The Colorado legislation would create a 15 percent excise tax and 15 percent special sales tax on marijuana. House Republicans are pushing to lower the rate on both taxes to 10 percent.
In this instance, Republicans are aligned with legalization advocates, who worry that a higher tax rate could result in an expanded black market and even rejection at the hands of tax-averse voters in November.
Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? The Republicans want to lower all those taxes so they can help legalization finish passing—or do they? Add this desire to lower the taxes to this:
That’s where the repeal discussion comes in. Diane Carlson of Smart Colorado, an anti-legalization group, argued that voters should be given the option of repealing Amendment 64 in order to avoid budget cuts to other spending priorities, such as K-12 education.
“This just gives the option for voters that if there is not the money to cover the costs, then Amendment 64 should not be implemented,” said Ms. Carlson. “Are we going to shift money from our schools to fund marijuana? That is not what we were promised in the fall.
Do you see what they’re trying to do there? On one hand, they’re trying to lower both the excise tax and the special sales tax on marijuana, to encourage people to vote this in AND in order to prevent an “expanded black market”. On the other hand, they are trying to create a false dichotomy between “marijuana legalization” and “OUR CHILDREN’S SCHOOLS!!!!11!!!” and convince people that to choose marijuana is to rob our children of an education.
So they know this is a battle they can’t win by public opinion anymore, at least not when it’s simply legalization at stake. They know that all their “Reefer Madness” lies and BS are no longer believed and they can no longer fear-monger people into keeping marijuana illegal because the majority of us can see right through their lies now. So they are trying to create a direct link between something that benefits children and the legalization of pot, create an either/or choice between them, and make sure that by keeping the taxes on the marijuana low enough they will be able to simply eradicate the legalization by saying “oh, sorry folks, it turns out we just can’t derive enough revenue from legalization to even fund the costs of implementing legalization, contrary to the pro-legalization claims that by regulating and taxing we could bring in a lot of revenue.” They are trying to neutralize one of the major positive points of the legalization side by pretending to go along with the pro-legalization majority, and they will use that to reverse this legalization victory and, additionally, create the illusion that taxation and regulation won't work--by making it not work, in the same way that they have self-fulfilled their claims of government incompetence by running for office and dismantling the government to the point where it can't function!
Why should any of this be surprising though? Every bit of the Drug War has been based on lies, skewed data, political posturing, fear-mongering, false dichotomies (either pro-drug testing or pro-drug use, no other possible opinion can exist, right?) and other techniques of con artists and tyrants. It is to be expected that these contemptible dishonest authoritarians would fall back on something like this when they're losing on their usual fronts--and they are losing, have no doubt of that.
And this talk about that extra 5% of tax could make people disapprove legalization: Are they serious? Do they really think that people who have fought so long and so hard to legalize are going to say “screw it, just make it illegal again” just because of a 5% difference in the taxes that would be involved—that would only affect people buying the marijuana and do not raise taxes on anything else? Are people more likely to buy black market booze and cigarettes just because of the high taxes we’ve placed on them? And the anti-legalization voters are only going to vote down a tax on marijuana if they know that it will lead to marijuana's legalization being repealed, otherwise they'd be fine with taxing the hell out of it--so you know that is making the rounds among the anti-crowd to ensure their "no" votes.
Let's face it. Making it legal at all is more likely to hurt the black market sales, not expand it, even with a high tax. I know that if I smoked pot, I’d much prefer to get it from a safe regulated source than from the guy on the street corner who might have laced it with any number of things, for example--even if that meant paying a bit more for it. I find it amazing that anyone on the legalization side would seriously think that a 15% tax, rather than a 10% tax, on the legal sale of marijuana is going to tank the law, and I know perfectly well that the Republicans don’t believe it either. They’re just trying to pave the way for the new “Make Your Choice: Marijuana or OUR CHILDREN” campaign against pot.
Seriously, the Republican Party these days is always aligned with all things anti-choice—at least, when it involves the choices of women, minorities, and anyone who isn’t fabulously wealthy. When they align themselves with the forces of actual freedom and American spirit you should take it as a huge, blazing neon sign to look closer and dig deeper because, rest assured, they have some kind of agenda in place to get you to eliminate your own victory.