marijuana regulations, would
effectively require every retail marijuana establishment to operate
like a brew pub – selling what they can manufacture themselves, with
perhaps up to 30% of inventory allowed from outside sources.

Members of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Colorado support
diversity in the marketplace without government picking winners and
losers. Just as bars and restaurants that import 100% of their
alcohol can peacefully co-exist alongside brew pubs that make 100% of
their own craft brews, so should a variety of retail marijuana
establishments be allowed to bloom in this new free market space.
While sympathetic to the plight of medical marijuana centers in
regards to overbearing government regulations, complicated tax
structures, and the occasional federal decree from afar, the solution
to the problem of too much government is… more liberty and less
government.

To further that principle of limited government, Republican
Legislators should welcome the opportunity to repeal decades of
failed marijuana prohibition statutes under cover of Amendment 64 –
reaching above and beyond the text where called for. Also, the
support of amnesty for current non-violent marijuana prisoners would
do great justice for the cause of individual freedom.

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