Yesterday, Denverites gathered at the Denver Beer Co. in LoHi to picket a fundraiser for Gov. John Hickenlooper. The group of demonstrators were protesting Prop AA, a measure to tax the retail sale of recreational cannabis at a 30 percent rate that will be on the ballot in November.
The “No on AA” committee and Maryjane Entertainment organized the protest and continued their unprecedented campaign of handing out free joints to anyone 21 years and older with a valid ID. Relatively few people showed up–about 50–considering the hundreds that congregated in Civic Center Park for the free joint handout in September.
Still, protesters stood outside and heckled fundraiser attendees as they arrived and patiently awaited the arrival of the governor, who was scheduled to arrive at 5:30 p.m. They were ultimately disappointed as the Governor didn’t arrive until just after 6 p.m. and entered through the building’s back door.
The fundraiser, hosted by the Medical Marijuana Industry Group (MMIG) and the “Yes on Prop AA” campaign, charged $1,000, $2,500 and $5,000 per person in order to lobby the governor.
The statewide ballot question will ask voters to approve a 15 percent excise tax and an initial10 percent sales tax that could ultimately be raised up to 15 percent without further voter approval. All of that would be in addition to the already existing sales taxes. The first $40 million in revenue from the taxes would go towards funding for public education; the rest would be used to establish a regulatory oversight committee for the retail cannabis industry.
Protest organizer and cannabis attorney Robert Corry said the tax would “defeat the intent of Amendment 64,” also known as the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012” and reminded protesters that Gov. Hickenlooper and the fundraiser hosts were originally against Amendment 64.
Alcohol is currently taxed at a one percent rate.